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How to Become a Landscape Designer?

Landscape Designer | Landscape Improvements

Do you love working with plants and have an eye for design? You can be a landscape designer.

A landscape designer is someone who creates functional and beautiful outdoor spaces. They can also design the exterior areas of commercial establishments. They can also work with schools and other facilities. While many interchange landscape designers with landscape architects, the two are different. Both need bachelor’s degrees, but the latter needs to pass a licensing exam.

A landscape designer is a stable and lucrative occupation. The job is also interesting and requires a level of creativity. You’ll be working with different people from various industries. Landscape designers also collaborate with business owners, architects, and contractors. Are you interested in pursuing landscaping as a career? Here’s how to become a landscape designer.

Research the Requirements

You should understand the industry first before you invest your time and money. There’s more to the job than choosing the right plants or trees, although that’s one of your main tasks. It’s also about knowing about the soil and plant requirements. You should also know about drainage and pest control.

Landscapers also need to have people skills. You’ll also be working in the field and coordinating with different contractors. You’ll be dealing with homeowners, business owners, nursery owners, and so much more. Take a long and honest look at your personality and strengths before taking the next step.

Get a Bachelor’s Degree

You need the appropriate educational background to become an effective landscape designer. Look for a good college that offers a landscape design course. This is a four-year program that provides students with ample hands-on experience. A landscape design program teaches students the history of the industry. It also teaches site planning and design. You’ll also learn plant vocabulary and topics related to soil.

There are other courses that can help you fulfill your dream of becoming a landscaper, like:

  • Plant Science
  • Plant biology
  • Propagation of Plants
  • Soil Science
  • Turf Grass Cultivation
  • Horticultural Pest Management
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Landscape Contracting

The education and/or training requirements for landscape designers vary per state. Some organizations need a specific degree before they can certify a designer. Others don’t need a landscaper to be a graduate of horticulture or finish a landscaping course. But they will insist on some educational units.

Undergo an Internship

It’s also in your best interest to do an internship while you’re studying for your degree. You can work part-time or during your semester breaks. An internship can help you gain real work experience. There’s a lot you can learn on the field that you can’t grasp in full from books. An internship can also put you in touch with prospective employers and/or clients.

Some colleges have a standing arrangement with companies to give their students training. You can ask your college’s career services department for information. They can also help you in getting an internship. You can also call local landscapers and contractors to ask if they accept students. If you’re lucky, you might even secure a paid internship. But almost all internships provide extra credits toward your degree.

Establish Work Experience

Finishing your degree is a big accomplishment. Now you need to build on it by looking for a job. You can ask for help from your college as most have a job placement program. You can also get in touch with the company you did your internship with. Or do it the old-fashioned way and look at job ads.

One question people often ask is “how much do landscapers make?” That will depend on the landscaper’s skill and years of experience. Landscapers earn anywhere from $30,000 to $48,581 a year. A new graduate could earn around $12 to $15 an hour. Someone who’s been practicing for three to six years can earn $15 to $18 per hour. An experienced landscape designer can charge about $18 to $20 an hour.

Landscaping companies will look for someone with a strong knowledge of plants. They also want someone with a background in design and construction. They also prefer an employee with good computer skills. They should also know project management and can communicate well. Some job offers might need several years of experience. You also have the option to work as a consultant.

Secure Your Certification

Being a certified landscape designer has many benefits. It adds prestige to your work and provides reassurance to clients. Getting a certification from a landscaping organization can also help you with networking.

Industry and certification requirements for the landscape industry differ per state. Some states don’t need any specific landscape design license or certificate. Others will ask for a landscape contractor license or a horticulturist certificate.

There are two landscape design organizations that operate on a national scale. One is the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). The other is the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The APLD focuses on the Landscape Design profession. Meanwhile, the NALP represents the entire landscaping services industry. This includes landscape design, maintenance, and arboriculture. You can get certified in one or both of these organizations. They have different requirements so it is best if you research that first.

Make Your Landscaping Dream Come True

Looking for the right landscape designer to bring your vision to life? Landscape Improvements has a team of experts that can help you. We are a full-service landscaping company based in Orlando, Florida. We have been in the business for decades. We have the skill and experience to improve your outdoor living space. We do commercial and residential landscaping and maintenance. We also do landscape architecture and lighting. Call us at 407-606-7326. You can also reach us at info@landscapeimprove.com.

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