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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2152 Occupation: Landscape Architects
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Landscape architects conceptualize landscape designs, develop contract documents and oversee the construction of landscape development for commercial projects, office complexes, parks, golf courses and residential development. They are employed by government environmental and development agencies, landscape consulting firms and by architectural and engineering firms, or they are self-employed. Landscape architects conceptualize landscape designs, develop contract documents and oversee the construction of landscape development for commercial projects, office complexes, parks, golf courses and residential development. They are employed by government environmental and development agencies, landscape consulting firms and by architectural and engineering firms, or they are self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3 4
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read catalogues and order forms from nurseries when selecting plant material for a site. (1)
  • Read email, short letters and faxes from co-workers and colleagues. For example, read letters from members of land development teams to obtain information about ongoing projects, find out about meeting arrangements and to get answers to questions. Read letters and documents submitted by landscape technicians which outline their qualifications and detail previous work. (2)
  • Read 'requests for proposals' and proposals for residential, commercial and public landscaping development projects. It is important to understand the work required and terms of reference in order to prepare complete and effective responses. (3)
  • Read articles in field guides and gardening references such as Garden Encyclopedia to learn about plants, shrubs and trees. When working with unfamiliar plants, read to get information about sizes shapes, colours, growth rates, optimal growing conditions, water requirements and companion plantings. Read trade publications such as the Canadian Landscaping Journal to learn about hardscape applications such as lighting, water pumps or park benches to determine which ones are suitable for projects, or to learn about unfamiliar topics such as soil drainage. (3)
  • Read a variety of municipal by-laws, regulations, and provincial and federal acts to ensure that clients' development permit applications are approved. Analyze municipal by-laws and land use covenants to understand restrictions that apply to particular sites, minimum legal requirements for development and elements that need to be included in drawings. For example, city by-laws may stipulate minimum amounts of green space or certain fence heights. (4)
  • Read reports and assessments written by project consultants and professionals. For example, read technical reports on drainage and storm run-off patterns written by engineers and survey reports written by land surveyors. Read them to understand the topography, elevations and water courses that will affect landscape design. (4)
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Writing
  • Write short faxes and email to colleagues, contractors and government officials to inform, request information or respond to questions. For example, write email to colleagues to organize starting dates of projects and coordinate work activities. (2)
  • Write notes in field books and on notepads to record the details of site visits, meetings and conversations. For example, write summaries of topics discussed and agreements reached at team and client meetings. (2)
  • Write letters to contractors inviting them to bid on upcoming contracts, city officials asking permission to develop parcels of land and clients informing them of progress of their projects. (3)
  • Write technical instructions and specifications in contracts and 'requests for proposal'. For example, write instructions for laying asphalt which detail surface preparation, asphalt composition, application temperatures and compaction standards. (3)
  • Write promotional material for clients. For example, highlight new parks' features in articles for recreation department newsletters or city newspapers' active living sections. Write text for interpretive park signs, visitors' guides or promotional brochures. Because writing needs to appeal to various audiences and user groups, use a style that is both interesting and scientifically accurate. (3)
  • Write contracts for the development of large landscaping projects. Detail the clients' requirements, scope of services to be provided, terms in the agreement, additional services, overall costs, financial requirements and special conditions. (4)
  • Write environmental assessment reports and planning background documents. For example, a landscape architect may write a short report to summarize existing conditions on a trail system and recommend various options for dealing with critical environmental and social issues along the route. The landscape architect may describe a variety of physical features, discuss data and present recommendations supported by logical arguments. (4)
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Document Use
  • Read park interpretative signs and construction site signs to get information such as warnings, place names and directions. (1)
  • Get specific information such as common and botanical names, growing instructions, light and watering requirements, and size at maturity from a variety of labels attached to trees and plants. Get concentrations, hazard warnings and mixing instructions from the labels of fertilizers and pesticides. (1)
  • Obtain information from graphs of tree heights to ensure selection of appropriate species for the site. (2)
  • Interpret a variety of maps such as hardiness zone maps, road maps, drainage maps and topographic maps to select and position plant material and architectural features. (2)
  • Find information in tables. For example, scan annual rainfall tables to determine annual and monthly amounts in order to design effective drainage for landscaped sites. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms such as invoices, construction completion forms, land development forms, supply order forms, government applications, continuing education logs and vacation requests. (2)
  • Plot information on graphs. For example, to illustrate the amount of allotted green space or to decide if a plan is suited to a site. (3)
  • Read assembly drawings for landscape installations such as playground equipment and base preparation for bricked areas. (3)
  • Study scale drawings to become familiar with the physical makeup of sites. For example, examine drawings of new subdivisions to locate utilities, roads, school sites and environmental reserves. Landscape architects locate and analyze the features that will need to be incorporated into landscape designs. (4)
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Computer Use
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use scanners to digitize documents, digital cameras to take photographs and CD burners to create copies of electronic documents for presentations. (2)
  • Use email to send and receive messages with attachments. (2)
  • Research suppliers' websites or use search engines such as Google, Dogpile and AltaVista to conduct multiple searches, bookmark commonly used sites and create topic-specific folders when working on projects. (2)
  • Use database software. For example, enter costs, create reports and monitor status of budgets and construction progress. Review costs in various categories or may track forms through the municipal approval process. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, use software such as Excel to create tables and enter, edit and manage information. Input formulas to perform calculation, track costs and analyze data for multiple projects. (3)
  • Use word processing. For example, use programs such as Word and Word Perfect to create memos, letters and reports. Use a wide range of formatting functions, create tables to organize information and import graphics and pictures from other applications. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, use drafting software such as AutoCAD to create scale drawings of landscape designs and multiple software functions to graphically illustrate all aspects of the design including layout, number of plants, topsoil and seeding requirements, pathways and slopes. (4)
  • Use graphics software. For example, use PowerPoint to create effective presentations for clients. Import resize images from digital cameras, scanned files or the Internet using photo-editing software such as Photoshop. Use graphics software such as Draw or Illustrator to design and lay out material for printing. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers to obtain product information and price quotes. For example, a landscape architect may ask a plant supplier about special species such as non-poisonous plants for use in children's play areas. (2)
  • Interact with managers, clients and colleagues to discuss project details and receive direction. (2)
  • Interact with project team members such as contractors, junior landscape architects and drafts people. Assign and coordinate new tasks, discuss project goals, give directions, explain procedures and enquire about the status of ongoing work. For example, clearly and thoroughly explain design specifications and standards for landscape construction work to contractors. (2)
  • Lead project planning meetings. Landscape architects meet and confer with engineers, irrigation and construction contractors and architects to brainstorm ideas, gather site information and coordinate work. They need to be diplomatic and persuasive because effective communication is very important during the planning stages of projects. (3)
  • Talk to colleagues and peers to obtain information and advice about on-going work. For example, seek the advice of experts in specialized areas of design or construction such as lighting consultants, irrigation specialists and engineers. (3)
  • Talk with clients to provide them with information, discuss design goals and objectives, get direction, provide feedback and update plans. For example, meet with clients during project construction phases to provide them with updates, notify them of any problems encountered by contractors and to discuss potential design changes. (3)
  • Make formal presentations to the public, clients and colleagues to influence their thinking. For example, present proposed landscape designs to clients' boards of directors. Be clear, speak to the technical level of the audience and address relevant and sometimes controversial issues. Defend critical aspects of your designs to individuals who may be in opposition or who want to eliminate as much cost as possible. If you fail to communicate effectively, key elements of proposed designs could be rejected and funding denied. (4)
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Money Math
  • Purchase supplies and plant materials using credit cards and cash. (1)
  • Prepare, check and approve invoices. Calculate labour costs for different workers at various hourly rates. Add costs for materials and contractors and calculate applicable provincial and federal taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Compare prices at several suppliers to determine best value. Calculate unit costs in order to compare different packaging types and container sizes. Price comparisons are complicated by variations in costs for shipping, assembly and extended warranties, as well as the need to compare equivalent products with different application rates. (3)
  • Plan, budget, schedule and monitor long-range landscape development projects. Calculate labour and material costs for the different phases by incorporating estimates from independent consultants and contractors, and monitor actual expenses to avoid cost overruns. Schedule seasonal work, planting phases and rotations for fifty-year city park development plans. Make budget and schedule changes to accommodate delays, design changes and additional expenses as appropriate. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure landscape development sites using inclinometers and transits. (3)
  • Calculate areas of irregularly shaped objects such as flowerbeds. (3)
  • Calculate angles and distances in landscape designs. For example, a landscape architect may use trigonometry to calculate the slope of a pedestrian walkway between an office building and parking area or the length of a ramp needed to make a viewpoint wheelchair accessible. (4)
  • Perform hydraulic calculations. For example, calculate run-off amounts to determine the type of ground cover to install. (4)
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Data Analysis
  • Calculate and compare average costs. For example, when planning a new design calculate the average cost of several previous playground projects and compare differences and similarities among the projects. (2)
  • Analyze statistics from surveys and questionnaires. For example, use survey data to draw conclusions about patterns of support or opposition for outdoor recreation facilities. This information is then used to make revisions to the initial proposal to ensure optimal use by all age groups. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Make numerous small estimates when conducting preliminary site visits. For example, estimate the amount of soil required to build a mound to enhance the beauty of a landscape, the number of square meters of sod necessary to plant grass on an area of land or the amount of stone required for a retaining wall. (2)
  • Estimate timelines for large projects based on past experience with similar projects. Adjust previous project experience to take into account the complexity of the site, the nature and amount of plant material, built structures, the availability of labour and the time of year. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • The scope of work and the priorities of landscape architects are largely determined by the context and sizes of the organizations for which they work and the goals of landscape development projects. Within this framework, landscape architects work independently to plan, design and manage projects. When working on multi-phased, long-term land development projects, their work is team-oriented and job tasks must be integrated with those of contractors, engineers, other landscape architects, and technicians. The ability to work on multiple projects, determine work priorities and meet clients' deadlines is critical to their jobs. Equipment breakdowns, changes in weather, construction problems or lack of funding can affect their work causing them to change priorities and schedules. Landscape architects may plan and schedule the work of junior staff, other staff members and contractors. Those who own their own businesses are responsible for operational and strategic planning, determining the pace and style of daily procedures and the types of projects to pursue. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Select landscape and construction contractors. Decide which contractors to use for particular aspects of landscape design and construction. Consider contractors'' quotes, previous work and reputations. (2)
  • Decide whether or not to bid on multi-phased, long-term projects. For example, self-employed landscape architects review ''requests for proposal'' to evaluate technical components of projects to determine if they have the skills, expertise and time required to carry out the work. (3)
  • Make decisions about the design and construction of landscapes for specific locations and purposes. For example, decide which type of lighting to use for park pathways, fencing to use for walkways, species of trees and plants that are suitable for building entrances, or equipment to use in playgrounds. Consider aesthetics, functions, costs, clients'' preferences, standards mandated by municipalities and constraints of related architectural and engineering plans. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Face equipment failures and breakdowns. For example, a landscape architect is notified there is a mechanical system failure in the pumping station of an artificial water attraction. The landscape architect determines the cause of the equipment failure and calls the appropriate suppliers to fix it. (1)
  • Discover inaccuracies in drawings. For example, a landscape architect may discover that a scale drawing indicates a flat site when its elevation actually varies by a metre. The landscape architect verifies measurements, makes adjustments to the design plans and informs the construction contractor of the changes. (2)
  • Discover that contractors have not completed work as specified. For example, during an inspection a landscape architect may notice that a water tank has been installed at the wrong depth or that a lighting system has been installed too low for the finished elevation of a pathway. The landscape architect meets with the contractor to discuss possible solutions and finds the most economical way to bring the work to specification or adjust other construction work to incorporate the mistake. (2)
  • Supplies and materials have not arrived on time. Because time is of the essence, landscape architects immediately contact the suppliers to determine causes of delays. They may need to make adjustments to project schedules or decide to choose different materials or suppliers if time is limited. (2)
  • Clients refuse to pay for services. Make all attempts to reach the clients by mail and telephone to discuss the issue, advise them of any late charges and to make arrangements for payment in full. If payments are not received, legal action to recoup funds may be considered. (3)
  • Realize during the construction phase that original ideas, plans and designs will not work or are not applicable. For example, determine that a design for a shoreline stabilization mechanism using anchored logs will not work on the site. Landscape architects consult colleagues and co-workers to come up with alternative structures, present them to the client and incorporate feedback to identify a final option that will work well. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find by-laws, acts and regulations on government websites and in government publications. (1)
  • Find suppliers of specialized products in technical magazines and professional newsletters, and on the Internet. (2)
  • Conduct botanical and historical research by reading books, consulting biologists and archaeologists to find unusual species or design appropriately for a historic site. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the quality of work performed by contractors. As part of the assessment, determine the extent to which the contractors have met the specifications and standards stipulated in drawings and agreements. (2)
  • Evaluate the acceptability of proposals submitted by contractors. Use evaluation forms to assign points for each proposal's cost, quality and feasibility. Also consider contractors' experience and reputations to select the best overall proposal. (2)
  • Evaluate the suitability of different landscape designs. For example, landscape architects evaluate various ways to design trail systems. They weigh numerous factors including own design preferences, budget constraints, assessments from contractors such as surveyors and engineers, consultations with affected communities and clients' visions. (3)
  • Evaluate the suitability of various hardscape materials when designing projects. For example, assess various construction materials for walls, fences, paths and any other permanent features. Consider the function, durability and costs of products. (3)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of proposed designs. For example, landscape architects may assess the extent to which proposed residential development layouts address environmental protection and safety concerns. They consider the environmental constraints presented by wetlands, streams and slopes. They weigh conflicting values such as residents' desire to conserve sensitive ecosystems and the need to clear vegetation around home sites for wildfire protection. (4)
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