What Does A Landscape Architect Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Landscape Architects

Landscape Architects plan and design land areas for projects such as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, highways, hospitals, schools, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.

Salary
$75440
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Landscape Architects plan and design land areas for projects such as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, highways, hospitals, schools, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.

  • Confer with clients, engineering personnel, or architects on landscape projects.
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, or cost estimates for land development.
  • Analyze data on conditions such as site location, drainage, or structure location for environmental reports or landscaping plans.
  • Develop marketing materials, proposals, or presentations to generate new work opportunities.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Landscape Architects confer with clients, engineering personnel, or architects on landscape projects. They prepare site plans, specifications, or cost estimates for land development.

A typical day for a Landscape Architect will also include:

  • Develop planting plans to help clients garden productively or to achieve particular aesthetic effects.
  • Integrate existing land features or landscaping into designs.
  • Manage the work of subcontractors to ensure quality control.
  • Collaborate with architects or related professionals on whole building design to maximize the aesthetic features of structures or surrounding land and to improve energy efficiency.
  • Research latest products, technology, or design trends to stay current in the field.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Landscape Architects also manage the work of subcontractors to ensure quality control. They may also analyze data on conditions such as site location, drainage, or structure location for environmental reports or landscaping plans.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Landscape Architects develop marketing materials, proposals, or presentations to generate new work opportunities. They might also inspect landscape work to ensure compliance with specifications, evaluate the quality of materials or work, or advise clients or construction personnel.

In addition, they prepare graphic representations or drawings of proposed plans or designs.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them collaborate with estimators to cost projects, create project plans, or coordinate bids from landscaping contractors.

To some Landscape Architects, it is also their responsibility to inspect proposed sites to identify structural elements of land areas or other important site information, such as soil condition, existing landscaping, or the proximity of water management facilities.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

73% said they were satisfied with their job and 71% said they found their job meaningful.


Josh Daniel
Cooper Carry

Landscape architecture is a rewarding profession, and the practice of the craft is diverse. Landscape architects can specialize in many project types, ranging from residential design to larger planning efforts and all scales in between. The diversity of practice initially drew me to the profession, and it is what continues to excite me and keep me engaged. I work for a multi-disciplinary practice (Cooper Carry) and we offer clients a variety of services including architecture, interior design, company branding, and environmental graphics. Our landscape architecture group collaborates with and supports all of the practice studios. This means we get to work on K-12 schools, university campuses, office environments, and retail projects. Our workdays are as varied as our project types and we never have a repetitive week.

There are some constants in our work that include being the champions of the environment on all projects. We focus on how to manage landscapes successfully and sustainably and create new work that contributes to our clients’ and user’s health and well-being and considers the protection and quality improvement of all our natural resources – air, water, soil, and vegetation. We also must be learned generalists. Working with multiple professionals means that we need to understand and speak the language of all our design partners and share our own knowledge of the natural world to make for better designs.

I think two of the most important skills for a landscape architect are critical thinking and clear communication. We are asked to process a great deal of information, such as site features, project program, building regulations, etc., and filter those through a design process that creates work that is both beautiful and functional. That requires patience in listening to clients and collaborators and the ability to communicate the design ideas back to those partners in all forms of communication – written, verbal and visual. We are asked to practice and demonstrate these skills regularly, and I believe that process helps us deploy them in all aspects of our lives, hopefully making us better friends, family members, and citizens.

Cons

One of the challenges of our profession is time – there just isn’t enough of it (but that could be said for so many aspects of our lives). Specific to our work is using our time efficiently and effectively. It often takes multiple iterations of a design to correctly solve for all the requirements a project presents, so it is helpful to understand all the demands of project time early in the process.

Pros

There is great satisfaction in the daily practice of trying to improve our built environment. Landscape architects can use their skills to improve every place they encounter. This extends outside of the profession to civic opportunities to share professional knowledge like serving on environmental boards or contributing to municipal codes and standards. It is a profession that does not stop or start at the office or sketch desk, and that is why I enjoy it.

Josh Daniel is a landscape architect at national design firm Cooper Carry.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Suitable for people who want independence and like to work on their own and make decisions.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very good salary.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$75440 per year

Average hourly wage

$36 per hour

Entry-level Landscape Architects with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $42,500 to $54,790 per year or $20 to $26 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $115,660 $56
Senior (Top 25%) $92,670 $45
Median $70,630 $34
Junior (Bottom 25%) $54,790 $26
No experience (Bottom 10%) $42,500 $20

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Landscape Architects based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
State Government $99690 $47.93
Federal Executive Branch $97320 $46.79
Local Government $94990 $45.67
Residential Building Construction $82650 $39.74
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $78240 $37.62
Real Estate $77320 $37.17
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services $77300 $37.16
Management of Companies and Enterprises $75200 $36.15
Other Specialty Trade Contractors $69670 $33.49
Social Advocacy Organizations $66040 $31.75

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Landscape Architects work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Landscape Architects including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services 13090 $77300 $37.16
Local Government 850 $94990 $45.67
State Government 480 $99690 $47.93
Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores 360 $59570 $28.64
Federal Executive Branch 290 $97320 $46.79
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services 270 $78240 $37.62
Other Specialty Trade Contractors 170 $69670 $33.49
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 80 $65540 $31.51
Social Advocacy Organizations 50 $66040 $31.75
Real Estate $77320 $37.17

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
4%

40 hours
39%

More than 40 hours
57%

Working schedule

75%

25%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
4%

Every day
93%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
7%

Every day
93%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
29%

Every day
64%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
0%

Once a year
46%

Once a month
36%

Once a week
18%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
4%

Slightly competitive
4%

Moderately competitive
25%

Highly competitive
50%

Extremely competitive
18%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
11%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
7%

Every day
79%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
44%

Once a year or more
15%

Once a month or more
26%

Once a week or more
15%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
4%

Once a year or more
25%

Once a month or more
39%

Once a week or more
29%

Every day
4%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
46%

Once a year or more
36%

Once a month or more
18%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
4%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
82%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
4%

Master’s Degree
4%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
7%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Environmental Design/Architecture

A program that prepares individuals to design public and private spaces, indoor and outdoor, for leisure, recreational, commercial, and living purposes, and for professional practice as environmental designers and architects. Includes instruction in the design and planning of public and private open spaces and their relationship to buildings and other aspects of the built environment; facilities management; related aspects of interior design and architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning; and professional responsibilities and standards.

Landscape Architecture

A program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of landscape architecture and research in various aspects of the field. Includes instruction in geology and hydrology; soils, groundcovers, and horticultural elements; project and site planning; landscape design, history, and theory; environmental design; applicable law and regulations; and professional responsibilities and standards.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
26%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
4%

6 months to 1 year
15%

1 to 2 years
22%

2 to 4 years
15%

4 to 6 years
11%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
4%

Over 10 years
4%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
15%

1 month
15%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
15%

6 months to 1 year
15%

1 to 2 years
30%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

The Builder
71%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
76%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
90%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
24%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
57%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
33%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
71%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
74%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
67%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
48%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
43%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
81%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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