Landscape Architecture

What Is Landscape Architecture?

The layout and placement of the manmade and natural components of many public outdoor spaces is not random or accidental. In fact, it is just the opposite. These spaces are carefully planned out, right down to the placement of the smallest flowers.

The process of planning these spaces is referred to as landscape design. It involves designing an outdoor space, in order to achieve the perfect balance of beauty and function.

Work Environment

A landscape architect is the professional that is responsible for planning and designing these outdoor spaces. Although some landscape architects may dabble in a little bit of everything, the majority of them usually specialize in designing a certain type of space. Some may only design backyards or patios for reseidents, while others may only deal with public spaces, like parks and town squares.

Before the design process can begin, a landscape designer must first meet with his client. During these initial meetings, the architect should be able to get an idea of what the space will be used for as well as how it should look. The majority of clients will also usually have a budget in mind, and the architect should keep this in mind during the design process.

There are also several other factors that a landscape artist should keep in mind before he starts designing. For example, he should take into consideration what types of plants will grow in the area, based on climate and soil.

Modern landscape architects are also urged to keep their designs as environmentally friendly as possible. This could involve using recycled or environmental friendly materials, or using only native non-invasive plants in their spaces.

Designing an outdoor space generally starts with sketches. A landscape architect will usually make some quick pencil sketches in order to get his ideas down on paper. Most landscape architects will also use more advanced computer software, such as CAD, to create their designs as well.

Once the designs for an outdoor space are drawn up, a landscape architect will then usually build a model of the space. These models are usually quite detailed, and they will include components such as trees, structures, walkways, and bodies of water. Building these models enables a client to better see how their space will look once it has been built. A landscape architect can also make any last minute design changes before the actual construction begins.

Most landscape architects will also usually oversee the work being done to build the space. He may need to make adjustments during this process to account for any problems along the way.

Education Requirements

The majority of landscape architects are outdoorsy types, and they enjoy the beauty and serenity that natural spaces offer. They are also usually very creative, with excellent drawing skills and a good sense of spatial awareness.

In order to start a career in landscape architecture, an individual usually needs to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or design. A traditional architecture degree with a concentration in landscape design is also suitable. Students leaning toward a career in landscape architecture will usually take classes in drawing, CAD, soil engineering, terrain shaping, construction, and horticulture. Some landscape architects might also earn more advanced degrees, like Master’s degrees, but these are not always necessary.

Most areas also require landscape architects to be licensed or registered by The Board of Landscape Architects. This usually involves taking a difficult five part test, which consists of several multiple-choice questions as well as graphic problems that must be solved with drafting techniques.


FAST FACTS: Landscape Architects
2016 Median Pay

$65,760 per year
$31.62 per hour

Recommended Level of Education

Bachelor's degree

Number of Jobs in 2014


Expected % Change in Employment (2014-2024)

6% (As fast as average)

Expected 10 Year Employment Growth (2014-2024)


Source: BLS - Occupational Outlook Handbook

Landscape Architects Salaries by Industry

Top Paying Industries for Landscape Architects

State Government (OES Designation)


Other Amusement and Recreation Industries


Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)


Lessors of Real Estate


Employment Services

Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile
Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Landscape Architects

  1. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
  2. Fresno, CA
  3. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL
  4. Knoxville, TN
  5. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  8. Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY
  9. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
  10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES

Helpful Resources

Landscape Architecture Jobs