A landscape architect designs and plans a range of different developments, including public spaces, residential schemes, transport routes and renewable energy sites, such as wind farms. They work with architects, town planners, civil engineers and other professionals to make sure their designs are sustainable and nice to look at.
You could be:
visiting the site to carry out a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA)
producing drawings of proposals for the site using computer-aided design (CAD) software
selecting suitable construction materials, street furniture and plants, allowing for likely weather conditions
taking into account safety factors, for example, separating pedestrian zones from busy roads, or creating open passages instead of underpasses
discussing drawings with clients and with other members of the design team: architects, planners, civil engineers and surveyors
putting plans out to tender, assessing tenders and selecting contractors
while work is ongoing, visiting the site frequently, monitoring progress and ensuring that completion is on schedule and to the correct specification
arranging long-term maintenance of the completed site
writing reports and giving presentations.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary for a graduate landscape architect is likely to be around £17,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £25,000 to £35,000 a year and those in a senior position can up to £45,000 a year, or more.
You work from an office, which may be a temporary building on a site.
You spend time on site, where conditions can be cold, wet, rough and muddy.
You travel over a wide area.
Occasionally you work long hours, particularly within the private sector.
You need a degree or postgraduate qualification which is recognised by the Landscape Institute.
The University of Edinburgh offers the only degree course in Scotland. For entry to BA Hons Landscape Architecture, you need 4 Highers at ABBB (first sitting) or 4-5 Highers at AABB to ABBBB, plus English and Maths or an approved science subject at National 5.
You should also be able to demonstrate artistic ability and show a portfolio.
Edinburgh also offers the only postgraduate course (MLA) in Scotland. For this you require a first or second class Honours degree (2:1) in a relevant area such as geography, planning or ecology.
They also offer a European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA). This programme is offered alongside four of Europe's other leading landscape architecture institutions giving you the opportunity to experience the daily life and culture of some of Europe's most diverse and exciting cities.
Successful completion of the BA Hons or MLA leads to Licentiate membership of the Landscape Institute (CMLI).
You would then undertake a period of mentored training while working as part of the Pathway to Chartership to become a Chartered Landscape Professional.
You should be familiar with computer-aided design packages such as AutoCAD.
A driving licence is useful.
You will find vacancies with local councils and private companies. Look on the Landscape Institute website for vacancies.
artistic ability including freehand drawing skills
To qualify as a member of the Landscape Institute you need to complete an accredited course (see 'Getting in' above).
To qualify as a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute (CMLI) you need to follow their 'Pathway to Chartership' programme. This takes place during professional practice and it usually takes one to two years to reach the final stage of an oral examination.
In order to retain professional status, CMLI members must commit to at least 25 hours Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year to keep up to date with current practice in the profession.
Visit the Landscape Institute's website for further information.
If you are working in the public sector there will be a defined promotion structure.
In the private sector you can become a partner or become self-employed, often as a consultant.