Online College Courses in Landscape Design
For every park, playground, college campus, golf course, waterfront, or shopping center you visit, there was thought, planning, and expertise put into the look and function of the outdoor space. Courses in landscape design prepare those interested in planning such spaces, imparting the skills necessary to make plans for various types of vegetation, walkways, topography, and decorative elements such as fountains. Often, online college courses in landscape design will have both a practical and theoretical approach, focusing on creative problem solving and the understandings of environmental processes and human behavior responses.
Topics include surveying, landscape ecology, site design, soil science, geology, and water conservation, as well as historic preservation, sustainable design, urban planning, and transportation. Courses will also often cover professional software such as Computer Aided Design and Geographic Information Systems, as well as video simulation tools used to illustrate plans. Because landscape architects are often freelancers or self-employed, courses in business practices and contracts can also be helpful. Education is also available at any stage of a career, thanks to continuing education courses that are offered through higher education institutions as well as professional associations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Courses in landscape design aren't just beneficial to landscape architects, either. Those in maintenance businesses interested in expanding to landscape design could benefit, as well as engineers, environmental scientists, and architects, who often work with landscape architects. Online landscape design courses provide a flexible option for those who don't have a program near them, or who can't make it to a campus because of work or family demands. It's important to note that while some programs are offered in full online, others are a mix of both residential and campus-based programs, so make sure to find the program that would work best for you.
Another key part of your search is taking courses only through accredited programs. This will make it easier to use an online course towards a degree and to obtain certain credentials. In most states, landscape architects need to be licensed, which generally requires holding a landscaping design degree from an accredited institution, in addition to work experience and passing an exam. The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects is the accrediting body for landscape architecture programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level, assessing how well a program meets its education mission, as well as evaluating it against standards that ensure entry-level professional competence. You can find accredited schools through the organization's website.
Landscape Design and Your Career
The skills and knowledge gained from online college courses in landscape design are geared toward a career as a landscape architect. Graduates will know how to plan gardens, playgrounds, parks, and more, incorporating aesthetic qualities and function into their designs. They may also learn how to create sustainable and eco-friendly designs, or how to run a business. Because most states require landscape architects to pass a licensing exam, courses can also help prepare you for the test. For those not planning a career in landscape architecture, courses in landscape design may also benefit related fields, such as urban planning or environmental conservation.
Landscape design is a growing, in-demand field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of landscape architects is expected to increase by 20% during the 2008-18 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to new construction and the redevelopment of existing buildings. Areas in the field that are also expected to grow include environmental remediation, such as wetlands preservation and restoration, and historic preservation. Similarly, sustainable development and environmentally conscious projects such as green roofs are also expected to be in demand, so landscape design courses in these areas may be beneficial.
Free Online Landscape DesignCourses
- Landscape Management Overview – Utah State University Extension
- Climate and Landscapes – Utah State University Extension
- Architecutre Studio: Building in Landscapes – MIT OpenCourseWare
- Urban Design Seminar – MIT OpenCourseWare
- Media Technology and City Design and Development – MIT OpenCourseWare