Commercial Landscaping Designer: Job Outlook and Requirements for Becoming a Commercial Landscaping Artist
Commercial Landscaping Designers use horticulture expertise and technical design skills to create landscaping for office buildings, hotels, apartment complexes, shopping malls, hospitals and other commercial settings. Many employers require an associate degree or completion of a certificate program in landscape design. Commercial Landscape Design differs from the field of landscape architecture in the size of projects undertaken, scope of work performed and educational and licensing requirements.
Definition of a Commercial Landscaping Designer
Commercial Landscaping Designers analyze and plan exterior spaces for commercial properties, choose plants and shrubs best suited to a particular environment, interact with clients, create budgets and oversee plant and shrub installations by landscaping crews. While landscape architects may use technical architectural plans to design public parks, golf courses and office parks, Commercial Landscaping Designers tend to work on smaller projects, designing landscape plans with computer-aided drafting software, such as AutoCAD. They may work as independent contractors, manage their own design firms or work as employees of landscaping companies. PayScale.com reports that the highest landscape design salaries are paid in New York, California and Minnesota.
How to Become a Commercial Landscaping Designer
Education Requirements for Commercial Landscaping Design
Commercial Landscaping Design careers generally require an associate degree or the completion of a certificate program in landscape design or horticulture technology. Some employers may prefer a bachelor's degree in a field such as sustainable landscape horticulture, which combines the study of landscape design and plant sciences. In contrast to landscape architects, state licensure is not required; however, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) offers voluntary certification for professionals who have been practicing for four years or more. Information about educational programs and certification can be found on the APLD website (www.apld.com).
Skills Needed to work in Commercial Landscaping Design
Commercial Landscape Design requires creativity, horticultural knowledge, technical drawing skills and proficiency with computer-aided drafting programs, such as AutoCAD. Designers must also have a working knowledge of landscape construction and maintenance principles and an awareness of increasingly important landscaping issues, such as sustainability and conservation. Customer service skills, budgeting experience and proficiency with landscape design software, such as Dynascape, as well as word processing and spreadsheet programs are also essential.
Financial Forecast and Career Outlook for Commercial Landscaping Design
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 18% job growth for grounds maintenance occupations, which includes the field of Commercial Landscaping Design, for the 2006-2016 decade (www.bls.gov). In July 2009, PayScale.com reported median annual earnings for landscape designers of $37,695, ranging from $36,184 for designers with one to four years of experience to $50,472 for designers with more than 20 years of experience.
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