How to Become a Landscape Designer

Becoming a Landscape Designer can be completed through in a variety of ways.  Some landscape designers create concepts and plans for outdoor properties, and they may also work with contractors to install those plans.

Other landscape design jobs overlap with groundskeeper jobs. These jobs involve working outdoors, using a variety of tools to landscape, beautify, and maintain lawns and other outdoor spaces. About one-quarter of these jobs involve working on residential property. Most of the rest involve working for parks, city governments and schools. Jobs may be seasonal.

Requirements / Qualifications
$62,090
Bachelor's Degree
None
Internship/Residency
21,600
16%
3,500
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements for becoming a landscape designer vary from state to state, so you should check with your own state to find out exactly what you need to do. Some, but not all, states or cities require you to have a permit to do landscape work.

You need excellent artistic skills. You should have an appreciation for the outdoors and for the way that well-landscaped spaces improve people’s lives. You should have knowledge of or be eager to learn about different kinds of plants. Unless you are only working on plans in an office, you should have enough physical stamina and coordination to work with power tools and to be outdoors in all kinds of weather.

Typical Education

There is no formal educational requirement to become a landscape designer, and designers can learn on the job, but taking courses in landscape design and horticulture is very helpful.

These courses may be offered under various names, including landscape management, landscape horticulture, or landscape contracting. You can take individual courses or work toward a certificate or a 2-year or 4-year college degree.

Certification

Certification is optional but may increase your professional opportunities. Certification is granted by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Candidates are evaluated based on three landscaping projects they have completed. After you’ve received a certificate, you’ll need to take continuing education courses to maintain it.

Steps to Becoming a Landscape Designer

1. Check with your state or city’s Permits Board to see if there any requirements you must fulfill before you can begin landscape work in your area.

2. Take courses or find an entry-level job where you can learn the basic skills of the trade.

3. After you have at least two years of experience, consider getting certified as a Professional Landscape Designer.

Similar Jobs

A landscape architect performs many of the same functions as a landscape designer and will earn a higher salary and may have more job opportunities. Becoming a landscape architect, however, requires more education. Landscape architects usually must complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. They must also obtain a state license.

Jobs that involve working with plants and/or design that don’t require college degrees include floral arranger, groundskeeper, forest and conservation worker, craftsperson, and fine artist.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscaping and groundskeeping workers have a median salary of $23,570 per year, which is $11.33 per hour. That job classification includes both workers who do design work and those who do maintenance work. Designers with training and experience are likely to earn more than workers who do only maintenance

There is a wide range of salaries, perhaps depending on how the job is defined. Glassdoor, for example, found that the average salary for a landscape designer is $49,750.

Salaries also vary depending on where you work. The average salaries for landscaping and groundskeeping workers are highest in the District of Columbia, followed by Massachusetts, Alaska, Connecticut and Washington.

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