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Landscape Architectural Technician


Description

When it comes to landscape design, the landscape architects are the people who actually survey the site, consult with the clients, and develop the design ideas for creating beauty and function for the environments in city parks, and the land surrounding public buildings and private homes. They come up with the creative ideas about shape, plant use, and the placement of non-organic items, like fountains. But it is the landscape architectural technicians who take those ideas, produce the drawings and blueprints, and figure out ways to make the landscape architect's dreams become reality. Landscape architects focus on design questions, while landscape architectural technicians focus on the technical questions.

Landscape architectural technicians have a few main functions. They make drawings and blueprints for the landscape architects, often with complicated computer software. This includes more than just drawing and fiddling around with a mouse and a key pad, however. These technicians must do research into by-laws; they are the ones who make the models of the designs; the people who check the feasibility of the suggested materials and shapes, ensuring the project stays on budget. They may also write contracts for clients, select plants and trees to be used, and meet with the clients to inform them of their project's development.

They will also spend some time on site, supervising the technical aspects of the landscaping. They may inspect plant and tree placements, concrete forms, and fountain pipelines. If they work as the head technician, they may also supervise other technicians, and general laborers. They also do some of the hands-on work.

Landscape architectural technicians are important, because without them, landscape architects would have a hard time getting all their work done. A technician works as an assistant, but also as a team mate, enabling the architect and the clients' visions to take shape.
 
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  Interests and Skills  
Landscape architectural technologists need to be extremely creative, able to visualize three-dimensional structures in their minds, and also able to draw. They also need good math and science skills, as well, and have an interest in engineering and construction. They must be comfortable with computer-design programs need to be organized, and have good people skills need to be able to do methodical, precise work. They are detail-oriented individuals, who are patient, motivated, and confident. They should be methodical and careful workers who are able to follow instructions.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Create design plans for clients, including drawings, computer images, and models
  • Draw blueprints for landscaping crews
  • Estimate costs
  • Research by-laws
  • Supervise landscaping, making sure the site is safe and the crews are following the design
  • The landscape architectural technician may be working on a number of plans at once, so might research by-laws; draw some sketches; and visit a landscaping site, all in the same day. Landscape architectural technicians spend most of their time at work indoors; however they will spend time outdoors when visiting the sites. A landscape architectural technician who works with a well-respected architecture firm will get to travel if their clients live in other cities, or are establishing a chain of businesses throughout the country.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Landscape architectural technicians usually work for landscape architecture firms, parks and recreation departments, landscaping supply companies, real estate development agencies, greenhouses and nurseries, and golf course design companies. Their hours vary. Some days may be regular, but when major projects are underway, landscape architectural technicians may be at the office and on site for long hours, with fewer days off.
  • Landscape architectural technicians work in offices, where they draw, use computers, and meet with landscape architects and other technicians. They will also work on landscaping sites, which are dangerous enough to warrant hard hats and steel-toed boots.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Landscape architectural technicians with enough experience can become supervisors of a team of technicians. They can always go back to school, and become fully recognized landscape architects. They can open a firm, a nursery, or write gardening and landscaping books. Or they may leave landscaping all together and get into real estate, graphic design, desktop publishing, building inspection, or building maintenance.
 

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a landscape architectural technician, completion of a two- to three-year program at a college, specializing in landscape architectural technology is required. Landscape architectural technicians may also need to become certified, depending on the region in which they plan to work. They can check with the school they will be attending for more details.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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