View Full Version : College Major: Landscape Architecture
07-14-2002, 12:33 AM
I will be a senior in high school in the fall, I currently run a lawn service and would like to take it up a couple levels. So I am considering my college major to be in Landscape Architecture. What classes should I fucus on (horticulture, architecture, business.. etc.) and I would like to maybe hear from your experiences are like being a Landscape Architect...
From mowing to LA is a 180 degree turn. You will need to commit to it because most LA degrees take 5 years and many states require 2 or more years working full time under a licensed LA before you can sit for the exam. You will not be able to become an LA while working for yourself for those reasons.
You may want to get the degree and continue to expand your business without going for the license. These programs are not geared to being a landscape contractor, but mor of a big scale land planner. You'll get less plant design than road and parking lot design.
Figure on what you want to do then see if there is a degree program somewhere that matches up to it. ...maybe an ornamental horticulture degree or landscape contracting (UMass Stockbridge).
07-14-2002, 08:58 PM
get the horticulture degree, you'll be so much better off, more rounded, you still will be able to design.
07-14-2002, 09:43 PM
I am with AGLA here. Get a 2 year degree first in something like arboriculture, landscape contracting, or horticulture. That will teach you about plants. Then after you got your 2 year degree switch over to a BS or MS for Landscape architecture. With the 2 year degree you will be ahead of the other LA's because you will know about plants. There is a new local shopping center by me which is still going up, but whatever LA designed the plants is a MORON. They put in all monocultures which you would learn in a 2 year degree is a BIG no-no. They also planted either pin oaks or red maples right below major overhead lines. (don't remeber as I haven't looked in a while) They also placed turf in areas which should have either been mulched or planted. These areas are next to impossible to cut, and will look horrid when the maintenance is done right. That is from a horticulturalist point of view though.
Granted you gotta make your money, but you should be good to the customer. Creating a landscape with an extremely high maintenance cost is usually a no-no.
Another thing about expanding from mowing toward landscape architecture is that you move from point a to point z. What I mean is that it is far easier to get the LA license, experience, reputation, and contacts by rising up working for already successful LA's. You can then move latterally (point z to point z) to do your LA thing on your own.
This will be faster and easier for a client to buy than a lawn care guy that wants to do landscape architecture. You get LA work by what you are known to have done. A deep portfolio of good work done at other companies is more effective than a fleet of mowers with your name on it.
Making money as an LA is from working big commercial or very high end residential. It is not an add on sale to maintenance customers. That is why I say it is 180 from mowing.
If you want to continue to work for yourself and expand into design that will work well. As the other guys said, a hort degree will be much more applicable and business classes would be great too.
I am an LA that used to be a contractor. It was took longer, was more expensive, and required a much broader education and experience range than I ever thought it would. I would recommend it for someone that wants to do design only. If you want to be a contractor you should spend your time more wisely.
Good luck at whatever way you go. E-mail me if you want more info.
"It is not an add on sale to maintenance customers. "
AGLA- I agree with what you are saying, but I believe the above is not true. I have a degree in Landscape Design and have sold countless planting beds/re-do's to existing customers.
Design services are a good add on sale to mowing clients. Five years of school, two years of internship, $30k in student loans, and a couple grand taking an exam are too big an investment not to be charging top dollar that you will not get on a regular basis from mowing.
You did it right. Your investment was less, but you are getting a high rate of return from it. You are probably using a higher percent of what you learned in school on a regular basis.
If you went the LA route, which I am glad I did, you would have spent most of your time dealing with issues that you would not see again at the expense of more subjects relating directly to what you are doing now.
One is not better than the other, it is just that you need to know whether what you will learn is best applicable to what you want to do with it.
07-16-2002, 08:43 PM
Good landscape architects also know horticulture. Go for the horticulture info first and then decide whether or not to go for the additional degrees. Could you apprentice part time to a LA? As AGLA said, it depends on what you want to do.
07-18-2002, 07:11 PM
I'm pretty much in the same boat. Do you guys have any suggestions on schools to look at?
07-19-2002, 08:30 AM
NC State in Raleigh. They offer a 2 year horticulture degree, a four year program and a Landscape Architect degree. If you're a NC resident (have lived for 1 year or more anywhere in NC before applying for admisson), in-state tuition is really low.
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