Professional Landscaping and Garden Design jobs in South Africa
If you have green fingers and love working, designing and all elements of gardening, then landscaping jobs might be right for you. Becoming a professional landscaper or landscape architect takes a little bit more than just a couple of green fingers. Today the Job Mail team delves a little deeper into this career.
What is Garden Design and Landscaping?
Garden design fundamentally features foundations of landscaping and it is design that is centred around gardens and the various elements within.
Landscaping is defined as the way of modifying, adapting and changing features and areas. This can range from flora and fauna, with the idea of enhancing all the natural elements of the garden, and bringing it all together in a beautiful and an ecologically friendly way.
It also involves all elements including climate, lighting and the general environment. A landscaper is involved in fundamentally changing the way the earth or area looks and this is often done through flowers, flora and fauna, changing the terrain, and adding and adapting certain features, from rivers, streams to small ponds.
All of these come together to form landscaping, a profession which requires an eye for detail, design and a love for plants and the outdoors.
So what exactly does one do as a landscaper and a garden designer do? As landscapers are all highly qualified and have completed a range of exams in order to practise, they can advise on the best measures for the climate, conditions and overall landscape. They can also lend their expertise to design, shape and create the best fit for the job.
Landscaping jobs involves a range of tasks and responsibilities to design and create the best garden for a host of needs.
Job market and job opportunities for the Landscaper
The job market for landscaping in South Africa is an exciting one. There is a range of opportunities across South Africa, from jobs as a landscaper, to working as a landscape technologist, landscape designer or even a landscape architect. They range in skill level, can be found across the country and the choices are endless.
The Landscape Architect
A landscape architect is one where you will find yourself split between the office and a range of projects, projects which will require you to plan and design parks, public spaces, open areas, as well as a host of commercial and residential gardens and jobs.
Landscape architects help make outdoor spaces and areas both beautiful and functional, this can range from gardens, parks and other areas where many people may use to take time off and relax. They can also help restore forests and wetlands if working on specialised projects.
As a landscape architect your job would involve working with a range of city planners, engineers and other key figures to understand and conceptualise briefs and the projects goals.
These types of landscaping jobs could involve a range of designs that are functional, while are in keeping with the site, be it a heritage site, or in keeping with those in the area. Your others would be to conduct and assess sites and the landscape, to ensure the project can go ahead and meet all specifications.
Your tasks may also include designing and creating plans and project specifications as well as pitching and presenting ideas to clients and to other stakeholders.
Tasks such as managing certain aspects of the work on site would also fall into your hands, from materials to final tweaks.
You’ll need a certain skillset to be able be a landscape architect. Skills include the ability to communicate effectively, to get ideas across to clients and your employees, you’ll also need to think out of the box at times, and have a great eye for detail and design.
It’s satisfying, creative and exciting work and allow you to take on a range of ever changing projects and designs.
Working as Landscape Technologist
A landscape technologist is a specialised landscaper who helps plan, build and construct gardens and overall landscape aesthetics. You’ll find yourself in both your office and the outdoors on a host of jobs and projects.
As a landscape technologist you job would require you to ensure that the land is tip top condition by checking on soil conditions, seeing the ground is level, and suited to the job, as well as planting a variety of flora and fauna, trees and grass.
This field of study within landscaping requires you to assess the health of the plants and see which would be best suited to the climate and terrain and work in the best possible range of elements for the ideal garden, park of recreational site.
You job would also require you to build a range of garden features that can be used to enjoy, from ponds, walkways, water features and much more.
Skills required for these types of landscaping jobs include being creative, technical and having an understanding and being able to effectively design and communicate plans and ideas to both employees and clients.
It’s an interesting, engaging and stimulating job to have, where it always changes and has new and different elements.
Training requirements for Landscapers
There are many training requirements to become a landscaper, landscape architect, or landscape technologist, there is a range of institutions that offer courses and training to ensure the best results.
You can study a National Diploma in Landscape Technology through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The diploma ensures a practical working knowledge of flora and fauna, landscaping, design and much more.
Over the course of the diploma you will learn how to manage and control a range of landscape projects, so that no matter the situation, you can handle it.
You can also find a range of undergraduate and postgraduate options in landscaping through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
This is just one of the many ways you can become involved and get your start in the industry. You can get your start as a landscape gardener by completing a National Certificate in Landscape Irrigation, at various levels 2 and 3. You could also get a Bachelor of Technology in Landscape Technology, which can be done after completing a National Diploma in Landscape Technology.
As for becoming a landscape architect, technologist or technician, you can do a National Diploma in Landscape Technology and then complete a residency with the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession, as well as pass a range of exams.
To become a landscape architectural technician you’ll need a Bachelor of Technology, with Landscape Architecture or Architecture as specialised fields. You can then complete your Honours in Landscape Architecture as well as the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession residency and exams. The studying option for the technologist is similar, with Honours and then Masters in Landscape Architecture.
For these landscaping positions, you’ll need to be a part of the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession, and complete a two-year residency, once you have completed your qualification, to be able to practise for all professions.
Salary expectations and career prospects
With more and more people becoming environmentally aware, the demand for projects at home, or in the office, which are ecologically friendly, safe and have an overall pleasing aesthetic, in terms of design and environmental impact.
As such the average salary for a landscaper is R173,424 and it is similar for that of a garden designer, and depends on years of experience and skill level.
The career prospects for both are exciting and offer a way to discover and expand your knowledge in the industry and grow with it.
This includes starting out in each career and growing with the years of experience acquired. With this you can choose to open your own firm and can be and entrepreneur in the space, or you can grow and head up the current firm or office you are in.
Each of these career paths requires high levels of expertise and many years of experience, but if you love landscaping and garden design, it’ll be a breeze.
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