Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Get Started As a Landscape Architect

Landscaping is an exciting albeit very involving trade. Landscaping architects design beautiful landscapes and work closely with contractors to bring these designs to life. If you are aspiring to become a landscape architect, here are five things you need to consider.

Education

Every trade requires a theoretical foundation to ensure success. Remember being a landscape architect is very different from being a landscaper. The architect designs the landscaping from scratch while a landscaper is more of a handyman who fixes up landscaping aspects. Also, landscape architects deal with far more complex landscaping projects than landscapers. For instance, an architect will design the landscape for a whole business park while a landscaper may be tasked with maintaining a part of or the whole area once it is complete. Diploma and degree programs offer theoretical knowledge in design, measurements, quantifying and so on.

Skills

Whether in formal education or through apprenticeships, there are certain skills you must acquire in order to succeed as a landscape architect. Top of those skills is the ability to measure, quantify and work with your hands. It is true that many landscape architects do not do the actual contracting work themselves but it is also true that you have to be able to build what you design, even if on a minimized level. Learning how to adequately project the requirements of your design will also ensure your designs are realistic and practical.

Associations

Joining associations or getting certification is not necessary but can be of great benefit especially in getting exposure in the industry. Many big contracts require certification and/or licensing (where it applies) so you may have to consider getting these. Another advantage of getting involved in associations is that you are able to keep up with legislation governing your profession. If you work independently, it is difficult to stay abreast of all the different things happening in the industry.

Interpersonal skills

After you have formalized your skills and gotten your education, learning interpersonal skills will be the difference between success and failure for your career. Whether you work for yourself or for an employer, you will need to do a lot of discussing concerning your projects and designs. This can be a difficult thing especially when you get criticism for your designs. Unless you can keep a level head and be open to changes you may not fare very well in this trade. Consider you have spent hours to prepare a design and the first thing a client/ employer says is they don’t like it. Learn how to work with people, take criticism positively and not take things personally.

Business skills

Finally, you may ultimately have to launch out on your own and here you will need some business skills. Most small businesses fail not because they do not get business or there are no profits but because of mismanaging the business. Whether book keeping or marketing or customer care, running a business requires serious business skills and working as a landscape architect is no different. A simple course in basic business skills may suffice at first but as your business grows you may need to hire professionals to do the technical business stuff.

Landscape architecture, just like any other profession, requires passion, dedication and perseverance. It is not a get rich quick scheme and neither is it a no-skills-required profession. You must dig in and be prepared to go the extra mile in order to succeed.

Scott Ryan thinks of himself as a lanscaping artist while tending his patch of green. Whether he is better at that or at writing for Polished Concretex we cannot tell.

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