Thinking of becoming a landscape designer

ezzirah011(7a)April 21, 2010


I have been thinking of going to school to become a landscape designer, landscape architect and I was wondering what the job market looks like for that profession, and how do you charge costumers? What does a typical day look like for you?

Thank you!

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The job market is quite flooded and the opportunities are much less due to the reduction in development due to the down economy.
Every other laid off person with either some interest in gardening or art is thinking that they can do better as a landscape designer. Landscape Architecture schools have done a lot to recruit a much bigger student body over the last 10 years (mostly attracting environmental activists), and (more importantly) the amount of growth in landscaping over the last 15 years has created a large population of experienced professional designers (some educated, some self taught) that are more likely to get the small amount of work that is out there over anyone coming into the industry for the first time. That is reality.

That does not mean that you can't do it and be successful. It is only that it is a tough business on a good day and this is not a good day.

Talent and ability to design and knowledge of plants are a small part of doing this to make a living. They are the easy part.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 7:20AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Things are getting tight, and there is no reason to expect the good old days to come back. Research which fields are doing well or expected to do well, see if any of those might be possible for you.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 1:25PM
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I agree with both comments above. The medical field is always a good route.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 2:17PM
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A "typical" day depends in large part on what niche of the industry you fit into. I do primarily residential landscape design and project management, with the occasional homebuilder or commercial project every month or two. Today started at 5 am, I showered, ironed clothes, checked my email, and hit the road to make a breakfast networking meeting in another city at 730. Left there, measured three properties, picked up materials to drop off at a job site, and have so far had two sales calls. I just finished dinner at Panera, and I'm headed to my last sales call at 7 pm. During the season, I usually have three road days a week like this, and three days in the office. I don't think I'm naive, but I was surprised at how much of my time running a design firm is spent doing everything BUT designing.

But, what's the alternative? Get a B2B sales job? I love what I do.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 6:46PM
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Wow, lots to think about here. Good for you to want to pursue a great and busy way of life. If you do want to do this it is a great oppotunity to learn many things. I do know that having a good handle of plant material, hardscape material, client/people skills are so very important. I don't pretend to be an expert but do know that these are your main elements to getting and keeping a job. You develop a reputation based on this. One thing I would do is to work at a nursery for a couple of seasons. Be a sponge and learn what it takes to make plants retail ready. Alot of work goes into this. The plus is you will get hands on experience on the workings of this. You will come to appreciate the talent and fortatude of those that do this. You will may feel like a bumbling fool at times but these people from my experience are so forgiving.

Always listen to the client and guide them. Most people don't want to have to take care of the plants, they think they will grow on thier own. So it may become mundane planting the same thing all the time because it really can take care of it self. Then there will be those people who really get into what they have and are willing to experiment a bit. Either way you will encounter so many interesting people.

If you have the opportunity to get a degree in this field I whole hartedly say go for it. You will be amazed at the talent yours and those you will encounter. I love it myself!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:30AM
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