13 Best Landscape Design Schools in the World

If you’ve ever been to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne or Central Park in New York City, you’ll appreciate how nature can beautify large spaces.

You may even be thrilled enough to want to attend one of the best landscape design schools, colleges, or universities in the world to become a landscape designer.

Landscape designers, together with landscape architects, form a large portion of the Landscape Design Industry.

They specialize in planning land, water, and other outdoor areas. The landscape industry in the USA is thriving because of its direct ties to the demand for construction and renovation of both residential and commercial buildings.

It is this way in many other countries of the world, especially in the Asian Continent. According to Land 8 blog, the demand for landscape architects is very high in India, Australia, Denmark, the UAE, and China. You will earn so much for practicing a profession you truly enjoy if you get work contracts in any of these countries.

But you would need a quality degree from a reputable university or college coupled with work experience to get these jobs. It is for this reason that we are presenting to you the best landscape design schools in the world. You will see why you need a landscape design degree from any of these schools as well as other vital career information in this article. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Landscape Design?

Landscape design is a profession and art tradition that combines nature and culture to transform large outdoor spaces into aesthetic sights. It is the bridge that connects landscape architecture (large scale landscape design) and garden design (small scale landscape design).

Thus, landscape design focuses on both landscape planning of a property and the specific garden design of landscape elements and the plants within it. In order words, landscape design incorporates aesthetics, horticulture, and environmental sustainability. To this effect, landscape designers utilize Hardscape design (e.g paved areas, driveway, wood, stone) and Softscape design (flowers, shrubs, trees).

Meanwhile, landscape designers must consider design factors such as the site’s special qualities; client’s preference; desirable plants and elements to retain on the site; and artistic composition to achieve beautiful work.

What Does a Landscape Designer Do?

Landscape designers are simply the professionals that make your outdoor spaces beautiful and functional with their knowledge of horticulture. These are the professionals to consult to plan and design the arrangement of your exterior landscape.

Typically, when you need the services of a landscape designer, you will consult one. This professional will then discuss your project with you. He will turn up at your site – be it the backyard of your home or exterior of your small office – take pictures, and ask your preference in plants, garden maintenance, etc.

From the outcome of the discussion, the landscape designer will draw a list of plants for you to select. He may even follow you to the nursery to help you make suggestions and shop for materials. If your landscape designer is only knowledgeable on Softscape, he will assist you in getting another landscaping contractor who will do the physical work like excavating an existing garden and building patios.

Landscape designers also supervise the project in progress and take their clients on tour upon completion of the project. This will help the client ascertain the quality of the job.

To help accomplish their task, landscape designers use tools such as computer-aided design and geographic information systems technology.

What is the Difference Between Landscape Designer and Landscape Architect?

When you go through many resources online, you’ll be alarmed to see how landscape architect substitutes landscape designers. You may even wonder if the two mean the same.

Well, in the task they do, landscape designers and landscape architects are similar. Both of them are professionals who utilize their knowledge and sense of aesthetics as well as expertise in landscaping to transform a drab-looking environment into one that is attractive and functional.

They are different in their designation, scope of work, and education, however. Before you call yourself a landscape architect, you must have completed a four-year landscape architecture degree and gained state licensure to practice. Landscape designers, on the other hand, can be self-taught, take a diploma or certification program, or bachelor’s based on preference, and do not require any form of licensure to wear his title about.

On the scope of work, licensed landscape architects take on bigger jobs. They plan and design public outdoor spaces like parks, campuses, cemeteries, etc. On the other hand, landscape designers mostly take on landscaping works at residential apartments.

Nonetheless, in big projects, you’ll most likely find landscape architects working beside landscape designers. This is because while the architect is very knowledgeable about the Hardscape component of the work, he may not be as knowledgeable as the landscape designer on the Softscape.

Where Do Landscape Designers Work?

Landscape Designers will find employment in a good number of employers and work environments. According to Prospects, landscape designers can work for:

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  • Local authorities
  • Plant nurseries
  • Garden centers
  • Publicly and privately-owned gardens
  • Commercial landscaping companies
  • Private landscape architectural practices and consultancies
  • Government advisory and heritage agencies.

In some cases, graduates of landscape design go on to start their own gardening, landscape design or landscape architecture business. With their expertise, knowledge, and reputation, some landscape professionals can become employed or self-employed consultants.

What do You Need to Become a Landscape Designer?

Because you are not planning to become a landscape architect, you need only a bachelor’s degree to kickstart your career. Some landscape designers are self-taught or hold a two-year associate’s degree, but most times these qualifications won’t land you a job.

So firstly, earn a bachelor’s degree in a university or college offering accredited landscape design programs. A degree in Landscape Architecture, Plant and soil Science, or Horticulture will do too. In a typical landscape designer bachelor’s degree program, you’ll take courses in plant biology, Plant propagation, Turfgrass culture, Horticultural pest management, Landscape Maintenance, and Landscape contracting business.

You should also learn How to Get A Horticulture Associate Degree Online? Schools, Programs, Cost to start your landscape design career.

Secondly, you have to complete an internship program while earning your bachelor’s. It is important to gain experience in the field to be able to get jobs upon graduation. So, take advantage of summer to get paid internship programs in the field.

Thirdly, Get a Job after your bachelor’s program. You need to reap the fruit of your period of education but you may not get a job if you don’t have strong computer skills, knowledge of plant and construction, and excellent communication skills. This is why you need to have completed a bachelor’s program with internship placement.

Lastly, you may need to get certified as a landscape designer, especially if you seek to be self-employed or work with a respectable company. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) offers certification to landscape designers but you’ll need to be a member in good standing, have a minimum of four years experience, and a portfolio of three installed projects.

Why Get a Landscape Design Degree?

It is very clear from the above that you need a landscape design degree. But because we want you to easily refer to the reasons why you need a degree in Landscape design, here are the key reasons why you need a landscape degree:

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  • Gain the relevant Knowlege you need to start up a career as a landscape designer
  • Get job experience at the early stage through internship programs that a degree program avails you
  • Get a job in reputable landscaping organizations and start earning
  • Qualify to gain Certification to open your own practice or work in a respectable company.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Landscape Design Degree?

With a landscape degree, you can become any of the following:

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  • Amenity horticulturist – design, construct, manage and maintain residential, recreational, and leisure areas such as botanical and public gardens and country parks. As a fresh graduate with a landscape design degree, you can earn £17,000 annually in the UK and $41,712 in the USA, according to Glassdoor.
  • Commercial horticulturist – specialize in field crops, protected growing, soft and top fruit, hardy nursery stock or cut flowers. They sometimes take managerial duties of horticultural enterprises. In the UK, fresh graduates go ahead to earn between £16,000 and £18,000 while in the US they earn $41,712.
  • Horticultural consultant – advise commercial enterprises and public sector organizations on matters relating to the development and maintenance of their crops, parklands and other public spaces. Graduates in this job earn around £18,000 to £21,000 in the UK and $40,775 in the USA according to Glassdoor.
  • Horticultural therapist – uses their knowledge of gardening, plants, and horticulture to assist individuals to develop personally and socially. The starting salary for this role in the UK is between £17,000 and £20,000 and $64,778 in the USA, according to Salary.com.
  • Landscape architect – plan, design and manage open spaces, including both natural and built environments while collaborating with other professionals. The starting salary in the UK is between £20,000 to £24,000 and $68,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What is the Job Outlook for Landscape Designers?

Remember that landscape design is s subtler form of Landscape architecture. Hence, data exists in a large amount for landscape architecture than for landscape design.

For example, in the USA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives salary and job outlook information for Landscape Architects and none for Landscape designers. This means that they broadly categorize landscape designers under landscape architects.

Also, remember that landscape designers perform the same duties that landscape architects perform, only on a smaller scale. So, it will be safe for us to apply BLS’s data for Landscape Architects here.

According to BLS, there were 23,500 jobs for Landscape Architects in 2018 and there will be a growth in this number by 4% from 2018 to 2028. This implies that there the demand for landscape architects will increase as fast as the normal demand average in the coming years.

What are the Best Schools in the World for Landscape Design?

The required degree to start a career as a landscape designer is a bachelor’s degree and you can get one in either horticulture, plant science, or landscape design.

As the case may be, the most available degree towards becoming a landscape designer is the landscape architecture degree. This is because the landscape architect degree provides you with the most comprehensive knowledge to become a landscape designer. So, our best schools for landscape design are schools offering bachelor’s degrees in landscape architecture.

Here are the best universities in the world to study landscape design:

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  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Greenwich
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • University of Florida
  • University of New South Wales
  • Cornell University
  • University of California
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of Connecticut
  • Purdue University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ranking Criteria

Our ranking criteria for the best landscape design includes the following:

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  • Accredited Bachelor’s Program: Because you don’t need more than a bachelor’s degree to become and advance your careers as a landscape designer, we selected accredited colleges in the world offering at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture.
  • Research Facilities: Universities and Colleges with greater research facilities for advancing research in landscape design and architecture will rank more than those with fewer facilities.
  • Internship Opportunities: Internship is very necessary for landscape architects and designers. So, schools with clear opportunities for internship positions will rank more than those without.
  • Scholarships: Education can be expensive, especially when you go for the best, so we cherish schools that help students subsidize their cost of education.

#1. University of Florida – USA

Program: Bachelor of landscape Architecture Program

Scholarships: 30 and above

The University of Florida’s (UF) Bachelor of Landscape Architectural program is the only of its kind in the whole of Florida. It is also one of the best landscape design schools in the world. Its program curriculum gives students a comprehensive knowledge of a broad range of issues and activities in the field.

The University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction & Planning offers UF’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Program, which is a 5-year program. One feature that makes UF’s program for Landscape Designers and Architect stand out is the Internship Program that students can participate in during the summer and fall of their third year.

Furthermore, the University of Florida houses the Center for Landscape Conservation Planning, which pushes advancement in the field through research. Studying at the University of Florida can be quite satisfying as the university offers over 30 scholarships for almost every kind of student at the University.

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#2. The University of Greenwich – The UK

Program: Landscape Architecture, BA Hons

The University of Greenwich in London, the UK is one of the best universities in the UK and the world to get a degree in Landscape Architecture. With this degree, you can start up a career comfortably in Landscape design as the program focuses on building professionals with the skills to design future parks and cities.

With accreditation by Landscape Institute, Greenwich’s program stands out from most landscape programs in the UK. Another beautiful aspect of this landscape program at Greenwich is that the school provides students the opportunity to visits projects and learn practices in London and abroad – from the Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum to Barcelona and New York City. The bachelor’s program takes three (3) years to complete.

Meanwhile, Greenwich has the Research & Enterprise Training Institute (RETI) that offers support, advice, development and mentoring to help researchers develop their skills. It also advances research in the landscape field.

Finally, at Greenwich, you will find up to 13 scholarships and bursaries to subsidize your study cost.

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#3. University of New South Wales – Australia

Program: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Honours)

Scholarships: 8 and above

When you mention schools in Australia and the world for Landscape design, you can’t help but mention the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The Australian school’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Honors) provides a sure path for Landscape designers to start a rewarding career in the field.

The program is a 4-year program that the school teaches as a powerful way of thinking and as a vocation. Thus, it goes beyond learning to becoming. You will become a creative problem solver, while the vocation aspect equips you with the theoretical and practical knowledge you need to implement landscape design at sites as well as at urban and regional scales.

Of course, the program coursework for the BLA program at UNSW involves studio and lab work to give you practical experience that will build you into a competent professional. What is more interesting is that the program allows for 90 days of work experience, giving you industry contacts and experience, and boosting your employability.

UNSW has 15 research centers and laboratories, and there are over 8 scholarships at UNSW to apply to your study.

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#4. Cornell University – USA

Program: Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA)

Cornell University at Ithaca, New York just has to be on this list of best schools in the world for landscape design. Cornell is an Ivy League university, and that spells quality in most if not all of its programs. So, through Cornell’s Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), landscape designers can get one of the best degrees to begin their Landscape career.

Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life science, Department of Landscape Architecture, offers its BSLA program. The program has accreditation by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) and provides you with the skills necessary to practice as a professional with a license. Some of the highlights of Cornell’s Landscape Architecture program that makes it standout include field trips, guest presentations, one-on-one instruction, and the option to study abroad at partner universities.

Meanwhile, Cornell’s BSLA program is a four-year program, and there are need-based scholarships that you can apply to finance your fees.

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#5. Purdue University, West Lafayette – USA

Program: Landscape Architecture, BLA

Studying Landscape Architecture at Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA to become a landscape designer promises a lot. You will be blended with art and engineering to become a leader in Design. You will also learn to incorporate sustainable systems into urban environments.

Purdue University also grants its students the opportunity to complete a 40-week paid internship and gain work experience on real projects. Also, this prestigious American University records 86% of its students returning for their final year at the university with job offers from their co-op firm. If these don’t place Purdue University, West Lafayette as one of the best colleges in the world for landscape design, what will?

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#6. University of California, Berkeley – USA

Program: Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA)

The University of California, Berkeley is a university worthy of note in several academic disciplines. Landscape design is not left out. UC Berkeley, with its BA Major in Landscape Architecture, is one of the best colleges in the USA and the world for a career in Landscape Design

The Landscape Architecture program at UC Berkeley is recognized by Landscape Architects Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) for licensure in California. Also, it provides you the necessary education relevant to entry-level professional practice as a landscape designer, being that it centers upon a creative and ecologically tuned design.

Furthermore, UC Berkeley through its Center for Environmental Design Research, and two other research centers, promote advancement in the field. You can get a handful of scholarships at UC Berkeley to study landscape architecture including the Zimmer Gunsuk Frasca Architectural Scholarship Fund.

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#7. University of Gloucestershire – The UK

Program: Landscape Architecture (BA Hons)

The Landscape Architecture Bachelor’s degree at the University of Gloucestershire is one of the best in England, the UK. The program is a 3-year program if you’re studying full time and a 4-year program for an integrated foundation. It prepares you for a variety of careers in the landscape field, including Garden Design. This variety marks Gloucestershire as one of the best universities in the world for Landscape design.

Some other key features of this UK’s Landscape Architecture degree is its study style that develops your skills in experimentation, creative thinking, and social interaction. Also, Gloucestershire’s Landscape program industry links with partners such as LDA Design through placement opportunities.

Furthermore, Gloucestershire subsidizes the cost to study Landscape design in the school through a couple of scholarships and bursaries.

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#8. Queensland University of Technology – Australia

Program: Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture)

With a 50 year history of teaching landscape in Australia, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is not just one of the best landscape design schools in Australia but in the world. QUT’s landscape architecture program is a 3-year full-time program which the school offers at its Garden Point Campus. It is the only landscape architecture degree in Queensland.

So, while QUT maintains this legacy, its landscape program is strong enough to help you understand the complexity of Landscape as it relates to the creation of outdoor spaces with positive cultural and environmental impact. What is most interesting about QUT’s landscape architecture program is that it provides for real-world learning. This Australian landscape school provides you the opportunity to explore the world and gain international design experience through study tours. You will also be involved with the community through projects or hands-on design studios.

One thing that is not lacking at QUT is scholarships. There are enough scholarships at QUT to help you pay close to nothing for your landscape design education.

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#9. University of Connecticut – USA

Program: Landscape Architecture Major (BSLA)

The University of Connecticut (UConn) is another of the best landscape architecture schools for students who wish to enter a career in landscape design. At UConn, you will learn to design parks and other outdoor environments like UConn’s Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park and solved the flooding problem of Boston’s Back Bay Fens 150 years ago.

UConn’s landscape architecture program is a 4-year program that will take you on courses like Graphics, Environmental Soil Science, Computer Application, and Planting Design, among others. UConn also stamps its claim as one of the best colleges for landscape design by making internship positions and scholarships available for students. The school has 21 scholarships that its students can apply to reduce the cost of education.

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#10. University of Illinois – USA

Program: Landscape Architecture, BLA

The University of Illinois is another of the best landscape design schools in the world. With its BLA degree which its College of Fine & Applied Arts offers, you will gain the knowledge to design dynamic places that will secure a healthier future for the world population.

The University of Illinois 4-year BLA program wins the heart with the way is it packed. In your first year, you’ll receive instruction on landscape architecture, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and mathematics. In your second year, you’ll get involved in-studio experience and site engineering. The third and fourth year, however, connects you with real places and people for collaborative work. Hence you’ll be traveling to places like Chicago to work on design solutions specific to these sites.

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#11. Virginia Polytechnic Institute – USA

Program: Landscape Architecture, BLA

Virginia Polytechnic Institute or Virginia Tech is a university in Virginia that is dedicated to providing quality education to Landscape designers. The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech trains landscape architects to be able to design landscapes across a wide range of projects and scale – gardens, plaza, entire regions.

The BLA program is available from Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies and it takes five (5) years to complete. One strong factor that makes Virginia Tech’s program ranks as one of the best landscape design schools in the world is that its landscape design program provides students the opportunity to work with communities and address real issues.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has five research institutes and centers, including the Institute for society, Culture, and Environment, that helps advance research in various disciplines.

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#12. Texas A&M University – USA

Program: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA)

Texas A&M University, Texas, USA, is one of the best universities in the world to get a degree towards a career in landscape design. Through its College of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, Texas A&M University offers the oldest BLA program in Texas and in the Southwest.

The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) at Texas A&M has accreditation by the Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards (CLARB). This program, while preparing students to become professional landscape architects in public and private service, also prepares students for licensure after graduation.

Meanwhile, Texas A & M College of Architecture has 8 research facilities dedicated to research in the field, including the Institute for Sustainable Communities. Furthermore, to subsidize your cost of schooling, Texas A & M university provides the College of Architecture Scholarships for prospective students.

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#13. The University of Wisconsin, Madison – USA

Program: Landscape Architecture, BLA

The Landscape Architecture degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA is just what it should be – a program that helps you influence the design and management of cities, parks, and open spaces. It is a four-year program that equips you with knowledge of on-site analysis, graphic communication, design synthesis, construction technology, and the social and environmental factors that are part of landscape design. This makes it one of the best colleges in the USA for Landscape Design.

The University of Wisconsin, Madison’s BLA program has accreditation by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board which attests to the quality of the university’s program. Interestingly, the University of Wisconsin BLA allows you learn to work in a team by collaborating with interdisciplinary team members to solve landscape design problems. It is obviously one of the best landscape design schools in the world

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What are the Best Online Landscape Design Schools?

Yes, there are online schools available for landscape design if you’ve been silently asking this question. But the issue is usually knowing the right online schools to apply to for landscape design.

You may find this difficult because you’re searching for the wrong thing. An online degree is a fast route to start a landscape design career. Hence, the programs are usually 2-year associate degree programs rather than 4-year bachelor’s program.

Well, being that landscape design does not require too much of a professional degree, an online associate’s degree program will do the job a bachelor’s on-campus will do for you.

So, to make things easy for you, here are the top, accredited online schools where you will get:

National Design Academy in Dubai offers a Diploma in Professional Garden Design that takes 10 months to complete. It is a part-time program that you will take wholly online in the English language.

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The design Ecademy offers its fully-online diploma in landscape design in English for 36 months. You have the option of part-time or full-time for this program.

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The Academy of Art University through its School of Landscape Architecture offers an Associate’s Degree in Landscape Architecture that takes two years.

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Ryerson University offers an online landscape Design certificate program to help landscape designers begin their careers.

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Penn Foster Career School offers online Landscaping training which you can complete in four months and start your career.

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Study landscape design cheap online, also see these 10 Most Affordable Online Landscape Architecture Degree Programs

What are the Best Landscape Design Schools in the USA?

The USA is one of the popular locations in the world for Landscape Design. This is even evident n their Landscape Industry. So, if you wish to grab a degree for landscape design in the USA, here are the colleges and universities to go to:

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What is the Cost of Studying Landscape Design?

Landscape design should not be a costly degree to get in universities or schools. But the location, the quality, and reputation of the school, as well as the kind of program, will determine this.

Since the price will vary by these factors, we will attempt to give you an overview of what the cost will look like. So, we will show you how much bachelors will cost in the USA, the UK, and Australia using our top schools. We will also show you the online program cost.

Cost for Bachelor’s in Landscape Design

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  • The USA – $6,380 per year (The University of Florida)
  • The UK – £14,680 per year (The University of Gloucestershire)
  • Australia – $36,100 (Queensland University of Technology)

Cost for Online Program

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  • Associate’s Degree – $22,242 for the complete program at Academy of Art University.
  • Training Program – $759 for landscape online training at Penn Foster

FAQs

How long does it take to get a landscape design degree?

It takes two years to complete a landscape architecture degree for landscape design. However, if you choose to enter the career path through an associate’s degree, it would take you two years to complete.

What degree do you need for landscape design?

You basically need a bachelor’s degree for a landscape design career. However, many landscape designers start their career with an associate’s degree or landscape design training online.

What does an landscape designer do?

The landscape designer plan and design the arrangement of open spaces using computer-aided tools and graphic information system technology. They also supervise landscape projects they have planned and designed to ensure that it meets their clients’ specification.

How can you become a landscape designer?

The surest path to become a landscape designer is to get a bachelor’s degree in either landscape architecture, horticulture, or plant science. During the bachelor’s program, ensure to complete internship programs to get industry experience and build up a portfolio to assist you in getting a job upon graduation.

Do you need a degree for landscape design?

You need a degree for landscape design because many employers will not give you a job without it. But you don’t need to get a license to become a landscape designer.

What colleges offer landscape architecture?

Four-year accredited colleges, online colleges, and community colleges offer landscape architecture degree. Look for the one that meets your educational needs and apply.

What is the best college to study architecture?

The best colleges to study architecture are:

University of Florida
University of Greenwich
University of New South Wales
Cornell University
Purdue University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Gloucestershire
Queensland University of Technology
University of Connecticut
University of Illinois
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Texas A&M Universit
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Conclusion

You must be inspired by outdoor spaces and have an aesthetic mind to consider landscape design. However, these are not enough to become a landscape designer. You would need a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, horticulture, or plant science to become a landscape designer.

Whatever country you wish to study landscape design, you would need to consider quality and cost. But if convenience is your priority, then you should consider online landscape schools. And, this article compiles a list of the best landscape design schools in the world.

References

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