landscape scientist

How to become landscape scientist

What does a landscape scientist do?

Landscape scientists apply their scientific expertise to practical landscaping problems. They are likely to be expert in areas such as botany, hydrology, geology, soil science, ecology or conservation. Landscape science is a specialist area within the field of landscape architecture.

Their work depends on their area of expertise and can involve:

  • ecological and habitat surveys
  • assessment of one particular species of wildlife or plant life
  • advising on planting and maintenance of a site
  • creating new habitats and environments
  • drawing up wildlife management plans
  • analysing soil
  • setting up and evaluating a conservation scheme.

Landscape scientists also advise on reclamation techniques and pollution management. They may be involved in evaluating the environmental effects of planning applications and providing evidence at public enquiries.

The work could include inviting tenders for landscaping work and maintenance contracts. Once a contract has been agreed landscape scientists may supervise the construction work to make sure that it is done on time and to the right standard.

They work closely with landscape architects/designers, landscape managers and other professionals, such as planners and civil engineers.

What's the working environment like for a landscape scientist?

Hours of work can be long and irregular, with evening and weekend work sometimes being necessary.

Landscape scientists spend a lot of time in an office or laboratory. Some outdoor work may be necessary, and this could be in all weathers.

Those who work in the private sector may spend a lot of time travelling to sites. They may occasionally have to stay away from home. A driving licence is usually necessary.

What does it take to become a landscape scientist?

To work as a landscape scientist, you should:

  • have an interest in the environment and conservation
  • have a strong interest in your area of expertise
  • have a practical approach to work
  • have creative ability
  • be physically fit for outdoor work
  • have good organisational skills
  • have an understanding of environmental and countryside law
  • be able to lead and manage others
  • have good communication skills
  • be able to negotiate
  • be capable of working alone and in a team
  • have business and financial skills.

Entry into this line of work is usually achieved with a degree or course that is certified with the Landscape Institution. This is the professional organisation for landscape architects. Alternatively, a postgraduate in a related subject such as design, natural science or even ecological conservation, this will also stand you in good stead. 

Landscape scientist career opportunities

Around half of all members of the Landscape Institution (LI) work in private practice - companies are often small and may specialise in certain areas of work. Landscape scientists also work in the public sector with local authorities, in large corporations, the construction industry, government agencies and voluntary organisations.

Landscape scientists can be employed anywhere in the UK. Some work for organisations that are involved in environmental concerns, such as English Nature, the Countryside Commission and Scottish National Heritage. Landscape scientists can also work in education.

Promotion to a senior or management job role is possible. Some may start their own business or go into partnership in private practice. It may be possible to work abroad, especially in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming a landscape scientist, that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Landscape Institute
33 Great Portland Street
Tel: 020 7299 4500

Lantra House
Tel: 0845 707 8007

Lantra career advice sites:

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
45 Southgate Street
SO23 9EH
Tel: 01962 868626

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