How to Become a Landscape Architect

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects create unique, aesthetically pleasing, sustainable open spaces. They work on an array of projects in both urban and rural settings, depending on their specialism.

A landscape architect works outdoors to design and create outdoor spaces. They aim to develop beautiful, practical, and sustainable environments with whatever space they have. 

Landscape architects collaborate with other professionals and work on a range of projects. Some of the places that they work include parks, gardens, housing estates, city centres, or sporting sites. 

There are five types of landscape architecture. Every landscape architect will eventually specialise in one: 

  • Landscape design
  • Landscape management
  • Landscape planning
  • Landscape science
  • Urban design

The duties of a landscape architect vary depending on their exact job title. However, they include: 

  • Designing a range of concepts in urban and rural settings. 
  • Using their expertise to do preliminary studies of the site. Here they will look at the soil, ecology, contours, roads, buildings, and its specific heritage. 
  • Assessing environmental impacts. 
  • Collaborating with other professionals who will be involved in the project, as well as locals living in the area. 
  • Preparing plans for the new site.
  • Creating a proposal for presentation to the relevant board. 
  • Making contracts and dealing with budgets for contractors. 
  • Overseeing the work while it is done. 

Most landscape architects have an undergraduate degree in a relevant topic: this could be conservation management, landscape architecture, landscape management, or urban planning. If the candidate does not have a relevant undergraduate, they can do a postgraduate conversion course. 

Countries generally require landscape architects to be accredited. Some undergraduate courses are, and postgraduate conversion courses include accreditation. Applicants to undergraduate or postgraduate courses should have a keen interest in design and the environment and be able to prove this.

Work experience demonstrates a candidate’s enthusiasm for landscaping. Undergraduate courses tend to include placements involving landscape architecture. If a candidate is not able to secure a placement, experience of anything landscape-based is beneficial. Furthermore, some experience that demonstrates their design and creative skills will help to ensure roles. Candidates could also consider volunteering, perhaps in a community garden. 

Candidates should demonstrate a variety of soft and hard skills to acquire landscape architect positions. They should be creative yet practical; they should be able to use their creativity to solve problems about outdoor spaces. Design and drawing skills are essential, in particular, computer-aided design. 

A genuine concern for the environment and conservation is essential, as is a degree of empathy – both for the planet and for any civilians who may be affected by new developments. Landscape architects should also exhibit strong communication and negotiation skills, as they will need to do both in their day-to-day work. 

Observation abilities and a good eye for detail are essential. Landscape architects will be working on complicated projects that will require every detail to be met. 

A range of companies, in both the public and private sectors, hire landscape architects. Typical employers include construction companies, local authorities, public bodies, and water companies. Landscape architects will spend a lot of time outdoors, but also some in the office. When working outdoors, landscape architects will be expected to work in any weather condition.

Once a landscape architect is chartered, more opportunities will open up to them. Most landscape architects eventually become a specialist in a particular area. They may then have the opportunity to manage a team of people. With the appropriate amount of experience and contacts, some landscape architects go into creating their own consultancy or becoming self-employed.

What degree is most commonly held by a Landscape Architect?

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelors Degree Landscape Architecture

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: High
There are lots of opportunities available all over the world for experienced landscape architects. Plenty of spaces are developing and searching for more creative, environmentally-friendly ways to use areas. Candidates may have particular luck finding work in Europe and the Middle East, where these opportunities are often present.  

What is the Salary of a Landscape Architect?

Experience Average salary | year
Landscape Architect 1-3 yrs $42,098 £23,897 $30,000
Manager (Landscape Architect) 3-5 yrs $70,000 £32,400 $39,076
Senior Landscape Architect 5-10 yrs $114,235 £40,000 $58,098

What skills are needed to become a Landscape Architect?

  • Landscape Architecture
  • AutoCAD
  • SketchUp
  • Landscape Design
  • Urban Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Site Planning
  • Urban Planning
  • Microsoft Office
  • Photoshop
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • InDesign
  • Comprehensive Planning
  • Parks
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Landscaping
  • Design Research
  • Streetscape
  • Sustainability
  • Site Plans
  • Land Use Planning
  • Illustrator
  • Project Management
  • Submittals
  • Garden Design

Landscape Architect Courses

Candidates wanting to become a landscape architect will find taking extra courses advantageous. These will help them learn about the profession and show commitment to the discipline. At FutureLearn, we have some courses that can help kick start a landscape architect’s career.
  • Enhancing the Quality of Urban Life: Fifteen Winning Projects of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

    Find out how we can improve life for people in cities by looking at award-winning architecture projects from across the globe

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