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Want to start landscaping

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ssroseberry, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. ssroseberry

    ssroseberry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I am fasinated about landscaping. I would love to get a degree in landscape architecture. However I am a fulltime firefighter (my first love) so this prevents me from the normal college classes. Does any one have any suggestions on how I should approach a second career in landscaping? Are there any books I should read and which would you recommend?
  2. landproscapes

    landproscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Do yourself a favor and get the manual for woody landscape plants by Michael Dirr. It is the bible of the plant world.
  3. landproscapes

    landproscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    choose what you want to do and stick with it. If you want to install for a living, In my opinion I would not get into mowing. Concentrate on one core element of landscaping and than find quality subcontractors (i.e. Irrigation, Hydroseeding, Excavators, etc.) Get your contractors license and act as a general contractor.
  4. landproscapes

    landproscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    as a second job you could spread yourself to thin trying to do to many things yourself. That does not mean you cant offer everything. As long as you will be onsite for some of the work the homeowner wont even know its not your people performing the work. (ie for example if your building a retaining wall
    call a excavating company to prepare the footers as this is one of the most time consuming parts. Bring yourself and some temporary help to set the blocks. Another example. Get the contract to install landscape for building contractor. Call your Bobcat man to prep the yard. Your People put in the plants, mulch, drainage. Sod Farms in our area will install sod (let them do it ) Make money off other peoples time.
  5. ShadyTree

    ShadyTree LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Im in my final year of landscape architecture at rutgers in New Jersey. Landproscapes is right, Dirrs book is a huge help. But thats not going to help you with designing spaces. and thats about 70% of architecture. maybe take a couple of design courses at a community college. stusdy your plants test yourself while you driveing. if you can identify trees at 50mph you can do it anywhere. Study color, contrast and other elements you caould incorporate. Your best bet is to just read like crazy. thats the only way you will learn with a full time job. Trust me im in my 4th year and i still have alot to learn about landscape architecture. Theres a huge difference between guys calling themselves designers and landscape architects, and personaly i think they know nothing and they are ruining the industry, sorry to get off on a tangent, good luck in everything and reas away...
  6. Ken Kesey

    Ken Kesey LawnSite Member
    from Here
    Messages: 114

    How To Start A Home-Based Landscaping Business by Owen E. Dell

    It's an older book but a pretty good one to start out on.

    You may want to frequent some nurseries to get more familiar with plants and trees. Some colleges offer night time classes as well.

    Get a license. This business has enough part time scrubs as it is.
  7. ssroseberry

    ssroseberry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks, I will buy the books and i am looking into local community college classes.
  8. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

  9. landproscapes

    landproscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Its up to you, but classes are a waste of money in my opinion. I dont think it would be possible to become a landscape architect working as a fireman which you said is your first love (maybe im wrong) I wouldnt understand what other reason to go back to school though unless your going to go all out and try to become a architect. We have guys here where i am from with a B.S. in Horticulture and they mow lawns for a living. Nothing wrong with that at all but last I checked I didnt need a degree to mow a lawn. If I had a degree I would make the same money except I would be in more debt to pay back my school loan and I would have 3-4 years less full time field experience. build your business while you dont have so much pressure, since you already make a living firefighting.
  10. PattiD

    PattiD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I have a landscape architecture degree and have been a landscape designer for about 15 years, working for landscape contractors. I don't regret my choice to get this degree, but a much quicker and practical route would be to find a local vo-tech program that offers "landscape technology" courses. We have one locally that is taught at night, is self-paced, and prepares students to sit for our state licensing exam after one year in the program. You should meet great people in such classes, many working by day, so you'll have lots of folks to grill (with questions, that is). I do know of two different firefighters that also have lawn maintenance companies. Good luck!

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