Career Development

What Does a Landscape Designer Do?

Find out what a landscape designer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a landscape designer.

Landscape designers are responsible for the design and maintenance of outdoor spaces. They work with a wide range of clients, from individuals to corporations, to create beautiful and functional outdoor areas that meet their clients’ needs.

Landscape designers must have an eye for aesthetics as well as knowledge of horticulture and other related fields. They must also be able to effectively communicate their ideas to clients and contractors in order to ensure that their designs come to life as intended.

Landscape Designer Job Duties

Landscape designers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating designs for commercial or residential properties, such as private homes or apartment complexes
  • Communicating with clients to determine their design preferences and needs
  • Conducting research on plants, materials, and other aspects of design
  • Preparing sketches and drawings of proposed designs to show clients
  • Working with contractors to manage the installation of new landscapes
  • Selecting materials for construction based on durability and appearance
  • Performing calculations to determine the quantity of materials required for different projects
  • Conducting field surveys to assess the current condition of the site
  • Supervising crews of workers who are installing new landscapes

Landscape Designer Salary & Outlook

Landscape designers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of work they do. Some landscape designers may also work as freelance contractors, charging an hourly rate for their services.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $104,000 ($50/hour)

The employment of landscape designers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to preserve and protect natural resources will continue to drive demand for landscape designers. As cities and towns work to reduce stormwater runoff, conserve energy, and increase access to outdoor spaces, landscape designers will be needed to plan and design these projects.

Landscape Designer Job Requirements

Landscape designers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Landscape designers typically need a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, horticulture or a related field. These programs typically include courses in landscape design, plant science, soil science, landscape construction, landscape management and landscape business.

Many landscape designers also have a master’s degree in landscape architecture. This advanced degree can help landscape designers advance their careers and increase their earning potential.

Training & Experience: Landscape designers typically receive on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship. During an apprenticeship, a landscape designer will work under the supervision of a master landscape designer. The length of an apprenticeship depends on the state, but it usually lasts between three and five years.

Certifications & Licenses: Some states require landscape designers to obtain a license to work in the field. The requirements vary from state to state, but most require that landscape designers complete a period of practical training under the supervision of a licensed designer and pass an exam.

Many landscape designers also opt to become certified by the Landscape Industry Association.

Landscape Designer Skills

Landscape designers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Drafting and design: Landscape designers use computer software to create and modify designs. They also use drafting tools to create hand-drawn plans and sections of a design. This is an important skill to have because most companies require a digital copy of a design.

Construction methods: Landscape designers use their knowledge of construction methods to plan how to build the elements of a landscape design. They may use their knowledge of construction methods to plan how to build retaining walls, patios, outdoor kitchens, ponds and other features.

Landscape materials: Landscape designers use a variety of materials to create outdoor spaces. They may be familiar with the different types of materials available and their uses. They may also know where to purchase these materials and how to save money on them.

Plant knowledge: Landscape designers need to know the characteristics of various plants and vegetation to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor space. This includes knowing how plants grow in various conditions and environments, how to care for them and how to maintain them over time. Plant knowledge can help landscape designers create a landscape that is sustainable and resilient.

Communication: Landscape designers communicate with clients, contractors and other stakeholders throughout the design process. They use verbal and written communication skills to convey ideas and information, and they often use presentation skills to create visual designs.

Landscape Designer Work Environment

Landscape designers work in a variety of settings, including offices, greenhouses, and nurseries, and they may also spend time outdoors working on site. They typically work regular business hours, although they may need to work overtime to meet deadlines or to accommodate the schedules of their clients. Landscape designers may work for landscape architecture firms, garden centers, or other businesses that provide landscaping services. They may also be self-employed. Landscape designers typically work on teams with other designers, architects, engineers, and construction workers.

Landscape Designer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how landscape designers work. Landscape designers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growing Demand for Green Infrastructure

As the world becomes more aware of the importance of environmental sustainability, the demand for green infrastructure is growing. This trend is creating opportunities for landscape designers who can design and install sustainable features such as rain gardens, bioswales, and permeable pavement.

Landscape designers who are able to incorporate these features into their designs will be in high demand, as they can help municipalities and businesses reduce their impact on the environment. In addition, they can also help create a more beautiful and livable environment for everyone.

The Importance of Sustainability

Sustainability has become an important focus for many businesses in recent years, as they have come to realize that it is essential to long-term success. Landscape designers are in a unique position to capitalize on this trend, as they can help businesses create outdoor spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly.

By developing a deep understanding of sustainability, landscape designers can create outdoor spaces that are not only functional but also beautiful. They can also help businesses implement sustainable practices, such as recycling and composting, which can save money and resources in the long run.

A Desire for More Natural Environments

People are increasingly looking for natural environments to live, work, and play in. This trend is leading to an increased demand for landscape designers who can create natural-looking landscapes that feel like they belong in the surrounding area.

Landscape designers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in natural landscaping techniques. They can also learn how to use plants and materials that look natural but require less maintenance.

How to Become a Landscape Designer

A landscape designer career can be a great fit for many people. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors, with nature, and on projects that have an impact on people’s lives. There are many different paths you can take in this field, so it’s important to find one that matches your interests and skills.

If you want to become a landscape designer, start by gaining experience in related fields such as horticulture, forestry, or architecture. You can also volunteer or intern with a landscaping company to gain hands-on experience. Additionally, develop your drawing and design skills by taking classes or participating in online courses.

Advancement Prospects

Landscape designers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school. Many designers also have a master’s degree. The National Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board has a list of accredited landscape architecture programs.

Most states require landscape architects to be licensed. To become licensed, candidates must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination. The LARE is a four-part exam that covers topics such as site design, construction, and planting.

Landscape architects typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school and must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination. Most states also require landscape architects to be licensed.

Landscape designers typically start out working under the supervision of more experienced designers. With experience, they may advance to project manager or head designer positions. Some designers open their own landscape architecture firms.

Landscape Designer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we understand that first impressions matter. That’s why we’re looking for a highly creative and experienced landscape designer to join our team and help us create beautiful, welcoming outdoor spaces for our clients. The ideal candidate will have a strong portfolio of previous work, as well as experience working with a variety of landscape design software. He or she will be responsible for creating and implementing design plans, collaborating with clients and other team members, and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand the client’s needs and wants for their landscape design
  • Develop a comprehensive plan that meets the budget and timeline set by the client
  • Select appropriate plants, materials, and features for the design
  • Incorporate principles of horticulture, environmental science, and sustainable design into the plan
  • Prepare cost estimates for the project
  • Create 2D and 3D drawings of the design using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Present the design to the client for approval
  • Make revisions to the design based on feedback from the client
  • Install the landscape according to the approved design
  • Maintain the landscape after installation
  • Keep up to date with new plant varieties, materials, and trends in landscape design
  • Attend continuing education courses to maintain licensure

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or related field
  • 3-5 years professional experience in landscape design
  • Proficiency with AutoCAD, SketchUp, Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft Office
  • Strong visualization skills and ability to create detailed drawings
  • Excellent communication, problem solving, and time management skills
  • Creative flair and artistic eye for design

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in landscape architecture
  • 7+ years professional experience in landscape design
  • Experience leading a team of designers
  • Proficiency with 3D rendering software
  • Familiarity with construction methods and materials


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