If you are interested in design and the environment around you, consider a career in landscape architecture
Landscape architects create the landscapes and plan, design and manage open spaces including both natural and built environments. Their work provides innovative and aesthetically-pleasing environments for people to enjoy, while ensuring that changes to the natural environment are appropriate, sensitive and sustainable.
Collaborating closely with other professionals, they work on a diverse range of projects in both urban and rural settings. From parks, gardens and housing estates to city-centre design, sporting sites and motorway construction.
Landscape professionals typically work across five main areas:
As a landscape architect, you'll need to:
For experienced landscape architects, the financial rewards may be higher in the private sector, especially if partner status is obtained.
Income data from the LI. Figures are intended as a guide only.
Working hours may fluctuate. There is a standard 37-hour, five-day week, but evening and weekend working is not unusual. Hours are likely to be particularly irregular when working to a tight deadline. Shifts are rare.
Landscape architecture is a chartered profession and the first step towards getting chartered status is to ensure that you have reached Masters level on a higher education course accredited by the LI.
Courses are available in areas such as:
Search for postgraduate courses in landscape architecture.
For students looking for an undergraduate degree, courses typically last four years, with an option of taking a year out to undertake paid work experience. If you already have an undergraduate degree that isn't accredited by the LI, you can still enter the profession by completing an LI-accredited postgraduate conversion course. These courses generally last between 18 months and two years full -time, however, there are part-time options available. Applicants to the conversion course do not need to have studied a related undergraduate degree but should have a keen interest in design and the environment.
The undergraduate and postgraduate courses lead to Licentiate Membership of the LI, which is the first step towards becoming chartered. Landscape practices are very supportive of graduates undertaking their pathway to chartership.
All students on LI-accredited courses or those with a particular interest in landscape architecture are encouraged to sign up to be a student member of the LI. As a student member, you will gain access to events and professional networks and receive a Student News quarterly email and industry update. Students on accredited courses who take up student membership will receive an automatic upgrade to licentiate membership when they graduate. Becoming a member of the institute demonstrates your commitment to the profession.
Find a full list of LI accredited courses on the Be a Landscape Architect website.
You will need to have:
Relevant pre-entry experience is desirable as it shows your interest and commitment to the landscape profession. Some courses include industrial placements but if yours doesn't, consider finding vacation or part-time work.
Anything in a landscape-based area will be useful, as will any work that involves design or creative skills. Volunteering projects linked to the environment can also help.
To organise a work placement or visit to an organisation, use the Landscape Institute's registered practice directory to locate practices in your area and get in touch about work and experience opportunities.
Typical employers of landscape architects include:
In the public sector, landscape architects tend to work for environmental agencies, local authorities and government agencies. There are also opportunities with voluntary organisations.
In the private sector, landscape architects are largely employed by architect and landscape architect companies, or by companies specialising in landscape engineering.
Look for job vacancies at:
A number of recruitment agencies specialising in architecture, environment and construction advertise vacancies for landscape architects. These include:
After successfully completing an accredited undergraduate or postgraduate course you will be eligible for Licentiate Membership of the LI.
This is followed by a period of mentored experience, which is carried out while you work, as part of the Pathway to Chartership (P2C). Successful completion of the P2C leads to chartered status and full membership of the LI.
Once you have full membership, you will be known as a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute and can use the letters CMLI after your name.
The P2C develops your knowledge, understanding and professionalism in landscape architecture and ensures that you have the required competencies for chartered status.
Most people need between one to three years working on the P2C in professional practice before moving on to the final stage, which is an oral examination, but everyone progresses at their own pace.
When you become chartered you are required to carry out a minimum of 25 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) a year. This can be gained in a variety of ways and the LI has details of CPD days and other useful events on its website. For those at the top of the profession, there is the opportunity to apply for Fellowship level membership with the LI.
The ways in which you can progress your career as a landscape architect include taking on greater responsibility, taking charge of projects, managing a team or becoming a specialist in a certain area. The rate of progression will depend on how ambitious you are and how quickly you acquire additional knowledge and skills.
The most important landmark, demonstrating that you are a fully qualified landscape architect, is obtaining chartered membership of the LI. Landscape architects with strong commercial awareness may progress to leading consultancy roles.
With experience, you could eventually become a partner in a private practice, or set up your own business. To be successful in private practice, you will need a good client and contact base as well as excellent experience, knowledge and skills.
Lecturing at higher education institutions is an alternative career option, or possibly one you could do part time to complement other work.