We all like to live in comfortable environments that are beautiful, functional and natural. Landscape architects are in great demand today for incorporating natural elements into man-made environments. They plan the location of buildings, roads, walkways keeping in mind the natural bent of the landscape and thereby balance them with plants, flowers and shrubs.
If you’d like to be a landscape architect, you need a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. Most employers prefer an internship as well. However, many landscape architects are self-employed. However, for those who would like to work for other organizations, options are aplenty – real estate organisations to municipalities.
Many landscape architects are employed with organisations that provide landscape architectural engineering services. State and local governments also provide ample opportunities to landscape architects. However, the concentration of landscape architects is more in the urban and suburban areas. Some are employed by the Federal Government to plan and design recreation centres in the rural areas. To sum up, following are the vocations where most landscape architects are employed today:
- New developments (for an environmental friendliness)
- Designs for academic institutions (schools & colleges), hospitals and service industry (hotels) Parks, Golf-courses & Sports facilities
- Historic gardens regeneration
- Residential areas
- Commercial developments
- Industrial parks
- Highways & bridges
- Urban development and regeneration
- Dams & reservoirs
- Power stations
- Offshore projects
The best part is that landscape architects are involved right from the onset of the project. Hence they can generate environment friendly ideas and indicate creative use of space. Working closely with surveyors, engineers and architects they determine an environment compatible way of designing roads and buildings. Collaborating with environmental scientists, they gauge the best way to conserve and restore natural resources. On completion of these analyses, landscape architects lay out the details of a plan (consisting of buildings, roads, walkways and other landscaping details) keeping in mind the topography of the terrain.
While planning a site, landscape architects have to consider the nature of the project and the funds available. Nowadays they have access to modern technology, like the CAD (Computer Aided Designs) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems), to draw out their plans. Many of them even make use of video simulation to help clients visualise the finished design. On approval of the design, a cost estimate is submitted to the client. Once that is approved, they begin designing.
Landscape architects may choose to work on a variety of projects or opt to focus on a particular area of concern, like residential development, walkway, highway beautification, waterfront improvement and others. Recently, historic landscape preservation and restoration is a growing area of interest. Moreover, landscape architects may also choose to prepare environmental impact statements and throw to light serious environmental issues like public land-use planning, restoration of degraded lands (mines or landfills). Landscape architects may also play an important role on calming traffic by the use of environmentally sound and aesthetic traffic designs that help to enhance the physical environment.