Nature of Work
The design of landscapes involves multiple disciplines like mathematics, science, engineering, art, technology, social sciences, politics, history and philosophy. Landscape architects are responsible for various duties like creating public parks, planning corporate offices, planning highways and bridges, creating forests, tourist and historic landscapes, management and reclamation of the degraded landscapes like mines etc. Their job involves all minor and major tasks. They are the brains behind the various types of construction. They are also responsible for supervising the contracts of construction work and preparing applications for capital or revenue funding grants.
Landscape architects often work with different architects, surveyors and engineers to determine the best plans for roads and buildings. They are also required to work with environmental scientists, foresters and other professionals to find various methods of conserving the natural resources. Once the conclusions are drawn, the landscape architects create a new plan including the new topography, vegetation, walkways, decorative features etc.
They spend most of their time in offices in preparing models, designs, plans and cost estimates. The rest of their time is spent either attending meetings with clients or at the site. However, undoubtedly they need to be creatively inclined.
The major requirement is that they need to be nature lovers. People who have no interest in enjoying the beauty of nature may not do well as landscape architects. Needless to say, they must have strong analytical skills, a creative vision and artistic talent. Good communication and presentation skills are a must. They must also possess excellent writing skills and an articulate way of expressing their thoughts. The knowledge of CAD software is also essential.
Some prefer to take up some residential work while others stick to individual homeowners. Residential design projects do not provide huge incomes like those of commercial or multiunit residential projects. They may either be self employed or employed by government agencies or landscape architectural firms. Those employed by government or architectural firms work for fixed timings while self-employed work as per the demands.
- The main requirement for entry-level jobs as a landscape architect is a bachelors degree or a masters degree in landscape architecture. A bachelors degree takes around 4 to 5 years for completion. There are two types of masters degrees. One is a 3-year professional program designed for people with an undergraduate degree in other discipline. The other is a 2 year program for students having completed undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture. Some employers prefer applicants who have completed their internship.
- There is a growing demand for landscape architects for integrating natural elements into manmade constructions. Most are employed in urban and sub-urban areas. Few are employed in rural areas. When they gain sufficient experience become construction supervisors, land or environmental planners, project managers and landscape consultants.