How To Become A Landscape Designer
A landscape designer puts their visionary skills and knack for designing purposeful and aesthetic outdoor spaces to good use. As a landscape designer, your services could be utilized to put plants, water features, trellises and arbors, lighting and other elements that would make a space’s front lawn or backyard look and feel beautiful. You may also do decks and screen porches, outdoor grills and kitchens and even swimming pools and ponds.
As a landscape designer, you are expected to hold meetings with your client to ascertain what their needs are. Based on your client’s description of what they want done, you are expected to come up with the preliminary design of the project through the use of CAD or computer-aided design or by simply sketching the drawings by hand. When the client has given the final approval for the project, then you can proceed with the work. Depending on the design, your work could involve planting new varieties of plants, excavating a part of the space to make way for a pond or constructing an outdoor patio or living space.
Managing the client’s account is also part and parcel of your job as a landscape designer. You will provide an estimate of the costs even before the project has started and ensure that you and your crew work to complete it within the agreed time schedule and budget. While the project is going on, it is your responsibility to communicate with the client and give them updates about the work.
To succeed as a landscape designer, you need to have a very good eye for designing the external areas of a house. Although the technical aspects can be learned, creativity and an eye for good form and balance should be inherent. Since you will be tasked with making a problematic outdoor area functional and attractive at the same time, you should also have a knack for problem solving. This also goes hand in hand with analytical skills since you will have to determine how the other elements of the landscape will affect your design.
Why Become A Landscape Designer
Individuals who have always loved experimenting with making spaces look attractive and are naturally creative at designing will find a career as a landscape designer very fulfilling. Unlike that of landscape architects which require meeting a set of criteria and standards before one can hold the title, the job title of a landscape designer is not regulated. That means that even if one does not pass the state-administered exam but still have the training and background for the job then it is possible to enter the landscape designing profession.
Fulltime landscape designers also receive good pay. Moreover, this is one of the careers that enable enterprise-minded individuals to be able to start their own business.
Landscape Designer Work Environment
Landscape designers who work fulltime are typically employed by architectural and engineering companies as well as firms that provide landscape design services. Others are self-employed. When meeting with clients, preparing the designs for a project and estimating the costs of a project, landscape designers usually work in their offices. However, when the final approval has been given to proceed with the project, landscape designers spend their time supervising the activities at the worksite.
Landscape Designer Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have salary information specifically for landscape designers. However, it does have the mean annual wage data for the very similar occupation of landscape architects. These professionals earn $68,570 a year. Research undertaken by private survey firms showed that landscape designers earn $42,635 annually on the average.
Landscape Designer Career Outlook
The career outlook for landscape architects is expected to be good in the next few years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the employment rate of this profession is set to grow 14 percent in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022. This rate is about as fast as the average for all job types.
Since landscape designers are very similar to landscape architects, it is expected that the job outlook for the former is also going to be about the same as that of the latter. The demand will come from the boom in construction projects which will also require landscaping as well as the people’s desire for attractive and appealing spaces.
Landscape Designer Degree
The minimum educational entry point for a career as a landscape designer is an associate’s degree in landscape design. However, many employers prefer those who hold a bachelor’s degree in landscape design which can be completed in four years. Courses involving art and horticulture will also enhance an individual’s qualifications.
Practical experience, which can be gained in the form of apprenticeship programs under a master designer and work experience will also enhance a person’s qualifications. Landscape designers who are members in good standing of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and have worked in the field for at least four years can apply for certification and enhance their qualifications.