Trying to figure out your calling can be a tricky thing. This is especially true if you are interested in landscape architecture, an interdisciplinary field with open-ended opportunities. If you are thinking about studying landscape architecture and you do not want your choice to be a reckless one, check out the following 10 steps that can give you a deeper understanding of the field, the qualities needed to study landscape architecture and the career prospects that await you:
Study Landscape Architecture
10. Notice the spaces around you This one might seem obvious, but if you want to spend your life designing spaces, you might as well start being more attentive to the way they are shaped. Observe how people use a certain place (be it a square or a street or anything else). Try to understand its dynamics and the materials used to create it. 9. Do you have what it takes? Designers surely come in all forms and shapes. But there are some qualities needed in order to succeed in the field. These include patience, heightened senses and attention to detail, the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, and a willingness to spend long hours drawing on a computer. If you do not have it in you now, it is important that you be willing to acquire it. Image via Shutterstock
8. Talk to professors
The easiest way to answer your doubts and questions is to visit the universities you plan to apply to and talk to the instructors. Go prepared with a set of questions. Be sure to talk to more than one teacher; each design instructor usually has his or her own school of thought, and this way you will avoid gaining one narrow image of the vast world of landscape architecture.
7. Attend a final-year presentation
If you can manage to be in the eye of the storm — where all the serious landscape architecture student business takes place — then you cannot possibly be more ready. Being present at a final-year student’s defense will give you all the answers about what is eventually expected from you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
6. Read the course descriptions carefully
The next university-related step would be to read the list of courses provided for landscape architecture students, as well as the course descriptions. Try to understand what each course requires and whether it is something you would be excited about. Don’t panic if there are some that sound less interesting. Trust me: No one ever falls in love with all his or her courses. (I still remember my Technical Drawing class: Yikes!)
5. Study the job market
Find out what awaits you in the real world before even starting your studies. Try to get in touch with graduates from the same major and see what they have been up to. If the country where you want to work does not have great opportunities for landscape architects, you should be aware of it and be prepared. Also see our feature article Do you have what it takes to stand out in the job-hunting market?
4. Talk to professionals
While final-year projects are a quite significant showcase, nothing gets you closer to how things are done in the real world than projects in the workplace. Meet with professionals working in the field. Have a look at their projects and interrogate them about the process. Take note, as well, of the physical implementation of the designs.
3. Read about the field
To have a grander view of landscape architecture, browse the internet and magazines for worldwide updates on the field. For information on the best places to hunt for inspiration, check out our article Top 10 Online Resources for Landscape Architecture.
2. Take drawing classes
Knowing how to draw before starting to pursue your degree is not a requirement. Nevertheless, having an urge to draw is a major quality needed in a landscape architect. So test yourself with drawing and see if you enjoy it. Some architectural departments offer summer drawing classes for those who are about to start a design major. Maybe the university you apply for does, too! Check out our book review on Freehand Drawing & Discovery by James Richards
1. Make sure you have the right motivation
Individuals choose their majors for all sorts of reasons. Make sure that yours is not that “it’s cheaper than the other degree I wanted to pursue” or “the campus is located in a really cool area”. My brother once said (and he was so right) that when you are about to choose a major, ask yourself “what is something that I would be delighted to do even if I wasn’t getting paid for it?” If landscape architecture is a positive answer for that, then you are in the right place. To all of you potential landscape architecture students, I truly hope that this article brought you the answers you came here seeking. Still looking for more motivation? Have a look at our article 10 Great Reasons to be a Landscape Architect. If all that doesn’t help you make up your mind, maybe you should watch this video: Article written by Dalia Zein