18 Reasons To Become a Landscape Architect
Updated June 30, 2023
If you enjoy art and nature, you may want to become a landscape architect. Pursuing a career in landscaping architecture can provide a range of benefits, including the ability to think creatively, use innovative technologies, foster communities and earn a high salary. Before you decide to become a landscape architect, it's important to consider how pursuing this career path might align with your unique interests, abilities and experiences.
In this article, we explore 18 different reasons to become a landscape architect and discuss various specializations you can pursue in this career.
Landscape architects design and renovate outdoor spaces, such as parks, golf courses and outdoor areas for businesses.
You may want to become a landscape architect if you desire a career that allows you to be creative, work in nature and enjoy greater flexibility regarding your working hours and the types of projects you create.
Landscape architecture has several specializations, including urban design, stormwater management, environmental planning, parks and recreation and historical preservation.
What does a landscape architect do?
A landscape architect creates plans and develops outdoor spaces, such as for parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, golf courses and businesses. They strive to create outdoor spaces that are functional, visually appealing and sustainable. Landscape architects make decisions about the arrangement of various aspects within outdoor spaces, including trees, pathways, plants and buildings. Specific job duties can vary based on factors like their current project and their specialization, but may include:
Creating and revising landscaping plans based on the clients' needs
Overseeing landscaping projects from beginning to end
Drafting project schedules and budgets
Collaborating with engineers, surveyors, community planners, biologists and foresters
Analyzing the features of the natural landscape and determining how to incorporate them into their architectural plans
Providing progress updates to key project stakeholders
18 reasons to become a landscape architect
Following are 18 reasons to become a landscape architect:
1. Exercise creativity
Many professionals want to become landscape architects so that they can explore their creativity through their jobs. A landscape architect learns about many elements of visual design through their work, including arrangements of colors, shapes and textures in an outdoor space. Their goal with this artistic expression is to create a space that their clients enjoy looking at and matches both their aesthetic and functional needs.
2. Develop many types of projects
Landscape architects can develop a range of projects within various fields. Some landscape architects may choose to work in multiple fields, while others might prefer to pursue a specialization. Fields that a landscape architect may work in include:
Interior landscaping, such as for greenhouses
Parks and recreation
Travel industry, such as outdoor spaces at hotels or resorts
School grounds, such as outdoor spaces on college campuses or at a public school
Restorations of natural habitats
3. Create innovative work
Although most of these professionals pay close attention to both historical and present landscaping architectural movements, they also frequently get to innovate. Landscape architects often use their innovation skills to solve challenges related to the natural landscape and their intended designs. For example, they may need to preserve an existing body of water while making a visually appealing and functional public park. This type of challenge might lead landscape architects to approach their landscaping architectural plans in a unique way.
4. Preserve historic elements
Landscape architects often help preserve the distinct history of the outdoor space they're working on while implementing a new design. They may perform this type of work on historical sites, monuments or other outdoor spaces with strong historical connections. For example, they may strive to incorporate native plants back into a wildlife area undergoing restoration.
5. Be immersed in nature
Landscape architecture is a great field for people passionate about the outdoors and nature. Although landscape architects typically create their architectural plans within an office, they also spend much of their time visiting their outdoor work sites. Landscape architects frequently perform other tasks related to nature too, like visiting nurseries to select plans for a current project.
6. Conserve wildlife
Many architectural landscaping projects have the goal of developing habitats that support the wildlife in the area. This may include selecting a range of plants that encourage animal diversity and appropriately sizing various habitats within the landscape. This facet of landscape architecture can make it a great career choice for people who love animals or feel passionately about saving threatened species.
7. Health benefits
Well-designed outdoor spaces can offer both physical and mental health benefits. These benefits might include lowered stress levels and boosted immune systems. A landscape architect may appreciate the opportunity to help visitors or clients of their outdoor spaces improve their overall wellness.
8. Improve sustainability
Using landscaping architectural principles can help improve the sustainability of both outdoor spaces and their nearby indoor areas. For example, landscape architects can arrange trees and plants to reduce how much a residential or commercial building uses its heating or cooling systems. Landscape architects might also design green roofs, meaning roofs covered with soil and living plants, that can help clean rainwater and reduce the temperature of the surrounding air. These types of elements can help both public and private properties become more environmentally friendly.
9. Foster communities
Landscape architects create outdoor spaces that can help develop communities. When working on public lands such as parks, landscape architects frequently attend town hall meetings or other gatherings that can give them insights into the needs of the local region. Strategies for fostering communities through landscape architecture may include improving access roads, preserving wetlands, incorporating public art or providing a space for public discussions.
10. Use a range of artistic tools
Many landscape architects work with a range of artistic mediums. They may create their architectural plans through hand drawings, photographs, paintings, models or a combination of these. Using these diverse artistic tools can help landscape architects and their clients ensure that they're both pleased with the final design and construction.
11. Choose your type of employment
Landscape architects have the ability to decide if they'd rather work full time for a company or find self-employment opportunities. While some landscape architects work for firms, others start their own businesses or work as independent contractors. Landscape architects who work for firms may have greater job security, but those who go into business for themselves may enjoy more flexibility in their project types and working hours.
12. Earn a high salary
Many landscape architects may have a high earning potential. The average salary for landscape architects is $65,979 per year. It's important to remember that individual salaries for landscape architects can vary based on a range of factors, including geographic location, years of experience, education and specialization.
13. Growth of job opportunities
Job opportunities for landscape architects may increase over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, 1,600 new jobs for landscape architects might become available each year through 2030. The BLS projects this increase in jobs in part because of the growing demand for outdoor and indoor spaces that promote sustainable practices.
14. Be independent and a team player
Many landscape architects appreciate the ability to perform some tasks independently and to collaborate on other responsibilities. A landscape architect often works independently when creating their design plans. However, as they implement their design plans, their responsibilities become more collaborative. Depending on the needs of the project, landscape architects may work closely with professionals such as architects, surveyors, landscapers, health care providers, environmental scientists and engineers.
15. Use innovative technologies
Being a landscape architect gives you the chance to conduct some of your job responsibilities with modern technology. Landscape architects often used emerging technologies to help them visualize or overcome challenges related to the natural environment of their current project. These technologies may include geographic information systems, digital photography, computer-aided design and visual simulations.
16. Become a licensed professional
To perform most landscaping architectural jobs, professionals first receive a license from their state. Some states may also ask aspiring landscape architects to pass additional tests on elements like environmental regulations as part of their licensure process. Being a licensed professional can help you obtain more job opportunities and advance your career.
17. Experience diverse work environments
Since landscape architects often work on many types of outdoor spaces, they get to experience a range of work environments. A landscape architect may get to perform some of their job duties in changing work environments like parks, residential properties, monuments, company gardens and college campuses. This aspect of landscape architecture can make the job more appealing to professionals interested in finding a job that lets them be active and explore different sites.
18. Challenge yourself
Many landscape architects appreciate the fact that their job duties regularly change and that they can continually solve new landscaping architectural issues. These shifting duties and challenges can make landscape architecture a more mentally stimulating profession. The field of landscape architecture also continues to evolve with new ecology practices, which can make this career even more dynamic.
Landscape architecture specializations
Here are a few specializations in landscape architecture that you may want to pursue for your career:
Urban design encompasses the infrastructure of cities. Landscape architects who specialize in urban design understand how to arrange residential and commercial properties that allow for population growth while preserving elements of the natural land. A landscape architect in urban design may help with projects such as street appearances, transportation routes, interior landscapes and public squares.
Stormwater management refers to practices that keep public and private buildings and outdoor spaces safe from damage caused by storms and other natural disasters. A landscape architect specializing in stormwater management knows how to use natural features, like soil or plants, to absorb excess water. They can help develop protective features, like constructed wetlands and green roofs, in occupied areas.
Parks and recreation
The field of parks and recreation refers to outdoor or recreational spaces designed by government agencies for the public. Landscape architects in parks and recreation may design parks, public gardens, playgrounds or monuments. Some of these outdoor spaces may serve specific functions, like therapeutic gardens, while others may allow for members of the public to gather for a range of purposes.
Ecological and environmental planning
A landscape architect specializing in environmental planning has in-depth knowledge related to sustainable practices. They understand how to incorporate features from the natural landscape and encourage diverse plant and animal species to thrive within their habitats. They might develop natural parks, green spaces, wetlands and offshore developments. These landscape architects may also help commercial or residential properties optimize their sustainability, such as by lowering pollution or improving energy efficiency.
Site planning refers to strategies that allow clients or visitors to use the existing land as efficiently as possible. Landscape architects who specialize in site planning take into consideration factors such as an outdoor space's topography, property lines, streets, existing buildings and utilities. They carefully document both the existing site and their proposed changes for the area through a range of visualization tools.
Landscape architects who focus on historic preservation help keep outdoor spaces in a high-quality condition while maintaining their connections to the past. This may involve including native plants in their designs, devising strategies to minimize site changes over time and becoming familiar with the landscaping architectural trends from that time period. Since government agencies manage some historic sites, landscape architects in historic preservation may also specialize in parks and recreation.
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