Landscape Architects: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

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 presentation to generate new work opportunities.
Read more about what does a Landscape Architect really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



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Salary

Average salary
$73160 per year

Average hourly wage
$35 per hour


Landscape Architects with little to no experience tend to make between $40710 and $53080 while the more experienced ones can earn over $89450 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $48 $100,690
CA $43 $89,570
CT $42 $87,660
VA $41 $85,880
NY $40 $82,510

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Landscape Architect is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Landscape Architects are DC, CA, CT, VA and NY.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Landscape Architect is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Requirements

Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Landscape Architects what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a First Professional Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Environmental Design/Architecture
Landscape Architecture
Read more about how to become a Landscape Architect and the degree, training and education you need.


Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Landscape Architect.

PROS
Suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Suitable for people who wants independence and likes 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 likes 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)


What is the job like

Job satisfaction
73%

Is this job meaningful
71%


73% of Landscape Architects said they were satisfied with their job and 71% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.


Working experience from Laura Taylor Source: Quora

Landscape architecture is a profession that crosses many disciplines. It is more than simply making pretty gardens or landscapes, though that is a part of it too! What most surprised me initially was how many areas of knowledge I needed to be versed in. Geology, hydrology, horticulture, masonry, building construction, civil engineering, design, surveying, trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. All come into play in varing degrees depending on the project. From a design standpoint it is quite wonderful because you are given an opportunity to create something beautiful that evolves over time and maybe can make the world a more beautiful and healthy place.


Working experience from Kit Veerkamp Source: Quora

I started my career working in a design build firm and so got a very hands-on approach to design. That was very educational. But as the office took on larger projects, more work was oriented around filling in the parking lot spaces and dressing up commercial and industrial buildings. Not so fun. When I moved on to park planning. I also very much enjoyed that part of landscape architecture because you’re doing something very positive for people and communities. Then back to the private sector doing recreation planning and restoration work, which was also interesting and rewarding. Now my career, in semi-retirement, is geared towards Permaculture design with an emphasis on healthy and sustainable environments, especially for people who want to be a self-sustainable as possible.


Working experience from Josh Daniel Source: Direct

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.

What are the pros and 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.

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.


Working experience from Alex Thompson Source: Direct

Alex here, director of Festoon House. I have a master’s degree in architectural lighting design and have worked in landscape lighting design for more than a decade.

Being a landscape lighting designer, my workday usually starts early in the morning around 5:00 AM. I watch the sunrise most mornings on my morning jog before getting in the truck to head to the office. I decided years ago I’d make time for my health each morning before the day becomes too hectic. There are generally very few opportunities for evening exercise activities as the team and I work long hours most of the year, so I really value my peaceful early mornings.

Daily Team Briefing

Before I set my foot onto the site, I’ll visit the office to check my emails and get up to speed with any project updates. For any additional events or tasks, my assistant and I align them with the rest of my schedule.

After this, I head to the first site of the day to ensure all the materials, equipment, and plans are in order for the day ahead. I’ll check in with the site manager and brief him on any updates and discuss any unexpected finds that may have come up during dig ups. Once briefing the site manager I’ll head over to the next site we’re working on and do the same. I prefer not to micromanage my team, otherwise, the guys become frustrated that I’ve got such a big say in the physical labor that I’m not actually a part of.

Project Completion & Handover

In between, I also visit sites where the projects are just a few days from handover. Before I get my team to work on a project, I always go and self-study the site to have a better understanding of the architecture and what lighting will work best. I will do a personal site visit after hours to inspect the handy work of our team without them there so that I have no bias input from them. I like to view things from the eyes of our customers to ensure the gardens have been manicured and been lit up perfectly as the sun sets in the evening. Double-checking all of our projects has been a key in the amount of referral work we are passed on from past clients.

My day finally comes to an end around 6:00 PM, after which I don’t cater to any work-related queries and prefer giving time to my family and friends.

Pros:

  • Working on some of the most prestigious projects in the city.
  • Get to work in beautiful outdoor conditions nearly year-round.
  • The job NEVER gets boring, we work on a range of unique projects.

Cons:

  • Business can be slow in colder months.
  • 12-hour workdays on average make family, social life hard to balance.
  • Deadlines become increasingly difficult during rainy periods.


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Artists and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends 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.



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