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Career Definition for Landscape Artists
Landscape artists use plant arrangements to complement business and residential structures or properties. Areas of specialization may include drought-tolerant, winter-hardy or native plants. Although legal specifications vary by state, landscape artists are typically prohibited from planning 'hardscapes,' such as driveways, parking lots, fences, patios, garden walls and other structural features. Projects may be limited to residential or smaller commercial venues that do not require these services.
|Education||No specific training required, experience in gardening and artistic ability helpful, coursework at community colleges can also be helpful|
|Required Skills||Strong listening skills, art appreciation, basic math and computer skills, physical stamina|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$43,980 (supervisors of landscaping and grounds workers)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||6% (grounds maintenance)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No specific training or education is required to become a landscape artist. Artistic ability and years of gardening experience have allowed many aspiring landscape artists to launch new careers as consultants in garden centers or facilitated the opening of their own small businesses. Previous experience in landscape maintenance may also help with career transitions; coursework in arboriculture, horticulture or landscape design can be found through community colleges and online. Membership in a trade organization, such as the Association of Professional Designers, may also be helpful.
Future professionals should be aware in advance that the level of education necessary for landscape artists is markedly different from that of landscape architects, who must complete at least four years of college to attain that title. Landscape artists who work with pesticides will most likely need a state license.
A successful landscape artist must listen to his or her client and strike a compromise between the clients' desires and the realities of climate, soil condition and budget. Some training in art appreciation or a related topic will be helpful, as will basic math and computer skills and physical stamina. For landscape artists interested in running their own businesses, some training in business management can be useful.
Career and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 6%, or fast-as-average, growth in grounds maintenance jobs nationwide from 2014 to 2024. Landscape artists who supervised other workers or managed a landscaping service earned median wages of $43,980 in May 2015. Professionals employed as landscape architects during the same month received median yearly salaries of $63,810 (www.bls.gov).
Alternate Career Options
Similar career options include:
Agriculture and Food Scientists
Agriculture and food scientists, including plant and soil scientists, advise crop and food producers and devise ways to improve nursery, plant, shrub and tree yields. Minimum educational requirements include completion of a bachelor's degree program in a relevant subject; aspiring plant scientists may pursue programs in plant pathology and physiology, biochemistry and entomology (insect studies). The BLS reports that employment prospects for agricultural and food scientists nationwide are expected to increase by 5%, or as fast as average, between 2014 and 2024. Plant and soil scientists in particular earned median annual wages of $60,050 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Floral designers grow or order flowers and greenery and use them to create arrangements for businesses, individual customers and special occasions. Most candidates can qualify for a position with a high school diploma or its equivalent; optional certificate and diploma programs are available through community and vocational colleges or independent floral schools. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for floral designers nationwide are projected to decrease by 3% from 2014 to 2024, with designers working in florist shops experiencing a 11% decline and those in grocery stores seeing a 5% increase in opportunities. As of May 2015, floral designers were paid median annual wages of $25,010 (www.bls.gov).