Landscape architecture - helping to design a beautiful world

Landscape architects work with a range of city and rural planners to create environments that are functional, sustainable and improve the quality of life for their inhabitants. As a landscape architect you will possess a wealth of skills at your disposal as the job requires a unique mix of art, design, botany, psychology and environmental studies. You will also need to be a good communicator and listener as you take on board differing perspectives from building architects, surveyors, developers and government planning bodies. There are few jobs that offer the opportunity to make such a positive and lasting impression on the landscape around us and you could be drafted in to help redesign anything from a wildlife visitor centre to regenerate land left over from a disused power station.
Landscape architects work on a variety of structures using both hard(built) and soft(planted) materials to create aesthetically pleasing environments that function with their surroundings.

become a landscape architect
Getting trained
Most people enter the industry after studying a degree at university or college. Ideally you should already have a strong interest in design, horticulture and geography. As well as a dedicated landscape architecture degree, applicants are taken from range of related fields such as land management, garden design and environmental design. Competition for each year's graduate training contracts is fierce; applicants with additional practical experience completed during their studies definitely have an advantage over their peers. Once in employment, you will then complete in-house training and external assessments as you work towards your chartered status.

Working life
Most of the jobs you'll work on will be project based which has the advantage of giving you a great amount of variety throughout your working life. No two projects are ever the same and each will require you to take a different viewpoint or even learn some new skills. Most landscape architects work a standard 9-5 daily routine however there may be times when additional hours are required to meet project deadlines. The job is also interesting because you will split your time between the office and on-site. You must be someone who enjoys the challenge of working outdoors in all weathers.

Pay and prospects
Landscape architects are well paid but for many people that's not the main motivation to enter this industry. As well as being financial rewarding the job offers a lot of job satisfaction in terms of helping to design and build an environment that people can enjoy and benefit from for years to come. Graduates on training contracts start on around $32,000(21,000) a year which rises with experience and chartered status. Experienced professionals working on big prestigious projects can earn over $90,000(60,000) a year. Plus it's an industry which is growing, new markets in Asia and Latin America are seeing a strong demand for qualified landscape architects to oversee projects.

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