Landscape architecture involves the design of landmarks, outdoor spaces, and structures to make an environment beautiful to achieve specific social or environmental objectives. Landscape architecture involves the examination of current soil, ecological and social processes, conditions in a landscape. Landscape architecture involves site planning, residence landscape planning, green infrastructure planning, landscape design, planning of recreation centers and parks, managing stormwater, restoration of environments, management of visual resources etc. Professionals in the field of landscape architecture are called landscape architects.
Landscape architecture incorporates various fields. It involves fine art, ecology, soil science, architecture, botany, geography, industrial design, civil engineering, horticulture etc. Landscape architects design public infrastructure, design residential areas, design parkways and parks, design forest reserves, manage conservation areas, reclaim landscapes, design car parks for corporate and public buildings remove toxins from rainwater, secure public and private buildings, reclaim degraded areas like wetlands and mines among other functions. They focus on the landscapes of various external spaces and structures. They work with various materials and can work on small designs, rural designs, soft and hard materials etc. with a lot of focus on green effects and environmental impact.
Landscape architects are creative people that conceptualize designs and ideas and bring them to life. From their designs, they come up with technical design drawings with accurate specifications and measurements. They also serve as consultants and they review proposals. They conduct environmental audits and assessments, and they also serve as witnesses on legal cases that involve outdoor spaces and landscapes.
Landscape architects work in various rural and urban environments with all kinds of structures, both private and public. Landscape architecture is focused on creating a balance between natural and manmade environments.
To become a landscape architect, one needs to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree, and/or Master’s degree in landscape architecture. They also need to get a license before they can practice in the United States. To get their license, they finish from a university, get some work experience, pass a tough exam and take a lot of further educational courses. Landscape architects take course work in the subjects like psychology, preservation of historical sites, planning, horticulture, site design, drainage etc.
Landscape architects are different from other landscape professionals and should not be confused with others. They are strictly designers and architects and not builders. This is the same way architects are different from structural engineers and builders. Or the way computer scientists are different from computer engineers. They work hand in hand with other professionals to bring landscape designs to life.
How landscape Architects Accomplish Projects in Landscape Architecture
Landscape architects is more complex than mere doodling or making sketches on paper. It is an intricate work that involves a lot of precision. They need to take various steps to bring designs to life and create large-scale landscape projects. The following are the steps that landscape architects take to bring a design to life.
- They learn more about a landscape: At the beginning of a project, a landscape architect must first know all they can about a project and the requirements of their client. They visit the proposed site, carry out analysis, ask relevant questions, check legal and building codes and research the history of a site.
- Conceptualization: In this phase, a landscape architect starts to come up with concepts for the project. They decide whether to create 3D models or use their drawings alone, they decide what green living concepts to implement and they look at what structures to add or remove. They also seek for public input, especially for public projects.
- Design: Here, designs are drawn, and computer models are built to show simulations of the project. First, some initial drawings are made to cover a project. After the client approves the drawings, special construction drawings are then made. These plans are well detailed and show how every aspect of the project will be constructed, the type of materials to be used and the exact position and specification of everything in the project down to the tiniest detail.
- Construction: Even though the landscape architect has done most of his/her work, they still need to visit the site and see how the construction is going. They ensure that deviations are not made, and they provide support where they can. They also help to solve problems that may arise. When the project is completed, they carry out a final inspection. They may even be retained to help with maintenance of the site. Some towns and cities have landscape architects in their payroll that help with management of parks, landscapes and other public spaces.
Landscape architects find employment in various places. They can be employed in public and private organizations. They work in landscape architectural, engineering and planning firms. They work with other private organizations in physical planning departments and companies that offer services related to land development and planning.
Within the public sector, landscape architects find employment opportunities within state, regional, federal and other regional agencies that handle land development, preservation and planning. Some popular agencies that employ landscape architects are the Veteran Administration, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Transportation, the Soil Conservation Bureau, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Forest Service.
Landscape architects also find a lot of employment in the academic field where they lecture the next generation of landscape architects and carry out academic research in colleges and universities. They also lecture in community colleges and continuing education programs. They are found in the department of art, architecture, estate management, urban and regional planning and other related fields.
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