Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Career profile: Landscape architect

Career profile: Landscape architectDo you enjoy the outdoors, designing and caring for the environment? Then a career in landscape architecture could be just for you.

A what?

Landscape architects plan and design open spaces including inner-city squares, shopping centres, parks, coastline and countryside.

On the job

Whether they are transforming a derelict industrial area or designing a landscape to complement a heritage site, landscape architects aim to produce pleasant places to live, work and relax that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Typically, a landscape architect's job may involve working with clients to plan a project, surveying the site and investigating its natural resources and features, then consulting people who live and work in the area about the proposed development.

Following that they will use computer-aided design (CAD) packages to turn ideas for the project into plans. They will choose trees, shrubs and plants that will suit the land type and the needs of the site, make sure there is suitable access to the site for disabled people or families with pushchairs, and estimate the costs of constructing the landscape and maintaining it once it is complete.

Other work might also include giving presentations about the project to relevant groups such as council committees or clients, writing detailed reports, submitting plans and estimates to the client and, once work is underway, visiting the site to make sure the designs are being followed and work is running smoothly.

How much does it pay?

Salaries range from around £18,500 to £33,000 a year in public sector work, and may be higher in private practice.

How do I get there?

Most landscape architects have a degree or postgraduate qualification accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI). The LI website has a list of accredited courses offered by universities and colleges throughout the UK.

The minimum requirements for a degree course usually include two A-levels/three H grades, or equivalent qualifications. Subjects such as geography, environmental science, biology, and art and design are particularly useful. Admissions tutors may take previous relevant experience into account.

To gain a place on a postgraduate course, candidates need a good first degree. Subjects like environmental science, biology, geography, land-based sciences, landscape design, planning, soil science, forestry, engineering, agriculture and ecology are particularly useful.

Candidates are advised to check the specific entry requirements with individual institutions. There may be opportunities for part-time or flexible learning.

After successfully completing the course, students are eligible for associate membership of the LI. This is the first step to becoming a chartered landscape architect.

Related links