How to become a Landscape Scientist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Landscape Scientist do?
Landscape scientists apply their scientific expertise to practical landscaping (design or management) problems.
As a landscape scientist you would usually specialise in an area such as botany, geology, soil science, ecology or conservation. Your work would depend on your area of expertise, but could include:
- carrying out ecological and habitat surveys
- advising on planting and maintenance of a site
- designing and creating new habitats and environments
- drawing up wildlife management plans
- analysing soil, for example to assess the effects of pollution on soil function
- setting up and evaluating conservation schemes
- advising on reclamation techniques and pollution management
- evaluating the environmental effects of planning applications and providing evidence at public enquiries.
You would work closely with landscape architects/designers, landscape managers and other professionals, such as planners and civil engineers. Once a contract has been agreed you may supervise the construction work to make sure that it is done on time and to the right standard.
Your working hours could be long and irregular, sometimes including evenings and weekends.
You would be office- or laboratory-based but, depending on the area covered by your employer, you could spend a lot of time travelling to visit sites.
How much does a Landscape Scientist earn?
Salary and pay information:
- The starting salary for graduate landscape scientists can be between £21,000 and £27,000 a year.
- Qualified and experienced landscape scientists can earn up to and over £43,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To start a career as a landscape scientist you would need:
- a degree in landscape architecture accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI), the professional body for chartered landscape architects, or
- an accredited postgraduate course (if you already have a degree or substantial experience in a related subject such as landscape architecture or design, ecology or environmental conservation).
Visit the I Want to be a Landscape Architect website for details of accredited courses.
- I Want to be a Landscape Architect
To get on to a degree you will usually need:
- two A levels (subjects such as biology, botany and geography are most relevant), and
- GCSEs including English and either maths or science.
Check with course providers for exact entry details because alternative qualifications (such as Access to Higher Education course) and relevant work experience may also be considered.
When you have completed an accredited course you will be eligible for Associate Membership of the LI. This means you can apply for a relevant job 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 a period of supervised experience (part of the LI Pathway to Chartership), which usually takes around two years and involves:
- being mentored by a fully qualified member of the LI
- regular feedback from the Pathway supervisor
- a final oral exam.
As a member of the LI you will be expected to do at least 20 hours’ continuing professional development (CPD) each year. See the LI website for details.
- Landscape Institute
Depending on the area you specialise in, you may find it useful to work towards NVQ Level 4 in Amenity Horticulture or a Level 3 Diploma in Work-Based Environmental Conservation.
You could also join the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM), which would give you access to workshops, training and networking events. Contact the IEEM for details.
- Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
Skills and Knowledge
- concern for the environment
- an understanding of conservation issues
- technical and scientific knowledge
- good organisational skills
- research skills
- the ability to lead and manage others
- problem solving skills
- good communication and negotiating skills
- the ability to work on your own initiative and in a team
- IT skills.
You could find work within local authorities and central government departments, and with companies involved in building, civil engineering, mining, power supply and land reclamation. Around half of all members of the LI work in private practice – companies are often small and may specialise in specific areas of work.
You could also work with organisations such as the National Trust and English Nature, or in education.
With experience you could progress to a senior management role, or become self-employed and work as a consultant.