Landscape design is the art of creating attractive and functional outdoor spaces, from residential front and back yards, to commercial outdoor areas. Using elements like ornamental trees, pavestones, and water features, landscape designers put their extensive knowledge of horticulture, design concepts, and materials to use by designing, installing, and maintaining aesthetically pleasing landscapes that add real value to a property. Landscape design is a good fit for individuals who are creative, enjoy working outdoors, and have the ability to visualize what a finalized landscape will look like. While some colleges may offer landscape design degree programs online, it is more common to see academic programs in landscape architecture. Landscape architecture differs from landscape design in its emphasis on site analysis, design, construction, and presentation techniques rather than horticulture, according to the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, and involves designing outdoor spaces for parks, recreational facilities, airports, housing developments, and more. Such degrees are available at the following degree levels:
Online Associate Degree Programs for Landscape Design
An online degree program in landscape design at the associate degree level is typically a two-year program for students who attend full time. Such programs include general education courses such as written composition and college mathematics alongside major courses in landscape design elements, landscape drawing and drafting, landscape site planning, and computer-aided drafting in landscape architecture. Associate degree programs in landscape design are a great way for students to explore the field of landscape design without committing to a four-year program, while laying a solid foundation for transition into a bachelor’s program, if desired. Since a bachelor’s or master’s degree is usually necessary for entry into landscape architecture careers, students interested in this career path would be wise to continue their education in the field before seeking employment.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Landscape Design
Online bachelor degree programs are more common in landscape architecture than in landscape design. These programs include both general education requirements and major courses such as introduction to landscape design, materials selection in landscape design, botany, ecological systems, social factors in landscape design, digital modeling, sustainable landscape design, and professional practices in landscape architecture. The best online degree programs in landscape design will require or encourage an internship so that students can build hands-on skills in the industry. In addition, many programs will conclude with the submission of a professional portfolio, in which a student showcases his or her skills in landscape design or architecture.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Landscape Design
Online masters degree programs in landscape design generally take two years or more to complete, and are a good choice for experienced landscape architects who wish to update their skillsets and specialize in a particular area, such as ecological urbanism, environmental justice, or environmental planning. Master’s degrees in landscape architecture may also serve as a first professional degree for students transitioning into landscape design from other occupations. Accelerated online degree programs target students who have an undergraduate background in landscape architecture, while students with no design background will take longer to finish the program as they complete more fundamental courses at the start. Students may take courses in advanced landscape drawing, topographic form and design technology, and landscape structures and plants. Master’s programs in landscape architecture typically conclude with a master’s thesis or a professional project.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Landscape Design
While online college degree programs in landscape design are uncommon at the doctoral level, many traditional Ph.D programs are available. These programs are a good fit for students seeking academic careers in landscape design research and teaching at the college level. Doctoral programs in landscape design are highly specialized, offering students a selection of advanced courses in their concentration, which might include sustainable urban design, history and theory of landscape design, and social and cultural factors in landscape design. Course work will also emphasize qualitative and quantitative research methods and statistical analysis, which will be helpful in a student’s dissertation research. The program is complete after a student successfully researches, writes, and defends a dissertation, a lengthy document that details the student’s original, substantive research into a particular area of landscape design.
Online Degree Programs in Landscape Design in the Work Place
To become a landscape architect, an individual typically must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture, according to the BLS. In addition, a landscape architect must be licensed in the state in which he or she intends to practice. Employment growth of 16% is expected for landscape architects between 2010 and 2020, with job growth driven by new construction and redevelopment projects, as well as environmental concerns that require the expertise of a professional landscape architect, the BLS explains. Landscape architects reported a median yearly salary of $62,090 in May 2010. However, keep in mind that actual salaries can vary significantly depending on factors like a landscape designer’s experience, employer, or location.