Deck design incorporates the principles of landscape architecture, including scope of project plan, project design, preparation of drawings, material selection, structural components and legal considerations. While there are many do-it-yourself books and learning opportunities offered by home improvement stores, landscape architecture certificate and bachelor's degree programs offer more sophisticated knowledge. Certificate and bachelor's degree programs generally take 1-5 years to complete and an internship may be required.
Applicants to these programs will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to have completed high school courses in writing, foreign languages, and advance math. Some programs offer competency testing to ensure program suitability. In many states, landscape architects must be licensed, and a bachelor's degree may qualify graduates to apply for licensing.
Certificate Programs in Landscape Architecture
Certificate programs in landscape architecture give students basic technical skills in landscape design, including materials selection, site design and preparation, computer design techniques and architectural code issues. Students concentrating on deck design learn to integrate the architecture of the deck into a comprehensive landscape plan.
Certificate programs aim to hone technical abilities, verbal and written skills, problem-solving skills, and ethical sensibilities. Electives allow students to focus on a particular interest. Those interested in deck design may choose the following courses:
- Landscape graphics and design
- Landscape engineering
- Architectural drafting
- Landscape construction
- Field surveying
- Architectural CAD
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Landscape Architecture
Bachelor's degree programs in landscape architecture take the concepts of architecture - form and space - and apply them to environmental planning and design of managed land and water areas. Programs typically last four to five years and electives, graduating projects and internships prepare students for a wide variety of employment options. The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects evaluates and provides accreditation to bachelor's degree programs.
These programs commonly begin with core courses in landscape architecture and offer electives later in the program. Students specializing in deck design can use internships, summer jobs and creative project opportunities to gain the work experience valued by prospective employers. Core courses include:
- Landscape design and management
- Algebra and trigonometry
- CAD for designers
- Site construction
- Site engineering
- Graphic communication
Popular Career Options
Upon successful program completion, students are poised to use their knowledge of landscape architecture, including deck design, to obtain entry-level employment in several areas. Jobs may be found in:
- Private deck design/construction firms
- Golf course design
- Real estate development
- City planning departments
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the demand for landscape architects was expected to increase 4% between 2018 and 2028, which was average growth (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that the mean yearly salary for landscape architects in 2018 was $73,160. Job opportunities were greatest for graduates with advanced technical skills and relevant work experience obtained through educational opportunities such as internships.
Most states require landscape architects to be licensed. The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards administers the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), a comprehensive five-section exam. Several states require landscape architects to pass a supplemental exam in addition to the LARE. Examination eligibility is based on education from an accredited institution combined with relevant work experience.
Students can qualify for a career as a landscape architect, among others, after 1-5 years of education in a certificate or bachelor's degree program, where deck design is a part of the curriculum. In addition to formal education, students will need to obtain state licensure by passing the LARE.