Landscape architects: job role explained
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Landscape architects aim to improve the quality of the environment by designing and managing the open spaces around us. They combine artistic skills with knowledge of human activity and the natural environment to design public areas in towns, cities and the countryside. They:
- use computer-aided design packages to model and experiment with designs
- visit, survey and analyse sites that could be developed
- draw up plans for how the space could be developed in the longer term
- help to protect and conserve the environment
- deal with clients and work alongside other construction professionals.
Landscape architects tend to work for specialist landscape architectural practices, environmental consultancies, transport planners and large engineering consultancies. There are also a few vacancies in the public sector.
It’s a good choice if…
- You are creative.
- You are good at art and biology.
- You like the outdoors.
- You want to help protect the environment.
To become a landscape architect, you need to study a degree approved by the Landscape Institute. This is usually a three-year undergraduate degree plus a one-year postgraduate diploma in landscape architecture. But you can study a one- or two-year postgraduate degree instead if your undergraduate degree is in a subject such as art and design, geography, the environmental sciences, engineering, biology or horticulture.
Most universities do not specify A level (or equivalent) requirements but the Landscape Institute suggests that the following subjects would be good choices: art, design, graphics, chemistry, physics, biology, English, technology, ICT, or history. Some universities may ask you to have art to at least GCSE level.
The Landscape Institute is currently looking to develop landscape apprenticeships.
Landscape architects work towards a ‘professional qualification’ known as chartership when they start working. This is an on-the-job qualification that tells the world that you are qualified to a high standard. It is awarded by the Landscape Institute. You will be expected to know about it when applying for a job.