Landscape architects design outdoor environments that complement man-made indoor constructions. They apply principles of art and science in their trade, creating landscapes that are aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Who Hires Landscape Architects?
A homeowner might hire a landscape architect to re-design a garden, backyard, or the entire landscape surrounding his or her home. A contractor might hire a landscape architect to design outdoor landscapes for new homes.
Landscape architects might also be hired by commercial builders to design landscapes for parking lots. You'll notice that more upscale shopping centers and corporate parks will have trees, shrubbery, and flower beds to soften the look of a parking lot.
Where Landscape Architects are Employed
Nearly one in four landscape architects are self employed, about 23 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some work for architectural, engineering, and other firms providing related services. Many are also employed by the Federal government in the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior.
Landscape Architecture Training
The BLS reports that a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture is needed to enter the field. In choosing a program, look for those accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
During a landscape architecture program, you will likely take courses in urban and regional planning, site design, geology, plant and soil science, and surveying. You will also likely participate in hands-on projects that require you to apply what you learn outside the classroom, providing you with an opportunity to gain practical professional experience.