What's Involved

Landscape Architects work to provide innovative and aesthetically pleasing environments for people to enjoy, whilst ensuring that changes to the natural environment are appropriate, sensitive and sustainable.

The work covers diverse projects (both urban and rural) that range from designing the layout of parks, gardens and housing estates to city-centre design to improving land affected by mining or motorway construction.

A landscape architect collaborates closely with landscape contractors, as well as other professionals, especially architects, planners, environmentalists and people working in surveying and engineering functions.

Skills Required

To become a Landscape Architect, you will need good design/drawing skills including computer-aided design (CAD) as well as excellent communication and negotiating skills. 

You should also be creative and imaginative with plenty of enthusiasm. You should have a practical concern for the environment and be interested in conservation issues. Good observation skills and an eye for detail are also necessary.

Qualifications Required

Most landscape architects who plan to specialise in design start their careers by taking a recognised undergraduate course followed by a postgraduate diploma, accredited by The Landscape Institute (LI), which is needed in order to qualify.

Accredited subjects include:

  • landscape architecture;
  • garden design;
  • landscape design and ecology;
  • landscape planning;
  • landscape management.

If you have a first degree, you should be able to undertake a two year accredited postgraduate course (usually an MA) in landscape architecture.

For entry to an undergraduate course, you will usually need a minimum of two A-levels or their equivalent. Subjects such as geography, art, graphic design, environmental science, biology and maths are a particularly good foundation for landscape design. However, universities do not usually require 'set subjects'. Universities will take into account any qualifications you have obtained or relevant work experience, particularly if you are applying as a mature student.

For undergraduate applicants the average entry requirements are usually 280 UCAS points or two Bs and a C at A-Level. Some universities may have higher or lower requirements than this.

Salary Ranges

Starting salaries can be around £20,000 per year. Experienced chartered landscape architects can earn from £25,000 to over £40,000.

(This information is intended as a guide to average salaries only.)

Progression Routes

Around 55% of landscape architects work in private practice. Companies are often small and may specialise in certain types of landscape. There are a number of large multinational mixed practice firms who employ landscape architects, architects and engineers.

You could also find work with local authorities, the construction industry and voluntary organisations. There are increasing opportunities to work overseas, often in Europe, China, Australia and the Middle East.

With experience, you could progress to a supervisory or management position, become a partner in a private practice or set up your own practice.