Landscape Architect Job Description

Landscaping near large office building

You might be interested in learning more about the landscape architect job description if you enjoy creating something from nearly nothing. Landscape architects work to make aesthetically pleasing outdoor areas with land, trees, and other shrubs and plants. The well-planned scenery makes afternoon picnics in the park or commutes to work more pleasant.

Landscape Architect Job Description Overview

While landscape architecture may sound like a relatively specific area of work, it actually encompasses many areas of expertise. The landscape architect job description includes:

  • Designing outdoor spaces that are not just aesthetically pleasing, but practical, too. For example, a park needs to be scenic but offer places for group gatherings, sometimes sporting activities, and more.
  • Using trees, plants, shrubs, and more to beautify everything from a pond owned by an individual to a public park.
  • Drawing maps that accurately show where other buildings and trees are, then design and plan around those. These drawings include walkways, fountains, new plants and buildings, and other decorations.
  • Conducting topographic surveys.
  • Gathering and analyzing data about the area, such as soil conditions, geography, amount of sunlight overall and during certain times of day, other structures, drainage, and more.
  • Determining cost estimates to include work and materials to assist the client in making decisions about the project at hand.
  • Overseeing construction work to make sure that the work matches the plans.
  • Approving materials used in the project.
  • Creating restoration plans for areas of nature that have been disrupted by humans.
  • Determine and take into account local, state, and federal guidelines that must be followed, such as those in place to protect wetlands or historic areas.
  • Using computer-aided design (CAD) to create the designs.

Job Expectations and Other Facts

Landscape architects work both with other specialists such as engineers, zoning experts, nursery operators in addition to trainees and clients. Since you will be interacting with so many other people in order to reach one common goal, this is a job for someone who enjoys communicating with others and working outdoors.

You will need at least a four-year degree from an accredited college in order to work as a landscape architect. You may also work as an apprentice to another landscape architect. Also, in most areas of the United States, you will need to be licensed to work in this field under the landscape architect job title.

Once you've reached the requirements to work in the field, you can either pursue a job with a firm or venture out as a self-employed landscape architect. If you are self-employed, you may find yourself working more than the traditional 40 hour work week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 19 percent of landscape architects are self-employed.

It should be easy to find a job in landscape architecture for the next few years, but competition will be fierce for getting into the top firms. The median salary in May 2006 was $56,060.

The Difference Between Architects and Designers

There are a few differences between landscape architects and landscape designers. Landscape design is, in some ways, a scaled down version of landscape architecture that does not necessarily require a license. While landscape architects look at the big picture, including planning, design, management, development, preservation, and more, a landscape designer is someone who focuses on the details-focusing mainly on the plants and sometimes branching out to other decorative pieces. They are trained in horticulture and art/design.

A Final Word

If you really enjoy looking at the big picture and essentially managing large projects while working with many people at once, consider the landscape architect job description more carefully. The job market is good for the field and possibilities are abundant since you can work for non-profits, firms, or be self-employed. If your passion is working to create beautiful and useful areas outdoors with plants, soil, decoration, and design, this could be the perfect career move for you.

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Landscape Architect Job Description