What is a Landscape Architect?

Also known as: Landscape Planner, Landscape Planner & Designer, Landscape Designer.

Landscape architects are the people that beautify the areas around public and private buildings. Golf courses, parks, and public gardens with beautiful flowers and stonework are the finished products of a talented landscape and garden architect. These artists create breathtaking outdoor places by using flowers, trees, stone, fountains, sidewalks, and pathways as well as other structures to complement each other.

People in this profession will create the layouts for popular arboretums and public walking trails. Whimsical, fun playgrounds are also designed by these outdoor architects.

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What does a Landscape Architect do?

Landscape architects work with their clients to meet the end result the client would like to see for their plot of land. No matter how big or small the plot, landscape architects can turn a bland piece of earth into something marvelous.

Landscape architects are not the people who do the hard labor -- that work is completed by contractors -- but the architects do oversee the work to make sure it is all going according to plan. The job of the architect is to come up with the vision for the space and draw up the plans in explicit detail so they can be easily read and followed by other workers.

Landscape architects design the aesthetic layout of golf courses and shopping malls as well as other public places. They can also be hired privately to design the landscaping of homes and gardens. Landscape architects can also choose to work in the environmental field designing conservation lands, such as wetlands, and participating in historic restoration endeavors.

Though it is a large part of the job, landscape architecture isn’t all about the aesthetics. Architects must also take the environment into consideration, as well as the budget of the people they are designing the garden or landscaping for. There are federal, state, and other local regulations that apply to projects such as these, including permits for building that they must attain before starting a job. There is a lot of legwork that goes into planning before an architect can begin to make their vision a reality.

How to become a Landscape Architect

In order to become one of the true landscape architects, an architect-to-be must pass the LARE, the Landscape Architectural Registration Examination. Individuals interested in taking this exam must have their degree from an accredited institute and have worked for a licensed architect for at least one to four years.

There are landscape architecture degrees. These degrees focus on biological sciences and horticulture to give students a deep knowledge of plant life as well as other necessary components for working with biological materials. Many bachelor’s degrees in this field can take as long as five years to finish. Prospective landscape architects spend a lot of time in the studio while getting their degrees. They also put a lot of focus into learning aspects of the design process and how to write up proper proposals.

Once the degree has been attained and the LARE has been passed, there may be more state examinations that applicants are required to take before state licensing can be complete. Some states also require that architects continue their education regularly to keep their licenses.

Some people continue their education in the field by getting a master’s degree that is accepted by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. Master’s degrees can take two to three years to finish, longer if the student’s bachelor’s degree is in a different field of study. Master’s programs may have a specific focus, or they may just be a good place for a student to complete a large professional design project or complete their master’s thesis.

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Further Reading

  • Landscape Architect Vs Landscape Designer Vs Landscape Contractor

    I have decided to talk about a topic which seems to be largely misunderstood, the differences between a Landscape Architect, Landscape Designer/Garden Designer and a Landscape Contractor with respects to their design abilities, education and services they are permitted to offer.

  • Ever Wondered What Landscape Architects Do All Day?

    The field of landscape architecture is very broad and encompasses many different areas. Residential design is perhaps the most well known, but new schools, churches, libraries, office buildings, hospitals, museums, gardens, parks and resorts all use the services and talents of landscape architects.

  • The Lines Of Beauty

    "I hate it when people say, 'Oh, you're a landscape architect, will you do my garden?'" she says. "It's about so much more than plants and borders. There are so many different skills involved - at times it feels a little bit like you're conducting an orchestra."

  • Landscape Architect Career Interview

    Greg Stevens is the senior park planner for the Fox Valley Park District in Aurora, Illinois, where he develops and designs new parks and works on land acquisition, zoning, and grants for the park district. He has worked in landscape architecture firms all across the country.

  • The Importance Of Designing The Landscape And Architecture Together

    When it comes to new construction and major home renovations, we as landscape design/build contractors are usually called into a project after the majority of the home construction is completed. In reality, we should be involved in the process much sooner.

  • The Importance Of Landscape Architecture

    Neglecting the architectures of the world's fast-changing landscapes will result in endless highways lined with endless blocks of endless tedium - dreary expanses of housing, industry, forestry and agriculture - our natural landscapes buried under repetitive building and planting.

  • Scope Of Work

    Master planning is a major area of practice for many Landscape Architects. Landscape Architects often collaborate with other professionals.

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