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Landscape Contracting & Landscape Development

Program Highlights

The landscape programs at Cobleskill open up a world of opportunities in designing, shaping and sustaining the world around us – anywhere from green roofs, corporate campuses, urban parks, estates, and backyards. We have alumni who went on to establish firms, become executives and managers among some of the best of the best in the industry, all the way to being elected President of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). Cobleskill is 1 of 9 NALP-accredited bachelor level programs in the US and Canada. No other school in New York or New England is accredited by NALP.

Degree Options

Landscape Development, Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Landscape Contracting, Bachelor of Technology (BT)

 

Landscape contractors engage in the design, installation and follow-up care of the nation’s outdoor areas. From residential backyards to corporate headquarters, the professional landscape contractor is both artist and craftsman of the land. Guided by a great sense of service and a strong environmental ethic, the landscape contractor improves the places where people live, work and play.

Guided by a great sense of service and a strong environmental ethic, the landscape contractor improves the places where people live, work and play.

Getting Out there and Getting Dirty

Not every class is in the dirt, but we do get out there, get dirty and engage with the industry right from the start.

  • Yearly trip to the Green Industry Conference and Tradeshow – 20 plus acres of all things landscape
  • Annual participation in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition – a.k.a. Landscape Olympics
  • Field trips to sites, projects, and firms
  • Hands-on learning in classes and labs
  • Service learning projects (1-3 per year), real world projects and real clients
  • Extracurricular activities such as Landscape Club

Varied Classroom Skills

Landscaping is everything outside, so you need to know more than mowing the grass. Here is a sample of classes landscape students at SUNY Cobleskill partake in.

  • Surveying & Land Management
  • Soil Science
  • Entomology
  • Botany
  • Plant Pathology
  • Arboriculture
  • Construction & Irrigation
  • Landscape Graphics

 

  • Landscape Design
  • Contracts & Estimating
  • Business, Firm & Operations Management
  • Client Relations
  • Plant Identification
  • Plant Healthcare
  • Pest Management
  • Snow & Ice Management *Only school in US teaching it*

Your skillset is easily transplantable allowing you to take your career with you wherever life lands you. Job offers per student often exceeds 3-4 offers per student. Many offers are salaried with benefits. Many career networking options are available to students during their time in the program.

Opportunities within Landscape are Broad

  • Landscape Contracting
  • Landscape Design & Architecture
  • Landscape Management
  • Arborist & Tree Care
  • Irrigation Specialist
  • Snow & Ice Management
  • Estate Gardens
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Nursery & Material Sales
  • Turf & Lawn Care
  • Landscape Lighting
  • Landscape Water Features

Grafting Your Interests with Landscape

The landscape programs can help build & develop your interests.

  • Environmental Science + Landscape = Ecological Restoration
  • Natural Resources + Landscape = Urban Forestry & Arboriculture
  • Art and Design + Landscape = Landscape Architecture
  • Plant Science + Landscape = Estate & Public Gardens
  • Sustainability + Urban Living = Green Roof & Interior Landscapes
  • Working Outside + Business Admin = Landscape Business Development

 

Employment opportunities can be found at landscapeindustrycareers.org.

Students in the bachelor degree program are required to complete an extensive 600-hour internship (one semester) prior to graduation. Students will have the opportunity to locate an internship during the Green Industry Conference (when 30+ companies are on campus) or coordinating with any local, regional, or nationally recognized company.

Logan LargeteauLogan Largeteau
The Greenery, Inc. Hilton Head Island, SC
The Greenery Inc. is an employee owned full-service landscape company headquartered on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, with several other branches running up and down the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Being employee-owned, the employees care about the work they do because the success of the company determines the success of themselves and the worth of their retirement. Every week Logan was able to work in a different division of the company in addition to rotating around to almost all the branches. From commercial and residential maintenance, irrigation installation and troubleshooting, landscape construction, spraying and fertilizer application, administration management, business development, plant installation, and shadowing supervisors and account managers Logan was able to do it all. Logan spent most of his free time on the beach as The Greenery, Inc. provides housing for all their interns in a private condo located along the beach. For Logan, “the best part about this internship program is that every week you are at a new branch doing something different. If you don't like what you're doing, you just have to suck it up for that week. Also, the company is willing to work around your interest. You can tell them what you want to learn and they will put you in that division to learn.” Following graduation Logan would like to work for The Greenery, Inc. or another large company to gain more knowledge and learn the ways of the trade.

Cam ChambelainCam Chamberlain
Mariani Landscape, Lake Forest, IL
Located in the wealthy, northern suburbs of Chicago, Mariani Landscape provides full service landscaping to residential estates along the shores of Lake Michigan. Cam was given the opportunity to run a crew along with shadowing a client representative while working to maintain the landscape of gorgeous high-end lake front properties. Besides working on landscape maintenance, Cam also spent four weeks in the Mariani greenhouses preparing plants to be sent out to job sites. In his downtime, Cam played in a summer hockey league and attended many concerts and festivals that occurred in Chicago and nearby Milwaukee. To Cam, “the best part of the internship was seeing the difference between ‘mediocre’ landscaping and ‘high end’ landscaping. I learned about detail and quality, along with how to keep and deal with high end clients. What I learned most from working with Mariani was maintaining professionalism, while still enjoying and appreciating the work you do from day to day.” After graduation Cam would like to go back to the Chicago area and work as a client rep or property manager for a few years with the long-term goal of owning and running his own landscape firm in whatever region he sees to have the most potential.

Kat GregoryKat Gregory
Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service, Elliot, ME
Located along the coast of Maine, Piscataqua Landscaping and Tree Services prides itself in being one of the seacoast’s premier full service landscape companies. As part of her internship Kat was able to work on gorgeous homes along the ocean built with styles you see in magazines. Kat’s goal for her internship was to gain further experience working on hardscape construction. At Piscataqua, she was put into the construction section as a mason with a main focus of completing hardscaping tasks. With each project Kat was able to work from the planning stage to completion. This included surveying, excavation and installation of pavers, bricks and granite and in addition, Kat’s crew was tasked to plant and install garden beds. According to Kat, “The best part of my internship wasn't just one thing, but several: the people I worked with, the work we did and the location. The characters of the employees kept me smiling.”

Jared MalinoskiJared Malinoski
Elemental Landscapes, Voorheesville, NY
Elemental is a small landscape company that prides itself on its hardscaping and attention to detail. As an intern Jared expanded his talents working for the local company where he could balance school and other interests. Jared worked in conjunction with the company’s hardscape Foreman where he installed paver sidewalks, patios, and pergolas. Jared’s internship also provided special projects to showcase what he learned over the summer and his talents in woodworking and building. Jared is now working as a foreman for Skyview Landscapes in Waterford, NY.

Danyel BabcockDanyel Babcock
The Greenery, Inc. Hilton Head Island, SC
Danyel worked as the first female intern for The Greenery, Inc., an employee owned full service landscape company serving commercial and residential landscapes in South Carolina and Georgia. As an intern, Danyel was provided a scheduled rotation through all the departments in the company including retail, construction, estimating, maintenance, floral, irrigation, and administration. In addition to having a paid internship Danyel was provided housing by The Greenery, inc. on a private beach in Hilton Head Island. After graduating from SUNY Cobleskill Danyel returned to The Greenery, inc. as a full time employee.

A Landscape AAS or BT is not a dead-end for your education, there are existing pathways forward.

  • Bachelor or Masters in Landscape Architecture*
  • Bachelor or Masters in Horticulture or Plant Science
  • Bachelor or Masters in Ecology or Restoration Ecology
  • Bachelor or Masters of Business Administration

*SUNY Cobleskill has an existing agreement with SUNY ESF for our qualified graduates to receive guaranteed admission into their Masters of Landscape Architecture program. Learn more from the Center for Career Development >>

The image of a low paying menial dead-end job is pervasive and totally untrue.

All landscape jobs are poor paying.

F: Salaries for Management & Executives average 50-80K nationally. Salaries for specialized employees (Arborist, Designers, Project Managers and Account Managers) is 45-50K nationally. The average hourly wage for landscape labor is $12-15/hour nationally. Source NALP 2015

It’s just a summer job.

F: On average 68-85% of landscape firm employees are active year round. Most year-round employees include management, crew level leadership, sales staff and those with specialized training. Source NALP 2015

There is no money in landscaping.

F: The landscape services industry is worth 77 billion dollars consisting of more than 474,237 businesses. The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests that at least 5 to 10% of a home's value should be invested in landscaping and outdoor landscape amenities. Source IBISWorld 2015, ASLA & NALP

Landscapes are just boring yards and don’t matter.

F: The most popular tourist attraction in New York City is the High Line. Hospital rooms with a view onto nature or gardens speed recovery. Landscapes that engage visitors add value and bring nature into our lives; it takes designers, artisans, horticultural plant experts, project managers, arborists, maintenance teams to image, build and sustain them.

Why waste money on college to do landscaping?

F: Up to 62% of Executives/Owners and Managers have a college degree. Up to 50% of specialized employees have a college degree. Up to 77% of designers have a college degree. Only 3% of labors have a college degree. Only 3% of labors have a college degree. Having a degree allows you to fast track your career to acquire a manager position as opposed to working your way up over many years. Source: NALP 2015

Landscaping isn’t necessary and no one thinks it's important.

F: 84% of Americans think it is important to have a well-maintained yard. 84% of Americans also say the quality of a home’s landscape would affect their decision to purchase it. Source ASLA & NALP

You work outside, it’s not always a 9-5, you earn your stripes and do a lot of different jobs.

Okay, this one is totally true.

SUNY Cobleksill has Landscape Alumni all over the country working in every avenue of the landscape industry. Here is a small sample of our alums.

Brett LemkeBrett Lemke, 2002
Brett currently serves as the Vice-President of R.M. Landscape, a full service landscape firm based in Rochester, NY employing over 80 personnel, where he is responsible in overseeing all day-to-day operations and helps develop their landscape management division. Brett is heavily involved with the National Association of Landscape Professionals and currently serves as the President.

“Cobleskill prepared me not only for the profession I chose, but gave me confidence and the understanding on how to conduct business in the real world. We had so many opportunities to network with the industry that I felt very comfortable when I entered the work force. Cobleskill takes you beyond theory; we are shown how to succeed.”

Ed FurnerEd Furner, 2002
Ed serves as the Director of Customer Care at Mariani Landscape, a full-service landscape firm in Chicago, IL. Having annual sales over $400 million, Mariani Landscape employs 400 people during peak operations who provide services to more than 1,100 landscape management clients. As Director of customer Care, Ed accounts for $1.4 million in personal sales working with Mariani’s premier client base while also managing four sales teams who are responsible for $5 million in total yearly sales. Ed is currently serving in the last year of a five year commitment as Chair of the National Association of Landscape Professionals - National Collegiate Landscape Competition.

“Time management skills and life lessons from faculty prepared me for future success.”

Mark CarsonMark Carson, 2007
Mark currently works as the Senior Exterior Estimator for John Mini Distinctive Landscapes located in Congers, NY. John Mini Distinctive Landscapes provides cutting edge indoor and outdoor landscaping and holiday design to commercial and corporate accounts. John Mini Distinctive Landscapes employs 125 personnel and provides services to over 1,200 clients in the tristate area totaling $13 million in annual sales. Mark is responsible for developing project cost estimates including labor, materials, equipment and subcontractor needs by analyzing blue prints and specifications provided by both internal and external Landscape Architects or General Contractors.

“Every day I utilize so many fundamentals that were taught to me from the various classes and professors that I had during my time at Cobleskill. The one thing that was stressed to me and my class at the time, from all our professors, was not to limit ourselves. The opportunities within our industry are always growing. Employers search endlessly to find individuals educated within this field that are going to help them grow their business to the next level. This is something Cobleskill exceeds at teaching to their students.”

Doug HalseyDoug Halsey, 1990
Doug serves as Regional Vice-President of Ruppert Landscape Company. Ruppert Landscape is a full service landscaping company with yearly revenue of $120 million while employing 1,200 personnel to provide services for 2,100 clients from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Doug is responsible for managing the northern region of Ruppert Landscape, which includes seven branches throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In this role he helps lead the landscape management division, providing strategic vision and operational insight, and acting as a resource for branch managers in the areas of people development, training, customer services and profitability.

“The landscape program at Cobleskill has a great reputation with most of the companies in our industry because it produces some well-trained, hard working students who are prepared for the challenges that the business world presents.”

 

PLANET Professional Landcare Network

SIMA

New York State Nursery & Landscape Association