Playing around with magnificent plants and creating blissful, attractive sites seems like a fairytale dream job.
Though professional landscape designers need an associate degree, but it is not always mandatory.
So, how to become a landscape designer and what work does it entail?
Landscape designers are professionals who work with clients to plan designs for aesthetically appealing outdoor spaces as per the client’s requirements.
If you are interested in knowing about landscape design, please note that landscape designers have training in design and horticulture with knowledge about the latest trends and information in plant care.
- Take A High School Diploma
- Earn Your Regular Bachelor’s Degree
- Hone Your Skills
- Resources to Learn Landscape Design
Some of the places where landscape designers work include school campuses, businesses, parks, offices, personal spaces, etc. For designing, they use computer-aided tools and geographic information systems technology to plan designs for their clients.
Here, we are going to look at how you too can be a landscape designer and how it differs from a landscape architect.
Landscape Designers Vs Landscape Architects
Before wondering “how do I become a landscape designer,” you should know the basic difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect. With a with a bachelor’s or master’s degree many landscape architects work both on the design & technical front.
Landscape architects are also required to possess a license issued by the state.
They are often seen working on the advanced parts of a project as compared to landscape designers. They even collaborate with engineers and other professionals working on the project.
Sometimes landscape designers have the same kind of clients as landscape architects because of their work experience. It is seen commonly that landscape architects work on large-scale projects like parks, commercial buildings, schools, universities, etc., while landscape designers work on personal spaces.
How To Get Into Landscape Design?
If you want to get into landscape designing, you need to follow these steps:
1. Take a high school diploma
One of the foremost things about becoming a landscape designer is completing your basic high school education. A high school diploma is always important not only for other career options but after the diploma you will be able to take other courses that you help you with landscape designing.
2. Earn your regular Bachelor’s degree
To start your career in landscape designing, most designers need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to this career. Every college offers different accredited landscape designing courses, so you need to look at the courses of the college that you are interested in to see which degree you should apply for.
Most of the programs allow for hands-on learning. Landscape designing will include knowledge of plant vocabulary, soil, design and site planning along with the history of landscape design etc.
Some of the courses that you may find in colleges are:
- Horticulture course
- Landscape contracting business
- Landscape maintenance
If you want to know how to become a landscape designer without a degree, let us tell you that many people get into landscape designing just with their skills and experience. They don’t take any degree to back up their skills.
3. Hone your skills
To be a successful landscape designer, you need to enhance certain skills:
A. Communication and collaboration skills
Apart from clients, landscape designers also work with contractors, landscape architects and maintenance workers. So, it is important to communicate effectively and build a positive relationship with everyone.
B. Plant esigning
Landscape designers use architecture and garden design to plan outdoor spaces for their clients. While doing this, they need to consider their client’s needs. So, landscape designers need to have the ability to choose the right kind of plants that suit their client’s needs. They should possess good knowledge of soil and climate, insect population of the area and rainfall.
For planning aesthetically best-looking landscape designs, you should have creativity. Learning from industry experts and reviewing landscape designs can enhance your creativity.
D. Learn AutoCAD for advanced designing
When you start working as a landscape designer, your job will include drafting plans using computer-aided CAD programs and presenting them to clients. However, acquiring this skill set will help you garner the attention of employers and clients.
With AutoCAD software training you can get preciseness in landscape design and your work may get quicker.
E. Get practical experience through internships
If you are interested in knowing how to become a landscape designer without a degree, then the practical experience can also help you get employment further.
However, it is highly recommended to get a degree and also do an internship while doing your degree course in landscape design as many employers prefer candidates with professional training and practical experience.
During the summers, you can also gain experience in the field by working somewhere. For knowing about internships, you should check with your school’s career service or call landscape companies if they offer any internships.
F. Check if your state needs you to get a license
If you are planning to get into landscape designing, you should check if your state requires a license to work or not. Some states do not require a license; in that case, you can start working after your graduate degree.
G. How to become a certified landscape designer
Getting certified as a landscape designer is beneficial as it helps you to get a job in a reputed company and also is helpful for those looking at self-employment. Landscape designers can apply for industry certifications.
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers provides certification for members who have more than 2 years of experience in the industry and a portfolio of good designs.
H. Get a freelance project
You would require a portfolio of landscape designs for getting a job. So, doing a freelancing project will help you build your portfolio. Doing such projects will not only help build your reputation among clients but will also boost your confidence and get you ready for the job market.
I. Be a part of industry groups and associations
When you become a part of industry associations or groups, you get to connect with other professionals from the industry. This helps to grow your network. Associations like the Association of Professional Landscape Designers offer certifications after you submit a portfolio of work and have certain years of experience in landscape design.
Go for the groups that offer training, conference and networking events for expanding your knowledge.
Resources That Make The Path Easier
You can learn how to become a landscape designer and be a good one with the help of the following resources.
1. Online courses
Whether you aspire to get a job or you plan to get self-employed, it is best to enroll in one of the best online landscape design courses.
Renowned online education platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer online classes. Then there are reputed universities and colleges offering these courses like Oregon State University, New York Institute of Art and Design, UCLA Extension, Ashworth College, etc.
Online courses will teach you the fundamentals of gardening and its design, business approach to landscape design, landscape architecture, landscape technology, design methods, drawing techniques, etc.
Taking these classes is also convenient as you can learn from the comfort of your home and at your own pace. The biggest perk of online courses is you can fix the classes according to your schedule.
Also, if you are thinking about how to become a certified landscape designer, go for these courses and grab a professional certificate by the end of the course.
2. Landscape Design Books
Books serve as a valuable resource to acquire the requisite skills for becoming a landscape designer. There are several books on landscape designing that will help provide you with excellent content on a wide range of topics including landscape planning, materials needed, demonstration of construction etc.
3. Video Tutorials
Search the internet for video tutorials that can teach you landscape design. These tutorials will help you learn features of landscape design, improve your editing skills, design interface, documentation tools etc.
Q. How long does it take to become a landscape designer?
A. It can take up to 4 years to become a landscape designer through a complete master’s program. However, that varies from university to university and the kind of program you select.
Q. What are the skills and responsibilities of a landscape designer?
A. Now that you know the answer to your question “how do I become a landscape designer”, you should also be aware of the skills that a landscape designer should possess:
- Landscape designers should know everything about plants
- They should know about the type of soil as they would be required to identify the type of soil they would be designing for.
- They should be aware of the insect population and rainfall of the area that they are designing.
Responsibilities of landscape designers include:
- Collaborating and communicating with other professionals to fulfilling the client’s landscape design
- Overseeing the project’s entire design and layout
- Choosing plants and other things like brick borders, fountains, etc
- Evaluating which plants are ideal for the outdoor space based on pests, soil, etc.
- Using computer-aided technology for creating the design
- Negotiating with vendors and clients
- Presenting ideas and plans
- Completing quotes and estimates for potential clients
Q. What about the landscape designer’s salary?
A. The average salary of a landscape designer is $57, 367 per year. However, your salary depends on a lot of factors like years of experience, education and location.
With our guide on how to become a landscape designer, you now know the necessary details about starting with landscaping. We have tried to cover everything from courses, certifications, degree requirements, experience, and salary to help you out at every step.
It is ideal to get a specialized degree that puts you upfront in the job market.