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Landscape architect: job description

Landscape architect: job description

Landscape architects and designers advise about, plan, design and oversee the development and construction of external land areas such as gardens, parks and recreational areas and residential, industrial and commercial sites.
Public sector work generally provides higher salaries and a more structured career path.

What does a landscape architect do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Their work includes:

  • surveying sites
  • discussing requirements with clients
  • writing reports
  • creating plans, designs and drawings
  • using computer-aided design
  • producing contracts and estimated costs
  • presenting proposals to clients for approval and agreeing time-scales
  • overseeing projects as they progress
  • liaising with other professionals such as architects, surveyors, town planners and civil engineers

Landscape contractors normally undertake actual construction work, with landscape architects or landscape designers retaining responsibility for overseeing building work and monitoring progress. Landscape architects normally work in an office and travel to sites as needed. They may also work on projects overseas.

Typical employers for landscape architects

  • Private consultancies
  • Local authorities
  • Construction employers

Vacancies are advertised in a variety of publications including local authority jobs lists, Opportunities, national newspapers, Architects' Journal and Building Design as well as their respective websites. The Landscape Institute Directory of Registered Practices can provide useful contact information for networking and speculative applications.

Qualifications and training required

A four-year undergraduate degree accredited by the Landscape Institute is necessary for entry into the profession. Students from other degree disciplines may take an accredited postgraduate course. However, there is often strong competition for postgraduate course places, so a degree in a subject such as surveying, horticulture, architecture, planning, civil/structural engineering or geography can be helpful. A minimum of one year's relevant experience is also normally necessary.

Key skills for landscape architects

  • Good verbal and written communication and negotiation
  • Excellent technical skills
  • Drawing and IT skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design
  • Creativity and imagination 

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