Landscape architects Job roles, responsibilities, descriptions and duties

Date of posting: 14 Jan 20

What are the job roles and responsibilities of an Landscape architects?

Landscape architects and designers advise on, plan, design and oversee the creation, regeneration and development of external land areas such as gardens and recreational areas, as well as residential, industrial and commercial sites. Essentially, they combine artistic skills with knowledge of human activity and the natural environment – and can help to protect and conserve the environment.

Their work includes:

  • creating plans, designs and drawings using computer-aided design programs

  • surveying sites

  • advising on matters to do with environmental conservation

  • discussing requirements with clients

  • writing reports

  • producing contracts and estimated costs

  • presenting proposals to clients for approval and agreeing time-scales

  • overseeing projects as they progress

  • seeking the opinions of locals, business and others who use the site

  • liaising with other professionals such as architects, surveyors, town planners and civil engineers

  • Landscape contractors normally undertake actual construction or maintenance work, with landscape architects or landscape designers retaining responsibility for the designs, overseeing the project and monitoring progress. Landscape architects normally work in an office and travel to sites as needed.

Within landscape architecture, it is possible to specialise in design, management, science, planning or urban design. Some will develop more scientific expertise in areas such as trees, water mammals or soil, for example.

Typical employers for landscape architects

  • Landscape practices

  • Construction and engineering consultancies

  • House-building companies

  • Local authorities

Qualifications and training required

You can only become a landscape architect if you have a relevant degree accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI),which usually takes the form of a three-year undergraduate degree plus a one-year postgraduate diploma in landscape architecture. However, if your undergraduate degree is in a subject such as art, geography, or horticulture, you can do a postgraduate ‘conversion’ masters lasting up to two years.

Once you are employed and have a year or two’s experience, you can work towards gaining chartership, a professional qualification.

Most landscape architecture students secure work experience or internships through applying speculatively to private landscape practices.

Key skills for landscape architects

  • Artistic flair

  • An interest in the environment, life sciences and knowledge of the conditions needed for wildlife to flourish

  • Creativity and imagination

  • Good verbal and written communication

  • Negotiation and leadership ability

  • An eye for detail

  • Lateral and spatial thinking

  • Drawing and IT skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design

  • Client management skills