Thinking about a career in the professional field of landscape design? Not sure whether to become a landscape designer or a landscape architect – and not even sure what the difference is between the two? Today, we’ll teach you everything there is to know about a landscape designer vs. landscape architect!
Specifically, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between the two roles, and how to get started in each. This way, you can make an informed decision and start your career on the right foot!
Is There a Difference Between a Landscape Designer and a Landscape Architect?
The main difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect is education and licensure. Landscape designers typically have some sort of certification training – though it isn’t technically required. Landscape architects, on the other hand, must complete a master’s degree and obtain licensure.
Furthermore, landscape architects are also required to take more continuing education courses throughout their career than landscape designers.
Another key difference between the two professions is that landscape designers usually work on smaller projects, such as gardens and yards. Whereas landscape architects often work on larger projects, such as public parks or golf courses.
What Is a Landscape Architect?
Landscape architects are professional artists who design outdoor spaces. Landscape architecture is a branch of civil engineering, which means that landscape architects must have strong technical skills. Moreover, landscape architects use these skills to turn a client’s vision into reality – whether it’s designing a new public park or coming up with a plan to prevent soil erosion.
What Does a Landscape Architect Do?
In terms of the common duties and responsibilities of a landscape architect, the job usually involves:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their needs and wants
- Conducting site visits and assessments
- Drafting plans and designs
- Creating models and prototypes
- Presenting plans to clients
- Obtaining the necessary permits and approvals
- Supervising construction projects
Advantages of Being a Landscape Architect
There are many advantages of being a landscape architect!
For starters, landscape architects get to work outdoors – which is great if you love being in nature and hate being stuck in an office all day. Landscape architects also have the opportunity to be very creative in their work. And, as we mentioned before, landscape architects can work on a variety of different project types.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages of being a landscape architect.
For example, the job can be very demanding and stressful – especially when working on tight deadlines. Landscape architects also need to have strong technical skills and be able to work with complex software programs. Furthermore, because the job requires a lot of travel, landscape architects can often be away from home for long periods of time.
Not to mention, if you’re a busy person and/or not a fan of devoting a number of years to schooling, then a career in landscape architecture might not be the right fit for you.
Educational Requirements of a Landscape Architect
Landscape architects must have minimum of a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from an accredited institution. Furthermore, they must also then complete a master’s degree – which usually takes about two to three years. From there, landscape architects must also pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) in order to obtain licensure.
Continuing Education Requirements
Landscape architects are also required to take continuing education courses throughout their careers. The number of courses required varies by state, but landscape architects typically need to take at least four courses every two years.
What Are The Work Hours Like?
Landscape architects typically work regular office hours. However, they may also need to work extra hours to meet deadlines or to attend evening meetings. Landscape architects may also need to travel to meet with clients or to visit project sites.
What Is the Salary Range of a Landscape Architect?
- United States: Between approx. $23,500 USD to $144,500 USD per year (Source: ZipRecruiter)
- Canada: Between approx. $45,000 CAD to $83,000 CAD per year (Source: Payscale)
- United Kingdom: Between approx. £23,000 GBP and £39,000 GBP per year (Source: Payscale)
- New Zealand: Between approx. $49,000 NZD and $80,000 NZD per year (Source: Payscale)
- Australia: Between approx. $75,000 AUD and $90,000 AUD per year (Source: SEEK)
How To Become a Landscape Architect
Becoming a landscape architect usually takes about seven years of post-secondary education and training. However, the steps are as follows:
- Get a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from an accredited institution
- Complete a master’s degree in landscape architecture
- Pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE)
- Obtain licensure
- Build/launch your very own business or get hired by an existing company
- Take continuing education courses (as required)
What Is a Landscape Designer?
Landscape designers are similar to landscape architects in that they design outdoor spaces. Landscape designers typically have some sort of certification training – though it isn’t technically required in this field.
The main difference is that landscape architects must obtain a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in landscape architecture, whereas landscape designers do not need to. Landscape architects also have more of an emphasis on the scientific/technical aspects of their work, whereas landscape designers typically have a more creative focus.
What Does a Landscape Designer Do?
Landscape designers typically work with clients to design outdoor spaces that meet their needs and budget. They often create both the hardscape (hardscaping refers to features such as patios, decks, fences, etc.) and softscape (softscaping refers to features such as plants, trees, etc.) elements of a space.
Additionally, landscape designers may also be responsible for creating a master plan for an entire property, or they may focus on designing smaller areas such as gardens or backyard retreats.
Advantages of Being a Landscape Designer
There are several advantages to being a landscape designer, including:
- You don’t need a bachelor’s degree (or higher) to enter the field
- There are all sorts of opportunities to be creative in your work
- You can start your own business relatively easily
- You’re able to work outdoors fairly often
There are also several disadvantages to being a landscape designer, including:
- If you choose not to get professionally trained/certified, it will be difficult to become successful
- You may not have as much opportunity to work on large-scale projects, such as public parks or commercial properties
- Your earnings potential may potentially be lower than that of a landscape architect (though we’ll discuss ways to combat this shortly!)
Educational Requirements of a Landscape Designer
As we mentioned already, landscape designers do not need to have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in landscape architecture. However, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed some sort of training or certification program. Similarly, should you choose to start your own business, you’ll find that potential clients will be a LOT more willing to hire you if you have some sort of professional credentials.
So, where should you get this certification training?
QC Design School offers a self-paced, online program that you can complete in as little as 3 short months! As a graduate of this Landscape Design Course, you’ll be able to arm yourself with a globally-recognized International Landscape Design Professional (ILDP) certification!
The best part?
This certification is valid for life – meaning, you won’t ever need to update it or re-qualify for it throughout your career!
What Are The Work Hours Like?
Landscape designers typically work regular daytime hours, Monday to Friday. However, depending on the project you’re working on (and the deadlines involved), it’s not uncommon to have to put in some extra hours from time to time.
Furthermore, if you choose to run your own business, you may find that you have to work more flexible hours in order to accommodate your clients’ schedules.
How Much Does a Landscape Designer Make?
The earnings potential for a landscape designer can vary widely, depending on factors such as experience, location, and whether you work for a company or run your own business. That said, here are some annual salary ranges by country:
- United States: Between approx. $41,000 USD to $68,000 USD per year (Source: Payscale)
- Canada: Between approx. $42,000 CAD to $62,000 CAD per year (Source: Payscale)
- United Kingdom: Between approx. £20,000 GBP and £31,000 GBP per year (Source: Payscale)
- New Zealand: Between approx. $69,000 NZD and $121,000 NZD per year (Source: SalaryExpert)
- Australia: Between approx. $65,000 AUD and $80,000 AUD per year (Source: SEEK)
Tips For Earning More Money As a Landscape Designer
Based on the stats shown in this article, you probably have noticed that while landscape architects tend to make a little bit more than landscape designers, your income potential is still fairly close in both professions.
That said, what if you’re more inclined to pursue a career in landscape design – but you’d like the salary of a landscape architect?
Here are a few quick tips for how to make more money as a landscape designer:
- Get certified/trained through a professional program, such as QC Design School’s Landscape Design Course!
- Start your own business – this way, you’ll be able to set your own rates!
- Work on larger projects and/or with high-end clientele!
- Specialize in a specific niche so you can cater your business to a particular market!
- Do some research and learn about various marketing techniques/strategies – this way, you can attract more clients in the most cost-effective way!
How To Become a Landscape Designer
If you’re interested in becoming a landscape designer, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
First and foremost, we STRONGLY recommend giving this Ultimate Guide a read! It’ll break down how to become a landscape designer – from start to finish, even if you don’t have any experience – in 5 easy steps!
Secondly, as we mentioned earlier, get certified/trained through a professional program! This will give you the skills and credentials you need to succeed in the field.
From there, start your own business! This way, you’ll be able to set your own rates and work on the types of projects that interest you the most.
And last but not least, specialize in a specific niche! This will allow you to cater your business to a particular market and attract more clients.
Finally, let’s wrap things up by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the landscape design industry…
Q: Is a Landscape Architect The Same As an Architect?
A: No, landscape architects are not the same as architects. Landscape architects design outdoor spaces, such as parks, gardens, and yards – whereas architects design buildings.
Q: Is Landscaping Architectural Design?
A: Landscaping is a type of architectural design – but it’s specifically concerned with the design of outdoor spaces.
Q: What Skills Do Landscape Designers Need?
A: Landscape designers need a variety of skills, including creativity, problem-solving, technical know-how, and attention to detail.
Q: What Skills Do Landscape Architects Need?
A: In addition to the skills listed for landscape designers, landscape architects also need strong project management skills.
Q: What Is the Landscape Design Process?
A: The landscape design process usually involves several steps, including an initial client consultation, conducting a site analysis, developing a concept plan, creating a detailed design, and selecting plants and materials.
Q: How Long Does Landscape Design Take?
A: The landscape design process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Q: How Much Does Landscape Design Cost?
A: The cost of landscape design varies greatly, depending on the size of the project, the complexity of the design, and other factors. However, most landscape designers charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $50 to $150 per hour.
Q: How Much Does Landscape Architecture Cost?
A: Landscape architects typically charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $75 to $250 per hour. However, some landscape architects may charge a flat fee for certain types of projects.
Q: What Landscape Design Software Do Landscape Architects and Designers Tend To Use?
Q: How Do You Land Your First Client?
A: There are a few different ways to land your first client as a landscape architect.
One way is to offer your services for free or at a discounted rate. Another way is to connect with local landscaping companies and ask if they’re looking for any new designers. Finally, you can also reach out to family and friends to see if they know anyone who’s looking for a landscape architect.
And, again, another smart option we highly recommend is launching your very own business. If you choose to take this particular route, there are a few things you’ll need to have in place first – before you try to land your first client.
In particular, you’ll need to first:
- Put together a business plan
- Decide on and register a business name
- Build a polished, professional business website
- Set yourself up on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Print business cards
- Put together a strong portfolio of your past work
- Develop a process for pricing your services
- Figure out your marketing strategy
So, what are you waiting for?
Whichever path YOU choose, know that the landscape design industry offers a ton of opportunity for creativity, technical know-how, and attention to detail. Landscape designers and architects can work in a variety of settings, from residential to commercial to government projects. They can also choose to specialize in specific areas, such as sustainable design or historic preservation.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in landscape design, we recommend taking some time to research the industry and figure out which path is right for you. Remember: landscape architects typically need a degree from an accredited program, while landscape designers can get their careers started simply by completing a short certification course.
We hope this article has helped you better understand the difference between landscape designers and landscape architects. Landscape design is a great career choice for those who are interested in the outdoors, creativity, and problem-solving.