As real estate and property prices spiral, construction companies, architecture firms, corporates and education institutions are ready and willing to pay top dollar to landscape professionals
With schools, colleges, universities and corporate offices and campuses countrywide going — or aspiring to go — green, careers and opportunities in landscape design are readily attracting environment-friendly youth, especially those with concern for rapidly deteriorating ecologies and environments. Landscape design is the art of regenerating flora and beautifying areas through disciplined utilisation of sculpture, water, foliage and flora in limited spaces.
Architects, aesthetes, and environ-mentalists are unanimous that landscape design is simultaneously a science and an art. A professional landscape designer needs a good grounding in biology and civil engineering. Recently it has emerged as a specialised field of study in which students are taught how to transform institutions, campuses, public parks, and civic areas into eye-pleasing and aesthetic spaces compatible with their surrounding environments.
Aspiring landscape professionals need to be imaginative and creative, and possess knowledge of horti-culture, hydraulics and lighting. The basic educational qualification required for admission into diploma programmes in landscape design is Plus Two (science). Higher secondary school leavers have the option to sign up for diploma or degree programmes in horticulture with specialisation in landscape design, or to enroll in a B.Arch programme with specialisation in landscape design. Knowledge of architecture is helpful as landscaping requires familiarity with construction material, plumbing and drainage.
Among the reputed universities and colleges of horticulture and agriculture are College of Agriculture, Pune; Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli; College of Horticulture, Rahuri; Rev. Carey Institute of Horticulture, Kolkata; Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan; Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur; Gujarat Agricultural University, Sardar Krushinagar; and Institute of Agricultural Sciences, BHU, Varanasi. Reputed architecture institutes include the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad; Sir J.J. School of Architecture and Planning, Mumbai; Anna University, Chennai, and the Chandigarh College of Architecture.
With India experiencing a prolonged luxury real estate and home const-ruction boom, there’s no dearth of demand for professionally qualified landscapists. Careers typically include employment or self-employment in garden and landscape design firms which require design technicians, managers and supervisors, in private and public gardens, historical gardens, nurseries, garden centres and parks. Garden designers tend to be self-employed and work with builders and landscape architects.
As property prices spiral, const-ruction companies, architecture firms, and school and college promoters etc, are ready and willing to pay top dollar to talented landscape professionals who through intelligent design, can boost property values multifold. Pay packets are good in this budding profession. A horticulture graduate starting as field manager or supervisor can expect Rs.4 lakh per annum and those with specialisation in landscape design can command Rs.5-6 lakh. After acquiring on-site experience most designers start their own companies and if they establish a good reputation, annual incomes could skyrocket.
“Qualified landscape designers are highly sought after within the best infrastructure and construction companies which are growing at 200-300 percent per year. Developing and beautifying every sq. ft. of land, has become a high priority in these corporates. Landscape experts are much in demand by hotels, leisure and wellness resorts, hospitals, multi-national corporates, government horticultural departments, among others,” says Jayendra Patil, promoter CEO of Jay Landscaper, a Mumbai-based landscaping and garden development firm with an annual revenue estimated at Rs.1.5 crore.
A horticulture graduate of Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Vidyapeeth, Dapoli with an advanced diploma in landscaping from Srujan Institute, Dombivili, Patil promoted Jay Landscaper in 2001. Today it is the largest landscaping firm in Navi Mumbai providing services to Sandoz Pvt. Ltd, Everest Infraprojects, and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation among others. The company devel-ops and designs landscapes, main-tains gardens, supplies indoor plants, garden equipment, waterfalls, fountains etc.
According to Patil, landscape designers have great career and growth opportunities if they work hard and are knowledgeable about biology, ecology and environmental issues. “Since gardening is my passion, I decided to make my career in this field. It was a good choice because it’s creatively satisfying and at the same time financially rewarding. My credo is to design aesthetically pleasing land-scapes which are easy to maintain,” says this focused and enterprising landscape designer with a green thumb.
Indra Gidwani (Mumbai)