What is a Landscape Architect?

The actual term landscape architecture became common after 1863 when Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed New York's Central Park. Today, landscape architects blend science and art, vision and thought to understand how the environment works and determine how to deal with the increasingly complex relationships between the built and natural environments.

What Does a Landscape Architect Do?

Landscape Architects work with the man-made and natural environment to create wildlife habitats, innovative spaces, install sustainable infrastructure and thriving communities. Landscape Architects work in urban and rural landscapes and require the use of design, technical skills, management, ecology, problem solving and innovation across multiple projects and tasks.

The main disciplines within landscape architecture are landscape design, landscape planning, landscape management, urban design and academia. A professional landscape architect has the skills and training to combine art and design and to consider physical, social, economic, political and cultural factors to generate creative solutions for our urban and natural environments.

Expertise is required across design, geography, science, engineering, art, horticulture, technology, social sciences, politics, history, philosophy, project management and contract law.

Landscape architects may be employed to plan, design and project manage for public and private spaces such as single and multi residential areas, public parks, playgrounds, university and government campuses, shopping centers, golf courses, waterways, public gardens, roads and highways and industrial parks. Other areas of work include visual impact assessment, expert witness, natural and resource management, parks and wildlife, urban regeneration, townscapes and streetscapes.

Landscape Architecture is an important career because it helps make the world more livable, protect the environment and has a focus on creativity and design.

Where Does a Landscape Architect Work?

Landscape Architects work for government, councils, developers, contractors, major landowners and local authorities. Projects may be of a small neighborhood scale or city region scale.

Landscape architects work in offices, studios, and outdoors. While most of the actual drawing of designs takes place in an office environment, landscape architects must also visit clients to assess sites - and gather information on soil type, pre-existing vegetation and the shape of the land. Landscape architects generally work standard office hours, however when working with deadlines they may also have to work weekends and evenings. Landscape architects often work as part of a team and also have to interact with clients, other architects, engineers, community members, contractors, and anyone else involved with a particular project.

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What Is the Average Landscape Architect Salary?

Landscape architects earned a median salary of $70,630 as of May 2020. The top 10% in the field earned more than $115,660, while the lowest 10% earned about $42,500 during this time. Job demand for landscape architects is projected to show little to no change between 2020 and 2030.*

What Do Landscape Architects Study?

Landscape Architects require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture. A graduate degree in Landscape Architecture is also required to build and develop in this career.

Landscape Architects are also required to practice as a Landscape Architect. This licensing varies in each country. In the US, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) develops and administers licenses, and also maintains current information on the various states' licensing requirements.

Landscape Architects - Related Degrees

What kind of societies and professional organizations do Landscape Architects have?

  • The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the professional organization representing landscape architecture in the United States. The purpose of the society is "the advancement of knowledge, education, and skill in the arts and science of landscape architecture as an instrument of service in the public welfare." ASLA also provides continuing professional education to practitioners to maintain their educational licensing requirements.
  • The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) represents faculty members and others interested in landscape architectural education. Through an annual conference, regional meetings and publications, CELA provides opportunities for personal interaction among landscape architecture educators, students, and practitioners.

*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for landscape architects reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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