Landscape Design

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Landscape Design?

Landscape Design is the assessment, planning, and design of outdoor spaces to create functional but beautiful spaces for outdoor living and recreation.

Landscape Designers work on a variety of projects outdoors from private or public gardens and parks to playgrounds to children; transforming outdoor areas into urban or rural spaces.

Landscape Design takes into account the climate, topography, and even the views to enhance what already exists in the area with other plants and features. Landscape Designer needs to have a good understanding of plants and trees so that they can predict how these will grow and ensure that they will still fit into space in years to come.

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Landscape Architecture – the study of outdoor environment design and the practice of design outdoor areas that complement buildings, roads, and other structures.
  • Gardening and Landscape Design – the study of horticulture, landscape design, garden maintenance, and plant propagation.
  • Landscaping – the study of the modification of an area of land through living elements, plant selection, cultivation, and horticulture.
  • Horticulture – the study of the science of plants, their development, production, and uses.

Studying Landscape Design in college

Landscape Design courses aim to provide a practical educational experience with up-to-date knowledge of techniques and practices in the Landscape Design industry and have been developed in collaboration with leading industry experts. Landscape Design courses require a lot of hands-on time with project work and design projects and you can expect fieldwork and field trips.

You will be trained in landscape design and horticulture and be able to provide professional plans from conceptual designs through planting plans and construction drawings.

You will be encouraged to develop your creative skills and apply knowledge taught through lectures, seminars, reviews, and readings. Group project work may also form a part of your course depending on the course you choose and you may even have drawing classes.

Work experience working alongside professionals of the industry may be recommended or required. This will ensure you can confidently use the skills you learn in real-world scenarios.

Assignments relevant to your area of study will take place through the course along with reviews and reports as you progress. End-of-trimester written exams and portfolio reviews are also common.

Career options

Trained professionals who can demonstrate the right skills and knowledge should be able to pursue many exciting and respected career options within the Landscaping and Gardening industries.

Landscape Designers are involved with all aspects of the design process from creating plans, designs, and drawings to surveying sites and monitoring the progress. They will also work closely with clients to discuss requirements and present proposals and know how to produce contracts and cost estimations.

Landscape Designers enjoy a dynamic and varied career with something different to do every day. They can have days where they spend all day outside or they can have days where they are inside planning and working out details with suppliers. Travel is also very common for the industry and Landscapers, Gardeners, and Landscape Designers can work all over the world because the skills they have are transferable to any location.

Landscape Designers can work in several industries with a wide choice of career paths to follow, they can work as freelancers and start their businesses or work for Government and NGOs and private or public parks and gardens.

Related jobs include:

  • Landscape Designer
  • Landscape Estimator
  • Landscape Architects
  • Private or Public Garden Designers
  • Horticulturists
  • Arborist
  • Botanist
  • Irrigation Specialist
  • Nursery or Greenhouse Professional
  • Landscape Project Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Tourism

Further study

You may need to study further and look at additional courses to expand your area of expertise in fields related to Landscape Design such as Environmental and Ecological Policy- Making, Conservation and Resource Management, or even Planning or Urban Design. Agricultural Sciences and advanced Horticulture can also be beneficial for your career path.


Is there a need for qualified landscape designers?

Landscape Designers are very much in demand with new developments, buildings, and structures going up all the time. Landscape Designers work closely with their clients to provide the optimum design for space, requirements, and budget. The poor design offered by those without design training will often end up costing the client more money in the long run so it pays to use a trained professional.

Landscape designers can provide professional plans and also, supervise the landscaping works which many construction companies appreciate.

Are there any particular qualities you need to study Landscape Design?

Knowledge of plants and flora and the willingness to learn more about them is critical as your career will almost entirely be dependent on this. What various plants and flowers are called, their generic and scientific names, what soil they grow best in, and any other special characteristics, etc. – the more you know the better a Landscape Designer you will be and the more seriously you will be taken.

You must have good communication and listening skills, you need to be able to design according to a client’s brief and provide for their wants and needs which may be attached to emotions and memories for them. You need to be empathetic to the client while also factoring in what is best for the garden and be able to communicate this clearly and kindly.

For any type of design job, you need to have a level of creativity and enjoyment of designing spaces and flexibility to adapt to different size areas in a variety of locations.

Where can I study Landscape Design?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • You can change the color of hydrangea by altering the pH level of the soil.
  • The earliest surviving detailed garden planis Egyptian and dates from about 1400 BC.
  • Plants can drown if there’s no air in the soil
  • Nearly 1,000 jasmine flowers and a dozen roses go into a single bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume.


Mariza Halliday



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