Landscape designers help customers create plans for their exterior properties, estimate the costs and oversee the construction processes. In contrast, landscape architects design properties for parks, colleges and residential areas. Some relevant college programs allow for specializations in landscape and turf management, agricultural management or floral design. Related programs, such as those in horticulture or horticulture technology, are also available. In Virginia, landscape design education can be found through undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs.
George Washington University
George Washington University's main campus is located in Washington, D.C., but the university also has a campus in Arlington, Virginia. At the Virginia campus, students can pursue a graduate certificate or master's degree in landscape design while learning how to apply landscape and garden design principles and developing horticulture skills. Courses include topics in design and engineering, landscape design history, landscape graphics and planting design. Credits from the graduate certificate program can be applied toward the Master of Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech in Alexandria.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond offers an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology program with specializations in landscape and turf management or landscape design, among other areas. Students who focus on landscape and turf management take courses in arboriculture, home landscaping, irrigation systems and the use of commercial pesticides. Training topics found in the landscape design curriculum include computer-aided drafting design (CADD), garden design history, planting design and a study of perennial plants. Through the Horticulture Club, students can also have the chance to interact with horticulture professionals and fellow classmates while developing their professional skills.
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College is located 14 miles south of Washington, D.C., in Annandale, Virginia. At the college, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology with a specialization in landscape design. This 2-year program includes topics in garden design history, the use of herbaceous plants, planting design and site analysis. Aspiring landscape designers also learn how to use computer-aided design (CAD) software. By completing an internship or special studio design project, students also have the chance to gain some hands-on career experience.
Tidewater Community College
Chesapeake's Tidewater Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Career Studies Certificate in Landscape Design. Through the programs, students become familiar with the guiding principles of landscape design and management while learning about the horticulture business. They also study the different types of plants used in landscaping and take courses in arboriculture, horticultural theory and planting design. Additional program features include a horticulture club.
University of Virginia - Main Campus
The School of Architecture at the University of Virginia's main campus in Charlottesville offers an undergraduate minor in landscape architecture. Through this program, students are able to analyze contemporary issues as well as the future of environments both natural and manufactured, as formed by ecological processes and human intervention.
Virginia Highlands Community College
Through Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon, students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology or one of two certificates in horticulture. The career studies certificate programs include topics in introductory horticulture, greenhouse management, horticulture botany, floral design and woody plants. These same courses can also be found in the associate's degree program, where students learn about soils, herbaceous plants, plant propagation and food production. By joining the Horticulture Club, students can also have the opportunity to interact with industry professionals and their peers, as well as develop their design and leadership skills.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is located in Blacksburg. Through the School of Architecture and Design, students can pursue a minor in landscape architecture, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architecture and Design Research with a focus on landscape architecture. The MLA and PhD programs are intended for students who already possess a professional degree in architecture or landscape architecture. Both graduate programs are accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, and the MLA was ranked the 2nd-best programs in the nation by DesignIntelligence in 2013. Individuals studying landscape architecture can study abroad in Germany, England, Japan, China or Australia. They can also intern with domestic landscape architecture firms.
At the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, students will also find an associate's degree program in agricultural technology with specializations in applied agricultural management or landscape and turf management. The latter option is designed to provide them with the training they need to pursue green careers in golf course or nursery management, horticulture production or landscape design, among other fields. Program emphasis is on landscape and turfgrass installation and maintenance, and the curriculum covers topics in drainage and irrigation, nutrient management and plant types. Additional program features include the chance to enter national competitions, acquire hands-on training on the college athletic fields and participate in an internship.
Landscape designers typically need an associate's or a bachelor's degree in landscape design. However, landscape architects usually have a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Unless they work for the federal government, landscape architects must hold state licensure, which they can earn by meeting certain education and experience requirements and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Landscape Design Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|George Washington University||4-year; private, not-for-profit; large city|| Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design,
Master's in Landscape Design
|J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology||$4,653 in-state; $10,491 out-of-state*|
|Northern Virginia Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology - Landscape Design Specialization||$5,138 in-state; $11,055 out-of-state*|
|Tidewater Community College||2-year; public; midsize city|| Career Studies Certificate in Landscape Design,
Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture
|$5,171 in-state; $11,009 out-of-state*|
|University of Virginia - Main Campus||4-year; public; small city||Minor in Landscape Architecture||$15,192 in-state; $44,365 out-of-state*|
|Virginia Highlands Community College||2-year; public; small suburb|| Career Studies Certificate in Horticulture,
Career Studies Certificate in Horticulture: Floral Design and Indoor Plant Care,
Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture Technology
|$4,365 in-state; $10,203 out-of-state*|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||4-year; public; small city|| Minor in Landscape Architecture,
Associate of Agriculture with an option in Landscape & Turf Management,
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture,
Master of Landscape Architecture,
Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture and Design Research - Landscape Architecture
|$12,485 in-state; $29,129 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.