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Landscape Architecture

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

With thorough knowledge of ecology, natural systems, human behavior, aesthetics and construction technology, landscape architects plan, compose and design all parts of outdoor spaces for human use, enjoyment and sustenance.

San Luis Obispo, California

Landscape architects require a breadth of knowledge in science and design. The five-year curriculum  provides in-depth knowledge and skills through hands-on studios on design theory and communication, site engineering, construction technology and aesthetic principles.

Landscape Architecture Curriculum

CAED Plot Center

The facility offers large-format plotting for individual as well as class-based projects.

CAED Shops and the Digital Fabrication Lab (dFab)

This complex hosts a metal shop, wood shop and fabrication lab that include laser cutters, computer numerical control (CNC) machines and 3D printers.

CAED Tech Support

The college provides technical support for various CAED computer labs, on-site printing and other computer related areas.

Concrete Yard

The concrete yard is an experimental assembly and project use area.

Dexter 252 Open Lab

This third and fourth-year design studio features an open-studio setting to encourage increased interaction and collaborative learning. This space also houses two computer clusters to teach courses that are complementary to the design studios.

Dexter Display & Review Spaces

In addition to access to the Berg Gallery and KTGY Gallery, the Landscape Architecture department has display and review spaces in the Dexter Building, such as the Fireplace Room, Second-Year Hallway and the Faculty Office Hallway. These spaces are frequently used for studio project reviews by faculty and practicing professionals.

Dexter Second-Year Design Studios

Three second-year design studios are equipped with individual workstation space, adjustable tables and storage carts. Students have 24/7 access to these studios.

Dexter Senior-Year Studios

Two senior studio spaces are equipped with individual work stations, storage carts and computers with 24/7 access.

Experimental Practices Laboratory

Located in Poly Canyon, this nine-acre outdoor laboratory has been home to large-scale structures designed and built by students since 1964.

Neel Resource Center (NRC)

The Paul & Verla Neel Resource Center (NRC) provides access to architecture and environmental design-related resources including books, periodicals, digital images, working drawings and material samples.

Photo Presentation Facility

The facility allows for a host of needs from document projects and preparing presentations to mounting drawings and digitizing images for website or other academic needs. The facility also supports the Architecture Department’s photography courses.

About the Program

Landscape architecture professors observe student work in the studio

The five-year professional Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program prepares you to apply creative and scientific principles to the research, planning, design and management of our world’s outdoor spaces.

The program is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) and recognized by the Landscape Architects Technical Committee of the California Board of Architectural Examiners. Because much of your time will be spent in the design studio, you will learn the technical skills needed to create and complete projects and have many opportunities for hands-on learning. The studios can focus on five different areas – design theory, natural environments, cultural environments, project implementation and interdisciplinary design. All areas of study require an internship and culminate with a senior design project.

The Landscape Architecture Department also offers a Shadowship Program to prospective students interested in learning more about the profession.

Learn by Doing

Our students spend a lot of time in the studio learning about the interaction between buildings and the surrounding land. This includes collaboration with other majors in order to practice working and communicating with the other disciplines you will be in contact with when you graduate. Internships are a requirement and allow you to work on real projects and focus on areas of practice that aren’t readily available in the classroom.

Landscape architecture students work on a collaborative project.

Design Public Spaces

Design city parks, plazas and other public spaces that are well planned and add beauty to their surroundings.

Landscape architecture 5th year student's studio is reviewed by faculty and peers.

Create a Large Scale Development

Design a large scale community development on 550 acres of land to present for review and feedback. 

California Impact

Digital rendering of a walkway at the Santa Clara River

Learn by Doing

Senior Projects

“A project like this might have been designed to highlight our students’ work as landscape architects,” says Bass, “but it also shows how they can learn to be graphic designers, or website builders, or employ their Cal Poly educations to solve problems...

Landscape Architecture Students Created Interactive Website
A group of four students stand next to a television screen as they present a PowerPoint presentation. A professor is sitting at the table in front of them, watching intently.

California Impact

Beating the Heat

This summer, a group of students are embarking on a groundbreaking project: mapping tree canopy cover in California.

Students Map California Tree Canopy to Cool Cities as Climate Warms
Structures dot the hills in Poly Canyon during Design Village in 2022


The Built Environment

The Built Environment

Our Graduates

Landscape architecture graduates are employed by professional offices of landscape architects, architects, planners and engineers, interdisciplinary offices as well as by city, state and federal agencies. 

They are typically hired by landscape architects and designers, city planners, Corp of Engineers, National Park Service, project managers, master planners and developers.

Major employers of graduates include SWA Group, Peter Walker and Partners, CMG, Stantec, LPA and Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. For graduate studies, our graduates have gone to Texas A&M, UC Berkeley, Pratt Institute and Harvard University.