Case study

Chartered landscape architect — Bethany Gale

Bethany took a direct path into landscape architecture by studying both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the subject

How did you get your job in landscape architecture?

I started studying architecture and switched after my first year, when I decided landscape was more for me. I like the sustainable aspect of landscape architecture and find it inspiring to be working with something that's living and changing - not only over the years but also throughout the seasons.

I found my current job advertised on the Landscape Institute (LI) website after finishing my Masters degree.

What's a typical day like as a landscape architect?

I now work for BDP as part of the urbanism team, which is a mix of landscape architects, urban designers and planners. In 2014, I was given the chance to work out in Christchurch, New Zealand, for four months on a post-earthquake redevelopment project.

I'm now working on a new children’s hospital in Dublin, which is the largest health infrastructure project in the history of Ireland.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Everyone is becoming more interested in the environment and realising its importance, not only for sustainability but also for the health and wellbeing of people, so I think it's a great profession to be starting out in.

It can also feel really worthwhile in terms of helping people. For example, the new children's hospital I am working on at the moment is about creating playful, safe places for children to experience nature and also creating distracting environments for the parents and siblings of sick children. The development is additionally providing calm areas for staff to break away from the stress of the hospital.

What are the challenges?

The main challenge is to understand what the client wants from the design and to really sell your ideas.

Sometimes clients have very tight deadlines for you to meet and so it's about realising what you can achieve in that time.

How relevant is your degree?

Completely relevant, both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees directly prepared me for this profession.

What are your career ambitions?

I became chartered last year and so I plan to keep building on my experience and work my way up.

What advice can you give to others?

Try to get work experience in the field you want to study if you can, either before you start your course or during. It can help you figure out if it’s really what you want to do and also start up a network of contacts for when you finish.

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