What does an Interior Landscape Designer do?

Advance Plants interior plantscape team

Are you considering a career as an interior landscape designer? Read this first. 

Advance Plants is South-East Queensland’s leading interior and exterior landscaping provider. Indoor plant design and hire, green wall design and construction, plantscape design, interior plantscaping—there are many terms to describe the interior work that we do. But put simply, our team brings greenery into corporate spaces.

Whether that’s indoor or outdoor, we have a unique service offering that includes either, or both. Making us a one-stop horticulture provider for Queensland businesses. 

Interior landscape design at Advance Plants

So it’s useful to know, our interior landscape designers work in a particular context with roles and responsibilities unique to our business. Notably, Advance Plants interior landscape designers sit within the Design and Client Relations team and have sales and account management responsibilities. 

Is this typical of the industry? Well, it depends. On the size of the business, volume of work and the complexity of the client’s request. Perhaps you imagine jumping straight from your trade course to complex indoor corporate staff gardens. If that’s the case, it may be helpful to understand that depending on the business you work for, design may only take up 20 per cent of your time while the rest of your time is spent in client and team meetings as well as project management. And then the type of projects you get to work on will vary depending on your experience level and client demand. 

To help, we interviewed two of our interior landscape designers about their roles. This is what they said. 

Interior landscape designers

Q. How do you describe what you do to family and friends? 

Kelli: Usually I say I am a landscape designer, because it’s a title they understand. The interior often throws people. Or I say something like “Commercial clients engage us to bring greenery into their spaces.” 

Sharon: *laughs* I don’t normally, I just say I transform spaces with greenery. 

Q: What qualifications do you need to be an interior landscape designer? 

K: None, formally. Although horticulture knowledge, a love of plants and interior design is helpful. I have a Diploma of Landscape Design from TAFE Queensland, but I would say I learned more on the job than I did in the classroom, and it wasn’t a barrier to entry. More, it demonstrated my passion for horticulture. 

S: You need to have a strong knowledge of plants, because you design to suit the place with species. 

Q. What attributes are most important for the job? (What kind of person would excel in this role) 

K: Someone that is creative, organised, able to work under pressure, good with people and problem solving. 

S: You need really great customer service and communication skills, a good eye for design and to be creative. 

Q. What does a day in the life of an interior landscape designer look like? 

K: No day is the same. But most of my days go something like this: emails, quotes, email emails *laughs*. When I say quotes, I mean visiting sites, talking to clients, listening to their needs, translating that into a design and providing a quote that is within budget and will work in their environment. I also research and source new products, as well and liaise with existing clients on their installation and maintenance agreement. 

S: Every day is different, that’s the beauty of it. Sometimes you’re out on the road, visiting client sites to design to suit and other times you’re at your computer answering emails and writing quotes. 

Q. What surprised you about the reality of interior landscaping vs what you imagined? 

K: The lack of design I think. Often, on the larger jobs, the landscape architect has already done the design and it’s our job to bring their vision to life in a more realistic way. In reality, a lot of our time is spent in client liaison and project management. 

S: When I first started, over 18 years ago now, it was a round pot or a square pot. Very basic. But the industry has evolved greatly since and I’ve evolved with it. We were one of the first indoor plant hire companies to do green walls in Queensland and I also began working with architects and designers to do joinery. So I guess I didn’t have any expectations of what it would be like, I just went with it.  

Q. What is the worst part of your job? 

K: Deadlines, unrealistic expectations from clients and supply shortages during the height of the pandemic. 

S: Finding stock (pots and plants). Particularly pots in the last year and half due to the pandemic. 

Q. What is the best part of your job? 

K: The jobs where you get to solve a problem, sourcing new products, meeting clients that also have a love for plants and researching trends in interior landscaping. I also love the autonomy of working here and that I get to manage my own time, it’s a good mix of people and design and I can still get my hands dirty if I want to (go to a nursery and pick out the plants). 

S: Seeing that transformation come to life. You can completely change the look of a place with greenery. 

Q. What advice would you give to people who are looking to get into interior landscape design? 

K: Demonstrate that you either have a history or a passion for design or plants. Like photographic evidence or a hobby Instagram or Pinterest page. It shows that it’s more than a fleeting comment you put on your resume and something that you are actually passionate about. 

S: Find out what the client wants first and then design to suit. You need to be both flexible and creative. 

Still interested? Advance Plants is always on the lookout for talented staff to join our team, submit your interest to us today. 

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