Landscaping Engineer: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for landscape engineers. Get the facts about degree requirements, licensure, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Landscape Engineer?

Landscape engineers are also known as landscape architects. Landscape engineers are responsible for developing design plans for outdoor spaces. They may design public parks, outdoor areas at businesses or schools, or design private gardens for residences. Landscape engineers need to be aware of land use and environmental regulations when developing their plans. They also need to account for things like drainage. During the process of development, landscape engineering will meet with clients to determine their needs and preferences. They will then consider the budget available and develop proposals for the space that will accommodate the desires of their client while adhering to regulations. As part of this process they will also visit the site to determine if there are any existing structures or land features that may need to be accommodated in their proposal. Once the project is approved and work has begun landscape engineers will visit the site to make sure that it is following the design plan.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Landscape architecture
Key Responsibilities Consult with clients about their landscaping project, create design proposals, estimate costs
Licensure All states require licensure, except Illinois, Maine, Illinois, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%*
Average Salary (2015) $68,600*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Landscape Engineering Degrees Are Available?

At the undergraduate level, you'd likely want to look for a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture. You'll probably come across a number of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree programs; these are professional programs that prepare you for licensure as a landscape architect. This degree is commonly offered in 4- and 5-year formats. You'll take courses on plant biology, along with studio-based courses where you learn drawing techniques to create landscaping plans, build models to illustrate your landscaping plans and ultimately, design your own park. Other courses include history of landscape architecture and the technical aspects of building a park or designed space.

Master of Landscape Architecture degrees are typically available in 2- and 3-year racks. The 2-year degree is intended for individuals who have already earned an undergraduate professional degree in landscape architecture. By contrast, the 3-year track serves as a first professional program and is meant for those who have a bachelor's degree in another subject. Master's degree programs often have elective courses in such specialty areas as environmental design, design research and urban forest maintenance. A thesis project or comprehensive exam will also be required.

What Might My Duties Be?

A landscape engineer or landscape architect is responsible for the development of parks and plantings around public facilities, like hospitals, schools and commercial or residential developments, according to the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET (http://online.onetcenter.org). Landscape architects create site plans and inspect the landscaping work in order to ensure that it meets clients' goals. As a landscape architect, you would research site characteristics, like drainage needs and environmental concerns, and incorporate that information into your project design.

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that in 2014, there were 22,500 individuals employed as landscape architects (www.bls.gov). The nationwide average yearly salary for this profession was $68,600, reports the BLS. Your location, however, can affect your salary. For example, landscape architects in California earned an average annual salary of $77,540 in 2015, while the highest paying state was the District of Columbia at an average yearly income of $95,570, according to the BLS.

Is Licensure Required?

The BLS states that landscape architects must be licensed in nearly every state. That licensure comes after completion of the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam (LARE), which is administered by the Council of Landscape Architecture Registry Boards (CLARB). To qualify for the exam, you'll need 1-4 years of work experience and a degree in landscape architecture from a program accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, a division of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Architects and civil engineers have some aspects of their work that are similar to the work that landscape engineers do, and they may work closely with landscape engineers at times. Architects develop plans for structures, such as houses, malls or factories. Civil engineers design roads, highways, dams, bridges and other structures that may be needed as part of community development. Like landscape architects, urban and regional planners and civil engineers need to be familiar with regulations and environmental factors that may affect the development projects. Civil engineers and architects need a bachelor's degree in their field, which is the same level of training needed by landscape engineers.

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