Landscape architects use their creative skills and technical abilities to plan outdoor scenes and landscapes. This includes using natural items like plants and trees, but also buildings and pathways. The places you could design are limitless, ranging from skate parks to tech parks to wetlands. Landscape Architecture involves much more than just arranging flowers; students will learn to design and create landscapes using both natural and manmade elements and structures.
Classes that you would take as a landscape architect could include: horticulture, landscape design, history, theory, hydrology, geology, environmental design, and project and site planning. This is a very challenging and diverse curriculum that helps ready the student for success. Students will use elements of both art and science to create beautiful and breathtaking spaces.
As a landscape architect you will have a lot of creative freedom. A student in this field must have a vast imagination and an interest in nature and ecology. It is important for the student to have an interest in preserving and cultivating nature, while at the same time adding elements from the man made world. One of the keys to success is effective communication skills and the ability to work well with others. A landscape architect will need to communicate with clients and incorporate the client's desires into their own vision. You should be prepared to spend a lot of time rethinking and redesigning projects.
As a landscape architect major, a student will learn to research and identify plants and know the climates in which they survive. Landscape architects need to be computer savvy and have the ability to build models and create plans of their designs on the computer. They also need to be able to build and represent a model of their design three dimensionally. By the time they finish school, students will learn how to create beautiful and yet functional natural spaces through a variety of methods.
In order to become a licensed and professional landscape architecture, you must be ready and willing to obtain an advanced degree. Most students go on to attain a master's degree as well as work as an intern for at least two years. After completing their advanced degree and internship, landscape architects must pass the L.A.R.E. (Landscape Architect Registration Examination) in order to receive their license to practice as a professional.
On the bright side, landscape architects are in high demand. They are needed to design public spaces, resort grounds, parks and bike trails, housing developments, and many more open spaces.
Those who become Landscape Architects can expect to average $42,088 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $65,170.