Landscape Architect

hat work is involved?

  As a landscape architect, you would work to preserve the natural scenery and ecology of an area while creating attractive settings for construction projects such as housing developments, roads, parks, play areas, offices or industrial buildings. You might also work on preserving parts of the coastline, rescuing derelict factory sites or restoring disused pits and quarries. You could specialise in countryside issues or you could focus on urban projects. Whatever the particular project, you would hold discussions with your clients to find out what the job is about, make visits to the site to carry out surveys and then draw up plans and projected costs.
  Once these have been agreed, you would visit the site from time to time to check that the landscaping work is progressing smoothly. In order to produce workable design solutions, you would need an understanding of topics such as civil engineering, surveying, geology, horticulture and earth-moving techniques. Indeed, you would usually be part of a team including architects, civil engineers, town planners and construction technicians.

pportunities for training

  There are two possible routes to qualification: a degree in landscape architecture or postgraduate study after taking a degree in a related subject, such as architecture, horticulture or botany accredited by the Landscape Institute. The higher degree can be taken straight away or, on a full- or part-time basis, after you have spent some time in related work.
  Being a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) is the recognised professional qualification in landscape architecture. To achieve this chartered status, you must first attain licentiate membership by completing your first degree or postgraduate course and then gain at least two years' approved practical experience on the Pathway to Chartership (P2C) before taking the Institute's professional practice examination.

equirements for entry

  The minimum requirements for degree entry would normally be two A level/Advanced Higher, three Higher or equivalent qualifications, plus supporting GCSE/S Grade passes at 9-4/A*-C/1-3, which should include English and either maths or a science. The Landscape Institute regards subjects such as art, biology, botany and geography as particularly relevant, although you should check with university prospectuses to be sure of exact entry requirements. You would also be expected to show a portfolio of artwork, including landscape designs, to provide evidence of your creative potential. For entry to a postgraduate course, you would need a good first degree.

ind of person

  You would need a genuine concern for the environment, an understanding of conservation issues, creative vision, good drawing ability and excellent communication skills. You would almost certainly use a computer for your design work and would need a reasonable standard of IT literacy. Good organisational and negotiating skills would be very important for working as part of a team. Inspecting construction sites can be demanding physically, so you would need to be reasonably fit.

road outlook for the future

  The growing emphasis on sustainable development offers the prospect of increased demand for landscape architects but, like the construction industry generally, landscape architecture has highs and lows reflecting the state of the national economy. Although until quite recently the sector enjoyed a period of healthy growth, there is at present concern that Brexit may cause the economy to slow down considerably, and with it opportunities for architects of all kinds.
  About half of all landscape architects work in private practice for small firms or consultancies. Other major employers include local authorities and government agencies such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Countryside Council for Wales and environmental charities such as Groundwork.
  There is a formal career structure in the public sector, with corresponding security, but many landscape architects prefer to move to private practice when they have some experience, in order to develop their ideas more freely.

elated occupations

  You might also consider: countryside/nature conservation officer, environmental consultant, surveyor (general practice), forest/woodland manager, horticultural manager, town planner, civil engineer, architectural technician/technologist or architect.

mpact on lifestyle

  You would need to be prepared to go on site in all weathers but you would usually spend less than a quarter of your time outdoors. Far more of your time would be taken up with deskwork and meetings. Landscape architects working in private practice are likely to spend quite a lot of time travelling, undertaking commissions around the country.
  In the public sector, you would normally work a basic 37-hour week, whereas private practice is more likely to include long and irregular hours, often involving evening and weekend meetings with clients.

arnings potential

  According to the Landscape Institute, the most common salary range for chartered members is £30,000 to £49,999. Just over 61% of those responding to the latest survey indicate that their salary falls within this range.
  More than three quarters of licentiate members say their salaries are between £20,000 and £29,999.
  While many public-sector landscape architects have seen reductions in their team, department or organisation in the past 12 months, there are signs of strong employment rates and indications of growth in salaries in the private sector.

urther information/valuable websites

  Landscape Institute
  British Association of Landscape Industries
  Society of Garden Designers
  Irish Landscape Institute