Job as a landscape architect

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Anna Peters is a landscape architect in London. Anna has always had a strong interest in art, and her inspiration to enter landscape architecture as a career came from her parents, who also work as landscape architects.

What is your role?

I plan and design external environments. In drawing up the designs, I consider 'soft' landscape elements, such as soil, water, grass, plants and trees, and 'hard' landscape elements, which includes features like roads, river walks, paths and walls.

What does a typical project entail?

There is no typical project. Projects can range from rural landscape planning to the design of city spaces and housing layouts, small-scale gardens, or even the lighting of a wall or the design and positioning of a bench in a street.

At the beginning of any project, I spend a lot of time outdoors getting a feel for the site. I study the character of the landscape, look at existing features such as trees or buildings and take photographs and measurements. I have to ensure that any new development fits in with the character and needs of the local area.

Who do you work with?

I work in a multi-disciplinary practice, with other landscape architects, planners, architects, urban designers and ecologists. We all work together as part of a creative team. For some projects I might work with artists, engineers and developers. In any project, strong emphasis is placed on the involvement of the local community and other interested groups.

What are your working hours?

Generally, I work 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Hours can be longer, but I don't mind because working hard as part of an enthusiastic team and producing high quality work is incredibly fulfilling.

What training have you received?

After graduating from university, I spent a year in Sydney working on some exciting projects including the design of the surroundings of prestigious housing developments on the coast, and the design of an outdoor performance space for an art gallery. Back in the UK, I've worked on a range of different design and planning projects both while doing my Graduate Diploma in Landscape Planning and Design and in my current job.

I'm following a two-year programme of professional training leading to qualification as a Chartered Landscape Architect through membership of the Landscape Institute. This includes taking part in additional training related to all aspects of landscape architecture, including planning, environmental legislation, construction law and professional conduct.

What do you enjoy most about your job as a landscape architect?

I enjoy working in a team with professionals from other disciplines, working on a variety of projects, learning new skills, solving problems, meeting new people, and having the opportunity to travel. I love the fact that my profession has influenced the way that I think and look at the world.

What do you like least about your job?

I don't always enjoy the administrative aspects of the work, or being on site when it's freezing cold and raining. It can also be frustrating that the landscape element is often given only a small proportion of a project's budget.

Anna's route to becoming a landscape architect

  • A levels
  • Degree in Landscape Architecture.
  • Worked for landscape and architecture practice in Australia.
  • Graduate Diploma in Landscape Planning and Design.
  • Working towards chartered status with the Landscape Institute.

Anna's tips

  • Try to look at your surroundings in detail and sketch what you see.
  • Work shadow a landscape architect. The Landscape Institute can give you details of landscape practices where you can gain experience and find out more about the profession.

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Salary of a landscape architect

  • Starting salaries for landscape architects are around 16,000 a year.
  • After two years they may earn about 23,000 a year.
  • Experienced landscape architects may earn 25,000, or more.
  • Salaries for successful individuals are often higher in private practice.

How to become a landscape architect

  • The usual way to become a landscape architect is to do a relevant degree or postgraduate course accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI). Entry to the undergraduate course is usually with a minimum of two A levels/three H grades, and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) or equivalent. Subjects such as geography, environmental science, biology, and art and design are particularly useful.
  • This is followed by a period of practical experience working in landscape architecture, normally lasting two years. Landscape architects need to take the LI's professional practice examination (PPE) in order to gain chartered membership status.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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