How to become a Landscape Architect. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Landscape Architect do?
Landscape architects, sometimes known as landscape designers, design, plan, create and manage landscapes, for example in public parks, areas around public buildings, reclaimed industrial sites, new roads and motorways, and housing estates.
As a landscape architect, you would:
- meet with clients to discuss their requirements
- survey sites to identify existing plant and animal life and natural resources
- get the views of local residents, businesses and other people who use the site
- present your design ideas to clients
- co-ordinate plans with other professionals such as architects, civil engineers and town planners
- use computer-aided design (CAD) packages to draw up options for clients to choose from
- write reports and make environmental impact assessments
- give evidence to public enquiries if necessary
- monitor the progress of projects
- draw up contracts and oversee the tendering process for contractors.
See the Landscape Scientist and Landscape Manager profiles for information on these related careers.
You would usually work a 37-hour, five-day week, but your hours could be irregular. You may have to work overtime to meet project deadlines.
When working on-site you would need to wear protective clothing such as a safety helmet.
You would be based in an office, but would travel to inspect sites and meet clients.
How much does a landscape architect earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries can be around £23,000 a year.
- Experienced chartered landscape architects can earn from £27,000 to over £42,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You can start a career as a landscape architect by completing either of the following qualifications:
- a degree in landscape architecture accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI)
- an accredited postgraduate course (if you already have a degree in a related subject, such as architecture, horticulture or botany).
To get onto a degree course you will usually need both of the following:
- two A levels or equivalent (subjects such as art, biology, botany and geography are particularly relevant)
- GCSEs including English and either maths or science.
You may also be accepted on some courses with an Access to Higher Education qualification, and colleges and universities will usually take into account any relevant work experience you have. You should check with them for advice about their requirements. See the LI’s I Want to be a Landscape Architect website for details of accredited courses and careers information.
When you have completed your course you will be eligible for licentiate membership of the LI. This means you can apply for relevant jobs and work towards chartered LI membership – see the training and development section below for details.
Training and Development
Many employers will expect you to have, or be working towards, chartered membership of the Landscape Institute (MLI). You will be eligible for this after completing mentored experience as part of the LI Pathway to Chartership (P2C), which usually takes around two years and involves:
- mentoring from a fully qualified member of the LI
- regular feedback from the Pathway supervisor
- a final oral exam.
As an MLI you will be expected to complete at least 20 hours’ continuing professional development (CPD) each year. See the LI website for details.
- Landscape Institute
Skills and Knowledge
- a creative but practical approach
- good design and drawing skills
- computer skills including CAD
- good written and spoken communication skills
- technical and scientific understanding
- concern for the environment and an understanding of conservation issues
- good observational skills and an eye for detail
- knowledge of the conditions for plants and wildlife to flourish
- negotiating skills
- the ability to work as part of a team or on your own initiative.
Around half of landscape architects work in private practice – companies are often small and may specialise in certain types of landscape. You could also find work with local authorities, the construction industry and voluntary organisations.
With experience, you could progress to supervisory or management positions, become a partner in a private practice, or set up your own practice.