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What Does a Landscape Designer Do?

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a landscape designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

A landscape designer, sometimes called a landscape architect, creates attractive, functional outdoor spaces for homeowners, businesses, schools and other organizations. Most landscape architects hold at least a bachelor's degree in the field. Additionally, most states require landscape designers to be licensed, which requires passing the Landscape Architect Registration Exam.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture recommended; master's degrees are available; completion of an internship
Other Requirements State licensing required in most states
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 14% for landscape architects*
Median Salary (2013) $64,790 for landscape architects*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties Overview

Many landscape designers own their own businesses, while others work at larger firms or as consultants at plant nurseries. Still others work for government bodies. Some of a landscape designer's job duties vary by industry, but drawing plans, selecting plants and installing structures like walkways and water features are important tasks in most landscape jobs.

According to The LandLovers, www.thelandlovers.org, an organization that promotes jobs in the landscape industry, landscape designers draw plans using LandCAD or by hand drawing. They contract installation staff to put in garden beds and build structures. Landscape designers may meet clients on-site to discuss the requirements of the space. To keep the business profitable, they must create project estimates and maintain budgets.

Job Duties by Industry

Independent Designers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a landscape designer or architect who owns his or her own business either works alone or with hired employees and assistants (www.bls.gov). He or she completes all aspects of landscape design projects and maintains the business. Independent landscape designers spend some of their time on paperwork, bookkeeping and marketing as well as meeting with clients and creating design plans.

Design and Architecture Firms

Landscape designers who work for landscape design or landscape architecture firms sometimes assist senior designers or architects, working on one or more aspects of a larger design. The BLS says that landscape architects typically work on larger projects and sometimes hire landscape designers to work with them.

Government Organizations

A search for government landscape design positions revealed that many cities and states seek landscape designers. They could assist in the planting of roadsides and road partitions. Landscape designers also plan parks and recreation areas, and they create user-friendly spaces near government buildings and other public spaces.

Plant Nurseries

Many garden centers and nurseries offer landscape design consultation services to their clients. A landscape designer working in this capacity sometimes sketches design ideas for customers or works on large designs and installation jobs for clients of the nursery. Their duties include suggesting plants, furniture and irrigation systems to walk-in homeowners. They may also conduct site visits and create plans for large design projects.

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