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What Does a Landscape Architect Do?

A landscape architect has to choose the right flowers to complement a space.
A landscape architect shows his plans and designs to clients.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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A landscape architect is responsible for the design and layout of gardens, parks and other outdoor spaces. Landscape architects often work with contractors, builders and architectural firms on collaborative projects. The design of the exterior space has a huge impact on the feel and utility of a building, adding or detracting from the design.

In order to become a landscape architect, you will need to complete post-secondary education in landscape architecture from an accredited university, community or career college. These programs are typically three to four years in length and provide training on design elements, water distribution and environmental impact of design. Many people learn landscape architecture to fulfill a dream and passion for nature.

A typical landscape architect’s day can be divided into two main elements: design and implementation. Landscape architects work with a wide range of clients, ranging from private individuals to local governments. Many landscape architects are self-employed, with connections or relationships with several architect firms.

The design aspect is typically initiated by a request for a quotation or design. After meeting with the client to review the basic requirements, expectations and key dates, the landscape architect will visit the proposed site. Detailed measurements of the actual elevation, width and depth are taken. During this visit, the architect will make note of the existing soil condition, any landscaping already in place, drainage and any nearby water management systems. All these items have impact on the final design and site management.

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On average, three different designs are created and presented to the client. These designs are usually conceptual drawings and are often made with specialized computer software. Many landscape architects include future time projections in their designs, allowing the client to visualize the space in five to 10 years. This is important with landscape design, as it may take several years for the plants to establish themselves.

Upon selection by the client of a design, the landscape architect typically hands the drawings over to an estimator. This person is responsible for costing the project, creating the project plan, and coordinating the bids from the landscape contractors who will complete the actual work.

In the implementation phase, the landscape architect is now functioning as a project manager. Although the contractor completes the physical work, the architect is responsible for inspecting the site, confirming the changes are made correctly, and dealing with any issues.

The architect remains responsible for the project until the client has inspected and approved of the finished product. It is important to note that many clients maintain a relationship with the landscape architect, and may request a follow-up consultation in three to five years time to ensure that the design is maturing as expected.

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Discuss this Article

anon251301
Post 4

Great reference for laymen and landscape design services.

GreenWeaver
Post 3

Subway11-I think that it would be fun to be a landscape architect. I know that many landscape architects pursue bachelor degrees in horticulture.

They take courses in soil analysis and plant design. They also design irrigation systems that create beautiful waterfalls. A landscape architect education is very marketable.

A typical landscape architect is $65,000 to $75,000 or more. A landscape architect license is required to work as a landscape architect. Landscape designers, however do not require a license and can design landscape projects for a lot less money.

subway11
Post 2

BrickBack-I wanted to add that when you find a landscape architect, you can always have him or her create the design and see if aspects of the design you can do yourself.

This will save a lot of money especially if the project involves plant placement and mulch. If the project is more advanced you can hire contractors on your own or work with the landscape architects team.

You can also hire a landscape architect from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

BrickBack
Post 1

A great way to find a good landscape architect is to seek a referral from a local nursery. The nurseries usually have good relationships with local landscape architects.

In addition, you can ask for referrals from friends if you like their landscaping. It is always a good idea to interview the landscape architect and view his or her portfolio.

Looking at samples of their work is critical in determining if you found the right landscape architect. Some specialize in different areas like irrigation systems or tropical designs.

It is also important to get a timetable from the residential landscape architect and ask about the use of subcontractors.

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