Landscape architects design and plan outdoor areas for use and beauty.
Landscape architects usually begin their projects by meeting with clients. They discuss how the land will be used and how clients would like it to look. They also consider the client's budget. Landscape architects observe the physical makeup of the site including buildings and surrounding roads. They may use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to see a map of the land.
While preparing a design, landscape architects must consider local and federal rules that protect the land. They make design decisions to conserve water and energy. For example, some create designs that capture rainwater or grey water to use on plantings. They may consult with environmental scientists about ways to restore natural resources. They check the annual rainfall and seasonal temperatures to decide what plants to use. In addition, they may talk to engineers or architects about where to locate roads or buildings.
Most landscape architects use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to create and print their designs. Landscape architects meet often with clients to present drafts of the design and receive feedback. When the client is satisfied, the landscape architect prepares a final proposal. The proposal includes detailed plans of the site, written reports, models or photographs, and a cost estimate. Landscape architects submit this proposal to the client and government agencies.
When the plan is approved, landscape architects make working drawings that outline exactly how it will be built. They draw up a list of materials needed for the job. They may also supervise the planting and construction of the site.
Some landscape architects specialize in designing landscapes for:
- Private homes
- Waterfront projects
- Shopping centers
Most landscape architects work on private home. Some work for government agencies where they prepare site plans for public buildings, parks, or forests.