Case study

Graduate landscape architect — Rose Walker

Rose discovered a preference for the planning side of landscape architecture, so has taken jobs with a focus on this element of the job

How did you get your job in landscape architecture?

While at university I always did better at the planning side than the design so when I graduated and saw an advert for a job in Devon focused on planning, I jumped at the chance. I was an assistant landscape officer and assessed planning applications from a landscape point of view. One was for a wind turbine on a cliff top; another meant I had to hike up Dartmoor for the day.

Now I'm in my second job, working for AECOM.

What's a typical day like?

There are 200 people in our office and I'm part of a team of three landscape architects. I work with a lot of local authorities, the highways agency and private developers.

One of the things we do is landscape and visual impact assessments. The visual part of the analysis is looking at what the impact would be if a certain building was built: from where will it be seen and who is it going to affect. Then we need to see how it is going to change the landscape. For example, if there are loads of green fields and we put a lot of houses in, how much is that going to make the site feel like an urban place rather than a rural place?

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like the fact that I can work with local authorities and developers to influence the way that a place is improved; to achieve better solutions together.

The best thing about being a landscape architect is the chance to make a difference.

What are the challenges?

Some people work in their own bubble and don't think about the wider issues. It's good to poke them and say, hang on a minute, what about the landscape?

How relevant is your degree?

Very relevant - to enter this profession you need to have a degree that’s accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI). I studied a BA in landscape architecture with town planning, followed by an MA in landscape architecture.

What are your career ambitions?

My career ambitions are to take on a more senior management role, with a small team and to also get involved with public inquiry work.

What advice can you give to others?

The best advice I can give is to get involved with a professional body like the LI, it's a great opportunity to meet other professionals and students can join. I've met so many great people through my involvement with the LI and have had some fantastic opportunities as a result.

Find out more