How to Become a Landscape Designer

If you enjoy landscaping very much, you may decide to make a career out of it. One such career you could aim for is landscape designer. Becoming a landscape designer is very simple, but you will need to put in some time and effort.

A landscape designer is different from a landscape architect, so do not confuse the two careers. Generally, a landscape designer is more concerned with the appearance aspect of landscaping, such as choosing what plants to put together or in a certain area for the most aesthetic appeal. Landscape architects also focus on the structural engineering of a landscape project.

Some schools offer full two or four year courses in landscape design. Others offer only a certification program. You may also consider majoring in agriculture or horticulture. You may choose the program that works best for you, because landscape designers are not required to be licensed by their state. Therefore, there is no educational requirement of licensing to meet.

Classes that will help you become a landscape designer include some that are very obvious. These include classes in landscape design and site surveying. You may also find that a class in urban planning is very useful. Although you may not realize it, much of today’s landscape planning is done with computers. Because of this, you should be familiar with Computer Aided Design, or CAD. If you’ve never worked with CAD before, you should take a class in it as well. You will also need to learn about the conditions in your area, whether in a formal class or on your own. The type of soil and climate will determine what plants you will be able to work with when designing landscapes for your customers.

If you are unable to attend a traditional brick and mortar school to become a landscape designer, you may take your classes online. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers has a listing of landscape schools, both brick and mortar and online, at their website at www.apld.com.

One of the first questions most people ask when considering a career choice is what the salary will be. As with many other careers, experience plays a big part in the salary of a landscape designer. Typically, you can expect to make around $38,000 during your first few years in this career.

Another thing you’ll have to consider is whether you want to work for someone else or for yourself. Self-employed landscape designers typically make a bit more than those who work with a landscaping company. However, there will also be expenses associated with starting up and maintaining your own business. If you are not really interested in the business side of landscape design, you may find it best to work for an established company instead of starting your own.

If you love working with plants, landscape design can be the perfect career for you. Research available schools and courses carefully before beginning to work towards this career. Talk to local landscape designers for recommendations and internship possibilities to help get you on your way.


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