Bachelor of Landscape Architecture???

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Mr.Coleman, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. I was wondering how many of you guys have this degree, or one similar to it. Would you recommend it to someone just starting college? I am currently in "general studies" (undecided major) at Texas A&M. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    my brother is in his first year of it now and he hasnt gotten into most of his major classes yet he enjoys it...he goes 3 days a week and is here the rest....from what he has learned about the program he stands to learn a lot and i think it will really help our business out
  3. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,641

    my mother got that degree back in the day... its great if you want to go into city planning and such, you'll also need to work for an architecture firm later to get certified. it'd also be good to get a minor in hort or something similar because most LAs don't know their plants that well, my mom growing up on a nursery already had that.
  4. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    It depends on what you plan to do with. Its good for commercial mostly, anything other than that... well you have an issue, most residential customers not all will not see the value and will not want to pay you 75 -150 books an hour just for the design of their landscape. Personally I think being a certified designers is just as good with less formal trainer.
  5. LTL

    LTL LawnSite Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 98

    If you are actually wanting to get your hands dirty Landscape Contracting might be for you.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,779

    I have the degree. There is some truth to everything written by each above. It really depends what you bring into it and where you go with it.

    There are a lot of extremely successful residential only landscape architects. They did not get that way from taking just the standard curriculum, working two years as an intern, and opening a design/build the next day. If you get a BLA to do residential work, it won't turn you into an instant success.

    Has any one ever asked any of you if you were a landscape architect? Few people know what it means, so having the title is limited in what it will do for you. The education and the experience you can add to that can give you tools that will make you a better site planner and landscape designer than you may have been without it.

    People will hire a designer to reduce uncertainty in the outcome of their landscape project. That means different things to different clients. Whomever gives them that, no matter of degree or certification, is who they will hire.

    What follows is "who do you want to work for?". When you figure that out, you have to try to figure out what training and experience is going to give you an edge in getting that client to find you and hire you over all the other people that are out there.

    This is a diverse industry and there are successful people with all types of education and experience. All of them are good. It is just a matter of what you want to do, where you want to do it, and finding the best way to make that happen.

    That can mean school, or equipment operating, or hard labor, or managing people, or any combination of that or something else. In every case, it is your skill set, how you present yourself, how you back up your abilities, how well you are known, and to whom it is that you are known that will make you successful or not. A degree won't guaranty anything.

    I am very happy that I did it (degree in my mid 30's). I had plenty of other experience in the industry beforehand and gained some very different experience afterward. You do have to be prepared to have a very full school schedule after the first year. Then you have to be prepared to work several years for other people to fully take advantage of the degree.

    If the idea is to get the degree and open up a full service design/build landscape company within a couple of years of your degree, I would suggest a different degree for that - a business major with an ornamental horticulture minor.

    If the idea is to be a landscape architect, first find out exactly what that is and then get the degree and work for the type of firm that most closely does what you want to do. Then work for them for several years. It is a broad skill set that you'll need to be successful at it on your own. It won't happen over night. But, it will be worth it - if that is what you want to do.
  7. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    Very well said AGLA.
  8. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    As usual, agla's totally on point. To go along with what he said- I'm only occasionally asked if I'm an architect, and that's typically when I'm pitching myself for a deck or screen porch addition. I don't know how much structure is taught in an LA program (perhaps agla can advise?), but that's an area where I'm looking for more education.

    It all depends where you want to go with your degree. Personally, if I had it to do over again, I would've gotten a degree in either architecture or landscape architecture, but I spend all day drawing for other people and that's what I want to do.

    What is it that's making you consider a BLA?

    Best of luck to you, in whatever you pursue.
  9. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,350

    I just graduated from Texas A&M. There are two routes you can go. First is Landscape Arch with the Arch dept, and it's a minimum of a 5 year degree, they won't let you complete it in 4 years.

    It doesn't do anything with contracting, just design work.

    You could get into the Horticulture department and do landscape design major and you can do that in 4 years.

    call sharon duray in the horticulture advising office, her number is 979.862.3116. tell her john wingfield sent you, pm me with any questions. im extremely familiar with both options at tamu.

    wingfield '07 whoop
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    IMHO, a BLA degree should include a health dose of related fields, hort, soils science, plant biology, hydrology. This will help you see the big picture instead of being one of "those" architects that can't design their way out of a paper bag.

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