So what’s it take to work as a landscape designer? Besides hard work and a creative eye, landscape designers need to obtain a degree, be passionate about plants, and ready themselves for an array of responsibilities.
What the Education of a Landscape Designer Entails: Coursework and a License
According to Wikipedia, ''Traditionally, garden designers [also known as landscape designers] were trained under the apprentice system. Specialist university-level garden design courses were established in the twentieth century, generally attached to departments of agriculture or horticulture. In the second half of the twentieth century, many of these courses changed their name, and their focus, from garden design to landscape architecture. Towards the end of the twentieth century, a number of BA [in] Garden Design courses were established, with the emphasis on design rather than horticulture. But horticultural colleges continue to train garden designers.''
Today, becoming a landscape designer includes coursework, a degree, a license, and, ideally, a love of plants. Sometimes landscape designers have a knack for design but lack an understanding of plants, which can ultimately hinder their careers. Landscape designers should instead have a well-balanced knowledge of both plants and design. Roger Turner, a British garden designer, addresses this in his book Design in the Plant Collector’s Garden.
The following schools teach landscape designers practical design techniques and, as Degrees.com puts it, how to ''select, grow, and maintain flowers, trees, shrubs, and ground covers'':
WorldWideLearn.com, the coursework for becoming a landscape designer typically includes:
- Landscape design and construction
- Urban and regional planning
- History of landscape architecture
- Plant and soil science
- Design studio
What the Responsibilities of a Landscape Designer Are
Landscape designers are more than just gardeners. Just as interior designers collaborate with their clients, draw up room plans, manage projects, and oversee large and small details of each room, landscape designers handle every detail of outdoor gardens.
According to Salary.com, landscape architects (or landscape designers), ''assist in the development of exterior spaces and physical environments. [They] aide in preparing…final project design drawings and specifications.''
From parks, botanical gardens, arboretums, golf courses, and theme parks to highways, parking lots, historic landscapes, and power stations, landscape designers are responsible for numerous outdoor settings.
Current Job Market of Landscape Designers
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in landscape designing are expected to grow ''faster than average between now and 2014.'' On average, landscape designers earn between $33,403 and $42,624 per year, according to Salary.com. Those interested in earning more money should consider becoming a landscape architect manager, a position in which earnings range between $77,376 and $103,787 per year. That said, those going this route should be prepared for their responsibilities to increase as they will be supervising landscaping staff and overseeing the projects and schedules of entire teams.
Final Thoughts on Becoming a Landscape Designer
Landscape designers, with the outdoors as their palette, blend together their love of plants and design to create beautiful spaces. From parks and golf courses to historic gardens and reservoirs, landscape designers work wherever clients have a need.