Landscape architect

Published on: 29 Sep 2009

A landscape architect designs open spaces such as gardens, public squares and parks.

They will often work alongside an architect on new build projects, providing the context for a new building. Landscape architects can also be responsible for the preservation of the natural environment and finding new ways to bring nature into the urban environment.

The landscapes created by landscape architects should be both sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. They may also be asked to carry out site studies and environmental impact assessments.

Kim Wilkie's Orpheus

Kim Wilkie's monumental 7m excavation called Orpheus at Boughton House in Northamptonshire

Landscape architects are represented by the Landscape Institute, the professional body that provides accreditation for landscaping qualifications and regulates the industry. The title "chartered landscape architect" is protected by law.

To qualify as a landscape architect, you will need to complete an accredited undergraduate or postgraduate degree and then begin the Landscape Institute's Pathway to Chartership which includes a period of mentored practical experience.

Most people will need to complete between two and three years practical experience before taking the final oral exam to become a chartered landscape architect.

A chartered architect will be able to use the initials MLI after their names, while fellows of the institute may use FLI.

Like architects, all landscape architects must complete 20 hours of continuing professional development each year to keep up to date with advancements in the profession.

Approximately half of all landscape architects in the UK work for private companies while the remainder work for local authorities, government agencies and environmental charities.

A landscape architect can expect to earn from £15,000 to £20,000 as an unqualified assistant and £25,000 to £45,000 once fully qualified, depending on experience and seniority.