Landscape architects, sometimes known as landscape designers, are responsible for designing, planning, creating and managing landscapes in a variety of settings - both urban and rural. Projects could include public parks, woodland or other habitats and areas around public buildings. Assignments may also include working on reclaimed industrial sites, new roads and motorways or on city housing estates.
Work begins by liaising with the client and identifying their requirements. A site survey is undertaken to evaluate existing flora, fauna and natural resources. The survey may include the views of local residents, businesses and other people who use the site.
Landscape architects may co-ordinate their plans with other professionals working on a project, such as architects, civil engineers and town planners. Using computer-aided design (CAD) packages, several plans with alternative options may be drawn up for a client to choose from. A lot of work goes into drawing up plans, writing reports and making environmental impact assessments.
On some projects, presentations to clients and others who may be affected, will be required. Giving evidence to a public inquiry may also be necessary.
Landscape architects have responsibility for monitoring a project as it progresses. They may also have to draw up contracts and oversee the tendering process for contractors doing the work.
Landscape architects normally work a 37-hour, five-day week, but the hours can be irregular. They may have to work overtime to meet project deadlines. Landscape architects spend around three-quarters of their time in offices, either at a desk or in meetings with other professionals and the public.
Protective clothing may be necessary when working on-site.
Many jobs involve extensive travel and a driving licence is often required.
To work as a landscape architect you need:
Around half of landscape architects work in private practice - companies are often small and may specialise in certain types of landscapes. They also work with local authorities, large corporations, the construction industry, government agencies and voluntary organisations.
There is a clear career path in local government. In other organisations, it is often necessary to change employer or location to gain managerial responsibility and to broaden experience. Senior positions are limited in number as landscape architecture is currently a fairly small profession, although it is developing. In private practice landscape designers may progress to become partners or set up their own practice.
There is also scope for self-employment, teaching and lecturing.
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