How to Become a Landscape Designer

Beings a landscape designer means being responsible for planning, consulting and designing all the arrangements relating to exterior landscapes. There are places where you do not need any kind of certification to become one, but without having more expertise in different areas and without proper education, you will be limited mostly just to design work.

They are professionals who focus on design and maintenance of areas that require any kind of plants. Landscape designers are creative people, very well educated about ecology and sustainability. They use various computer programs to design a plan of an outdoor space. These spaces can include school campus, parks, private gardens etc.; designed plans – much like many paid commissions – need to meet expectations of a client, as well as provided budget and nature of the project. Drainage systems need to be built for plants and incorporated in the design.

There are 5 main steps what you need to follow on how to become a landscape designer. First, research what is needed to become a landscape designer in your area or internationally if you are not planning to stay in one place. Keep in mind that landscape architect is a different profession which require additional specific education and a license. Much like many professions, specialized preparation is a must.

Second step is to go and get that bachelor’s degree. Apply to colleges and universities with landscape design programs. You can find horticulture studies or soil and plant program which will include landscape design lectures. By studying this program, students are going to build their vocabulary with definitions, study history of the landscape design and get deeper into topics relating to soil, site planning and designing. Courses which are going to be included in the studies usually are landscape maintenance, turfgrass culture, plant biology, plant propagation and others.

Third, get an internship which is very crucial step to help you understand if you really want this because it will show the practical side of landscape design. You can work during summer and that additional line to your CV is going to attract employers.  Check you school services or local landscape companies. 

Most internships are paid. So, go for it!

Forth step is to get a job. Internship can give you real experience but as a landscape designer you need to take on responsibilities and learn to deal with them on your own. If you liked your internship, ask if they can offer a part time position or write you a recommendation. Employers look for people with computer skills, excellent communication and project management abilities. Do additional training in these areas.

The last fifth step is to get certified. Check Association of Professional Landscape designers which will provide you with certification and earn it with hard work. Create your personal portfolio with photos of your work, gather all recommendations that you can get and become a member of the association that will get you certified. They might request more experience or improvements, but don’t forget: always be eager to learn!