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Business software for PLA landscape architects: streamlining workflows and improving productivity

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Updated on:
April 26, 2023
April 26, 2023
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Landscape architects plan and design land areas for projects like open space networks, parks, schools, institutions, roadways, exterior spaces for all building kinds, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.

A landscape architect designs and plans outdoor areas for aesthetic, environmental, and practical objectives. They work on various projects, including residential buildings, business developments, public parks, gardens, and recreational places. When creating outdoor areas, landscape architects consider geography, temperature, human needs, and preferences.

Landscape architects work with other experts, such as architects and engineers, to ensure their ideas are secure, workable, and efficient. To supervise the execution of their plans and guarantee that they are completed properly, they could also collaborate with builders and contractors.

What are the requirements for becoming a PLA landscape architect?

Education and training

You should be a landscape architect by profession to be able to work as one. Not to mention, all nations have their licensing requirements. The US's CLARB (Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards) creates and manages licenses and keeps up-to-date records of the states' licensing criteria.

To become a landscape architect, you must obtain a degree from an accredited university. Earning a three-year undergraduate degree and a one-year postgraduate diploma is common. If your undergraduate degree is in a different field, you can complete a postgraduate "conversion" master's program lasting up to two years.

To enter the conversion course, several colleges need an "appropriate subject," which may include gardening, geography, or arts courses. A portfolio will probably also need to be submitted. After starting a job and acquiring a year or two of experience, you can pursue charters, a professional credential. Most employers will anticipate you are doing this and will offer you help.

Skills and competencies

Your success as a landscape architect may depend on your possession of the following soft skills and personal character traits:

  • Active listening: You will be able to comprehend the demands and desires of your clientele as a result.
  • Computer skills: Technology plays a significant role in this position, particularly Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and CADD software for model development.
  • Confidence: Be confident that your skill set is required because landscape architecture is not commonly recognized as a necessary component of creating and restoring this built environment.
  • Creativity: Your creative side will allow you to design beautiful outdoor spaces that are also functional.
  • Critical thinking: Decisions and issues must be resolved by landscape architects. You can uncover potential solutions and assess each one before selecting the best one if you have strong critical thinking skills.
  • Reading comprehension: Documents pertaining to your job must be understandable to you.
  • Verbal communication: Along with knowing what your clients need from your expertise, knowledge, and skills, you need to know how to communicate with them.

How professional landscape architects leave a positive impact on people and the environment

Here are some ways the roles, responsibilities, and work performed by PLA landscape architects help people and their environment.

Connecting people to nature

Most city planning includes little pieces of greenery, such as shrubbery and trees, in their master plans. However, landscape architects can go beyond this by working to create unified green places that mimic being in nature.

Landscape architects create spaces and settings where people can stroll among natural features. As such, activities in nature can foster a connection to the environment by fusing the natural world with our developed surroundings.

Improves air quality

Landscape architects use plants in various projects to boost the general greenery in different areas like suburbs, towns, and cities. Urban greenery improves population health in numerous ways by lowering air pollution. Regular exposure to clean air reduces the incidence of several diseases, including cancer, myocardial infarctions, asthma, and bronchitis.

Increases functional spaces

The interests of landscape architects extend beyond aesthetics. They also put much into ensuring that their built rooms can be used for economical and recreational purposes. Generating a sense of place is one of the major advantages of landscape design in a community.

Contributes to economic growth

You might be tempted to stay in the area for a while when you come across a street with lots of vegetation, seating, and shade. People are drawn to environments that cater to their comfort; if those environments are also functional, they are more likely to spend much time there.

People are more likely to spend money and return to a place the more enticing it is. By developing these beautiful spaces, landscape architecture plays a crucial role in reviving the economic landscape of towns and cities.

The benefits of using business software for landscape architects

Large and small landscape architectural firms use technology to run their operations in various ways. These businesses are in varying stages of development, adoption, and growth.

Communication and collaboration

Numerous business software allows landscape architects and architectural firms to communicate and collaborate. Communication between architectural firms and clients and professional landscape architects and clients may be necessary. Sometimes, landscape architects may need to collaborate with other professionals on the same project.

Workflow and file storage

Network-attached storage units can store critical project files and develop workflows. You only need a server space and an individual who can maintain it. Not to mention, you can choose between cloud-based and location-based storage.

Project management

Using business software for project management comes with varying levels of sophistication. Of course, greater sophistication means higher costs as you step up your management workflow. Each level will allow you to manage more processes, people, and projects.

Customer relations management

Generally, business managers and landscape architects either hate or love Customer Relations Management (CRM). Depending on the size of your landscape architectural business, Customer Relations Management can help with quotations/ proposals, emails, calls, etc.

Commonly used software applications for landscape architects

Software applications can significantly help with the arrangement and organization of various components of landscaping architecture. Here are some commonly used software applications for landscape architects.


Bonsai, a business management platform for professional services, is an essential component of many landscape architects' back office operations. It can be very time-consuming to manage project milestones, accounting, invoicing, billing, contracts, payments and more. Instead of spending more time managing these aspects of the business, Bonsai automates all of this allowing you to unlock your creativity and get back to doing more of what you love.


AutoCAD has been at the top of the list of essential software programs to know since 1982. It is ideal for landscaping specialists with various uses, including high-end residential and substantial commercial projects. The interface of AutoCAD can be fully customized, giving the architect or designer complete control over how the drawing is displayed.


A versatile program called Rhinoceros was first developed in the 1980s. It is mainly utilized for 3D modeling and 2D drafting. Construction Aids and User Interface are the two aspects of this software application's interface. Basic tools and commands are found in the construction aids, whereas commands and command controls are found in the user interface.


Anyone, from novices to experts, can utilize the well-liked design program SketchUp. Numerous applications for the program are included in various design fields. This covers architecture, interior design, structural engineering, and landscape design. SketchUp has a number of different add-ons, so it is not just restricted to 3D modeling.


Experts and invoices should both use Enscape, especially for visualizing designs. This software program offers collaborative features that let you see the most recent 3D rendering. You can also add annotations to it. Communication between clients and other team members is simple, swift, and straightforward.

Realtime landscape architect

Realtime Landscape Architect is a true landscape architect and design program for those who work in landscaping. It is especially beneficial when you are focusing on painting patterns inside gardens. This software program also incorporates 3D modeling, providing designers with pre-built catalogs.

Professional landscape architects can use software to create detailed plans

Landscape architects are frequently tasked with undertaking cross-discipline design projects, where visual communication becomes essential in showcasing project results to various audience groups.

Architecture and industrial design were the first to drive the development of 3D digital graphics, and landscape architecture quickly followed. The continual innovation of 3D technologies and their potential to profoundly alter how design is viewed and presented are common justifications for their use. As a result, more and more landscape architects are using 3D technology to enhance the established 2D techniques for design representation.

When it comes to producing visuals that effectively communicate complicated design concepts to clients, 3D technologies are unmatched. Additionally, modern 3D technology enables landscape architects to include many data sets and studies in their work (for example, hydrology and visual impact assessment).

Since environmental awareness has increased since the 1970s and public data has moved from paper to digital formats, landscape architects are now expected to use the best information to guide their designs and practice environmental stewardship).

Manage and organize projects using business software

As businesses evolve, so do their software requirements. Upgrading your software can increase productivity and help you get the most out of your initial investment if it has outdated or preventing your company from moving forward.

You can benefit from selecting the appropriate business software in the following ways:

  • Communicate more effectively with clients, other professionals, etc.
  • Automate routine tasks to reduce costs
  • Improve staff efficiency
  • Measure or increase office productivity
  • Replace paper processes
  • Streamline business accounts and other operations

For many firms, upgrading or moving to new software can be significant. Make sure the advantages of the change outweigh the dangers and that you have a solid business case for it.

The new software's goals and potential advantages should be noted down. You can then prioritize the list to determine which items will yield the highest returns on your investment. Talking to your staff, vendors, and clients may help gather suggestions for leveraging IT to enhance your company processes.

Select software that will work with your current hardware, provided that doing so does not diminish any potential advantages. Any costs associated with hardware upgrades should be accounted for in your budgeting; see Computer Hardware for Business.

Staying current with the latest landscape architecture trends

New trends and methods are continually being developed in landscape architecture. Here are a few of the newest developments in landscape design:

Sustainability and green infrastructure

The emphasis on sustainability and green infrastructure is one of the main themes in landscape architecture. Designing outdoor areas that are resource-efficient and environmentally beneficial is the specialty of landscape architects. This might involve managing stormwater using green roofs, rain gardens, and other green infrastructure techniques, which would lessen the environmental impact of development.

Nature-based design

The emphasis on nature-based design, which aims to incorporate natural aspects into the constructed environment, is another trend in landscape architecture. Landscape architects may employ biophilic design to create healthier, more sustainable settings, combining natural elements like plants and water into buildings and outdoor spaces.

Outdoor living spaces

Outdoor areas that can be used for leisure, relaxation, and other activities are also being designed by landscape architects. This includes designing practical and enjoyable outdoor living areas using kitchens, fire pits, and other amenities.

Community engagement

To incorporate communities in the design process and ensure that outdoor spaces serve the requirements and interests of their intended users, landscape architects are increasingly collaborating with local governments. This can involve locals in the design process using participatory design techniques like workshops and open forums.


Additionally, technology is used by landscape architects to improve outdoor areas and produce immersive and interactive experiences. This could incorporate interactive kiosks, virtual and augmented reality, and other digital tools to engage users and improve the outdoor experience.

Landscape architects may provide creative and useful designs that satisfy the demands and interests of their clients and the local community by remaining current on the most recent trends in the field.


Business and design software applications play a crucial role in the success of professional landscape architects. With these software technologies, they can streamline their workflows, manage projects, and produce greater results. Only when landscape architect stays up to date with the latest trends and technological advancement can they make a much greater positive impact on the world.

Are you looking for strategies to make your company prosper and stand out from the crowd? Bonsai is your best bet. To help you grow your business, we automate and streamline your work process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PLA landscape architect, and what do they do?

Landscape architects play a crucial role in planning and building outdoor areas that satisfy the requirements of individuals and communities while promoting environmental sustainability. Depending on the project and scope of work, a landscape architect may be charged with various tasks.

What are the educational requirements to become a PLA landscape architect?

A Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture is the minimal requirement for landscape architects. To advance in this profession, you also need a master's degree in landscape architecture.

What are the key skills needed to excel as a PLA landscape architect?

Besides creative skills, a PLA landscape architect should possess excellent communication and verbal skills. Additionally, they should be familiar with 2D drafting and 3D modeling technology.

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