Landscape architects (or landscape designers) plan, design and manage open spaces and aim to provide aesthetically pleasing urban and rural environments. They can work on a variety of projects from designing parks and green space, to gardens and sports sites or improving construction sites.
The Landscape Institute (LI) suggest that, 'Landscape architecture is rooted in an understanding of how the environment works and what makes each place unique. It is a blend of science and art, vision and thought. It is a creative profession skilled in strategic planning, delivery and management. Landscape architects bring knowledge of natural sciences, environmental law and planning policy. They lead teams, engage stakeholders and manage conflicting demands. And they create delight with beautiful designs, protecting and enhancing our most cherished landscapes and townscapes. (Ref. Landscape architecture: a guide for clients, 2012.)
Landscape architects may work for; design consultancies, contractors, public bodies, local authorities, environmental consultancies, and so on. The role of a landscape architect can be varied and wide-ranging and can include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss landscape requirements.
- Undertaking site surveys to determine the potential of the site to meet the client’s expectations.
- Preparing and presenting design plans and working drawings using computer-aided design (CAD) packages or similar.
- Completing the landscape and visual sections of planning applications or Environmental Impact Assessments.
- Working closely with other professionals on projects.
- Providing evidence in public enquiries.
There are many academic institutes that offer landscape architecture courses and in order to become a qualified, professional Landscape Architect, it is usual to require a higher education qualification. A number of schools around the country are accredited by the Landscape Institute.
Typical courses include:
- Landscape architecture.
- Garden design.
- Landscape design and ecology.
- Landscape planning.
- Landscape management.
 Career progression
Typically following graduation from a landscape architecture course, an individual will go into a role as an Assistant or Graduate Landscape Architect. Within a few years of employment and with the correct experience, it is possible to become a Chartered professional through the Landscape Institute.
The Landscape Institute is the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape professionals. There are various levels of membership from student up to retired membership and it is also possible to become a chartered member. Chartered Landscape Architects can use the letters CMLI (Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute) after their name.
NB: Whilst use of the title ‘architect’ is protected under the Architect's Act 1997, the Act specifically does not prevent any use of the designation ‘naval architect’, ‘landscape architect’ or ‘golf-course architect’. However, only qualified members of the Landscape Institute may use the title 'Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute' and the designation 'CMLI'.
Members of the Landscape Institute are required to comply with a Code of Conduct. As part of this, they must maintain their professional competence by completing a minimum of 25 hours of continued professional development (CPD) per year. They are also expected to have adequate and appropriate insurance.
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