“In common practice [the landscape architect] fills in the gaps between the work of the architect, the engineer, and nature.”
—Garret Eckbo, Creative Design for the Landscape
What is landscape architecture, and is it right for me?
Landscape architecture is concerned with designing the built environment. Projects range in scale from the residential to the regional and include the design and planning of communities and their regions; parkways and transit systems; subdivisions, urban malls, and plazas; institutional campuses; municipal, state, and national parks; waterfront developments; individual residencies; and more. Landscape architects also design and plan for the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands and deforested land, or sites affected by natural disasters.
The profession is interdisciplinary, and practitioners must be knowledgeable on numerous subjects including design principles, natural systems, plant materials, construction techniques and materials, graphic arts, computer applications, and ecology. Landscape architects work with urban planners, civil engineers, architects, construction managers, geoscientists, environmental scientists, hydrologists, surveyors, and others. In a sense the profession represents an intersection of other fields, requiring mediating the aesthetic, physical, legal, ethical, functional, and ecological challenges of site development.
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, a landscape architect needs:
- Sensitivity to landscape quality
- Understanding of the arts and a humanistic approach to design
- Ability to analyze problems in terms of design and physical form
- Technical competence to translate a design into a built work
- Skills in all aspects of professional practice including management and professional ethics
Landscape architects are employed in private, public, and academic organizations. They spend much of their time in offices or at job sites, creating plans and designs, preparing models and cost estimates, doing research, and attending meetings with clients and workers involved in designing or planning a project. Employment in landscape architecture is projected to grow 14 percent by 2022. The median annual wage for landscape architects in May 2012 was $64,180. The average salary for entry-level landscape architects was $41,500 in 2007.
A Few Landscape Architecture Project Types
- School and college campuses
- Corporate and commercial grounds
- Public gardens and arboreta
- Historic preservation and restoration
- Hotels, resorts, golf courses
- Hospital and other facility sites
- Interior landscapes
- Land planning
- Landscape art and earth sculpture
- Monument grounds
- Parks and recreation
- Land reclamation and rehabilitation
- Residential sites
- Security design
- Streetscapes and public spaces
- Therapeutic gardens
- Transportation corridors and facilities
- Urban and suburban design
- Water resources
Visit the alumni section of this website to see where Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture graduates are working and to view their work.
Visit ASLA’s Career Discovery website to learn more about the profession and discover your path to landscape architecture.