A landscape designer creates functional areas, such as public gardens, parkways and golf courses, that are also beautiful and harmonious with nature. She typically embellishes the landscape plan with structures, ornaments, walkways and other trimmings. She may work on residential or commercial projects or apply her talents to both types of jobs. Private construction firms and government agencies typically employ landscape designers. A considerable number of people in this professional are self-employed.
Before the designer prepares sketches or develops a proposal for a client, she typically investigates the property on her own to determine factors that will impact her design suggestions. The factors she is generally concerned with are the type of soil in the area as well as what existing plants and trees should remain and which need to be removed. Her analysis also normally includes how much sunlight the parcel receives year round and if artificial lighting is appropriate. If there are surroundings structures, she often notes the architectural style of the buildings to make sure her concepts do not disrupt the flow of the overall visual perception of the area.
After her study of the land is complete, the landscape designer commonly creates a roughly-sketched draft of her vision based on the wants and needs expressed by the client. The preliminary drawing is normally accompanied by specifications regarding the geographic size and layout of the land to be developed. These provisions typically include the rises and valleys of the parcel along with existing paths, roads, overhead and underground utility systems or other existing physical components.
Along with the proposed design, a landscape designer usually provides a detailed budget of project costs. The financial plan often includes options that can be added or deleted without significant impacts on the aesthetic outcome of the venture. A timeline of the project is frequently provided to the client along with the budget.
Once the details of the project are finalized, the designer customarily proceeds to purchase the required materials and assembles a staff to assist her. The staff normally includes junior landscape designers, landscape architects and grounds workers to perform excavation and plant and tree removal tasks. A landscape designer generally visits the project site on a daily basis and regularly reports its progress to the client.
Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in landscape design, landscape architecture, horticulture or a related field for landscape designer job applicants. Some may accept less education if the candidate has experience as a junior level landscape designer or as a professional landscaper. Being able to produce creative visual concepts is a plus for aspiring landscape designers.