Landscape designer

Landscape designer article illustration


A landscape designer is a skilled professional who combines artistic and technical expertise to create aesthetically pleasing and functional outdoor spaces. This role involves planning, designing, and implementing landscape projects that enhance the natural environment while meeting the needs and preferences of clients.

Landscape designers typically perform the following tasks:

  • Conduct thorough site analysis, assessing the topography, soil conditions, climate, and existing vegetation to inform the design process.
  • Collaborate with clients to understand their preferences, needs, and budget constraints, ensuring the design aligns with their vision.
  • Develop conceptual designs, incorporating elements such as hardscape features, plantings, water features, and outdoor furniture to create a cohesive and visually appealing plan.
  • Choose appropriate plant species based on site conditions, aesthetic goals, and maintenance requirements, considering factors such as color, texture, and seasonal interest.
  • Design hardscape elements such as patios, walkways, walls, and structures, considering functionality, aesthetics, and materials that complement the overall design.
  • Integrate sustainable and eco-friendly practices into landscape designs, such as water-efficient irrigation systems, native plantings, and environmentally conscious material choices.
  • Utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software or other design tools to create 3D models or visual representations of the landscape design for client presentations.
  • Develop detailed construction documents, including plans, specifications, and material lists, to guide contractors during the implementation phase.
  • Oversee the implementation of landscape projects, coordinating with contractors, suppliers, and other professionals to ensure the design is executed according to specifications.
  • Provide clients with maintenance guidelines and plans to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of the designed landscapes.
  • Stay updated on trends, technologies, and advancements in landscape design, attending conferences, workshops, and engaging with professional networks.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to landscape designer:

garden designer
landscaping architect
garden advisor
landscaping designer
landscape consultant
landscape advisor

Working conditions

Landscape designers work in various settings, including landscape architecture firms, design studios, and as independent consultants. The role may involve a combination of office work, site visits, and client meetings.

Minimum qualifications

To become a landscape designer, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture or a related field is typically required. Practical experience gained through internships, entry-level positions, or apprenticeships contributes to the development of landscape designers. Continuous learning, staying updated on design trends and horticultural practices, and engaging with the broader landscape design community enhance the effectiveness of landscape designers. Strong creativity, communication, and problem-solving skills are essential for translating client preferences into functional and visually appealing outdoor spaces.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Landscape designer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Landscape designer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to landscape designer.

curator of horticulture
landscape architect
countryside officer
agricultural policy officer
interior architect

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of landscape designer.

  • Landscape architectural instruments: The instruments, tools, symbols and terminology of landscape architectural drawing and specifications; the laws and codes about landscape architecture and design.
  • Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
  • Landscape architecture: The principles and practices used in the architecture and design of outdoor areas.
  • Surveying methods: Have an understanding of surveying methods, remote sensing methods and equipment.
  • Topography: Graphic representation of the surface features of a place or region on a map indicating their relative positions and elevations.
  • Pest control in plants: Types and features of pests in plants and crops. Different kinds of pest control methods and activities using conventional or biological methods take into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions, and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Ecology: The study of how organisms interact and their relation to the ambient environment.
  • Plant disease control: Types and features of diseases in plants and crops. Different kinds of control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Landscape analysis: The methods of analysis and computation used in the design of outdoor spaces.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of landscape designer.

  • Perform pest control: Carry out crop spraying pest and disease operations in line with National industry and customer requirements. Carry out slurry and fertiliser spreading in accordance with local environmental regulations.
  • Advise contractors: Advise contractors on the interpretation of plans and recommend changes when necessary.
  • Advise supervisors: Advise supervisor of problems, changes, or suggestions for more effective regulation practice or development activity.
  • Develop architectural plans: Draft a master plan for building sites and landscape plantings. Prepare detailed development plans and specifications in accordance with applicable laws. Analyse private development plans for their accuracy, appropriateness, and compliance with laws.
  • Perform weed control operations: Carry out crop spraying for weeds and plant disease operations in line with national industry and customer requirements.
  • Create new landscape designs: Use creative ideas to conceptualize landscape projects by making designs, drawings and sketches. These designs consist of parks, highways or walkways and try to create a public functional area.
  • Inspect project regulations: Inspect projects for regulation and specification compliance. Formulate recommendations to existing specifications and plans.
  • Perform studies and field investigation: Plan and perform studies and field investigations as required. Inspect landscapes using established techniques and procedures.
  • Make accurate drawings: Make accurate technical drawings to scale from sketches, drawings, and verbal instructions.
  • Manage landscape design projects: Make preparations for the development of parks, recreation areas and roadside landscaping. Prepare designs, drawings and specifications for such projects and estimate the costs.
  • Review construction plans authorisations: Review plans for conformance to codes and authorised approval for construction.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of landscape designer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Botany: The taxonomy or classification of plant life, phylogeny and evolution, anatomy and morphology, and physiology.
  • Building codes: The set of guidelines that determine the minimum standards for buildings and other constructions in order to protect public health and safety.
  • Plant species: The variety of plants, trees and shrubs and their special characteristics.
  • Green logistics: Know about green logistics, in which significant efforts are made to minimise the ecological impact of logistics activities.
  • Characteristics of plants: The varieties, characteristics and structural and functional features of plants, depending on their habitat.
  • Agronomy: The study of combining agriculture production and protection and regeneration of the natural environment. Includes the principles and methods of critical selection and adequate application methods for sustainability in agriculture.
  • Horticultural design: Design of horticultural areas taking into account factors, such as climate and microclimates, topography and orientation, site drainage and groundwater recharge, municipal and resource building codes, soils and irrigation, human and vehicular access and circulation, etc.
  • Landscaping materials: Field of information that distinguishes certain required materials, such as wood and wood chips, cement, pebbles and soil for landscaping purposes.
  • Horticulture principles: The standard horticultural practices, including but not limited to planting, pruning, corrective pruning, and fertilisation.
  • Forest ecology: The ecosystems existing in a forest, starting from bacteria to trees and soil types.
  • Rainwater management: The characteristics of water-sensitive urban design methods such as wet basins, dry basins, drainage and surface infiltration.
  • Principles of landscape construction: Principles and techniques to prepare ground or site for construction of wooden and brick terraces, fences and ground surfaces. This includes knowing how to measure and plan the site and lay stones and tiles.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of landscape designer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems that arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Keep task records: Organise and classify records of prepared reports and correspondence related to the performed work and progress records of tasks.
  • Manage rainwater: Implementing water-sensitive urban design elements such as wet basins, dry basins, drainage and surface infiltration.
  • Make decisions regarding landscaping: Resolve problems by making decisions regarding projects and installation tasks for landscaping sites.
  • Work independently in landscaping: Perform tasks in landscape management by taking decisions independently. Complete all aspects of landscape design projects without any outside assistance or help.
  • Conduct public presentations: Speak in public and interact with those present. Prepare notices, plans, charts, and other information to support the presentation.

ISCO group and title

2162 – Landscape architects

  1. Landscape designer – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Oleksandr P
Last updated on January 24, 2024