Landscape Architect

Landscape architecture in local government is all about places and spaces.  A landscape architect could be involved in designing any number of outdoor areas, from an inner city park or urban regeneration project, to a woodland play area or a historic garden.  Local government landscape architects are employed in most large councils, usually within the parks, leisure or cultural services department.

Work Environment
Local government Landscape Architects are usually office based, but generally do a significant amount of outdoor work too.  Hours of work are usually a standard 37 per week.

Daily Activities
Local government Landscape Architects plan, design and manage outdoor spaces that are fit for purpose, attractive and sustainable.  They regenerate and develop old, neglected landscapes and design and create new ones.

Their duties might include some or all of the following:

  • agreeing a design brief with clients;
  • preparing drawings, sketches and cost estimates;
  • developing detailed design proposals and health and safety plans;
  • preparing tenders and contract documentation;
  • writing technical reports;
  • carrying out site visits to make surveys or supervise works in progress;
  • keeping accurate records of designs, costs and monitoring visits;
  • providing landscape advice to colleagues within the council, for example, to planning officers regarding the impact of planning applications and redevelopments;
  • working in partnership with other professionals during the design and implementation process, for example, engineers, architects and planners;
  • dealing with enquiries and consulting the public about new landscape design projects.

A local government landscape architect's work will depend on their location.  In rural areas the emphasis might be on agricultural, forest and tourist landscapes, whilst in urban areas the work is often concerned with the regeneration of public housing areas, road works, parks and other recreation areas.
Skills & Abilities
Local government landscape architects need:

  • graphic design and IT skills;
  • communication skills;
  • accuracy and attention to detail;
  • creativity and innovative problem solving skills;
  • report writing skills;
  • project management skills.

Entry Requirements
To become fully qualified you need to become a full Member of the Landscape Institute (MLI).  You should start by gaining a degree accredited by the Landscape Institute.  Entry to an undergraduate degree is usually with a minimum of two A-levels or equivalent.  Postgraduate courses are available for those who already hold a first degree.  A list of accredited university courses is available on the Landscape Institute website.  Once you have successfully gained your degree, you will also gain Associate Membership of the Landscape Institute.  If you have gained relevant work experience rather than the accredited degree, you may also be able to gain Associate Membership.

In order to work towards your full MLI, you need to complete the Pathway to Chartership.  This is about developing knowledge and experience through professional practice.  Individuals progress at their own pace on the pathway, but most people need about two years before they are ready to complete the final oral exam, the successful achievement of which, leads to full MLI status.  Once you become an MLI, you have the right to use the title Chartered Landscape Architect.  However, continuous professional development is required throughout your career in order to ensure your skills are up to date.
Future Prospects & Opportunities
There is a clear professional development from Associate to Full Member of the Landscape Institute.  Those with more experience may progress into senior/principal landscape architect roles.  There may also be opportunities to progress into management, either within the landscape design department, or more widely across other local council departments, such as architecture, building control and planning.

Further Information & Services
Architectural Association School of Architecture
British Association of Landscape Industries
Landscape Institute
The Association of Professional Landscapers

Careers Wales have produced a Spotlight article on careers in construction:

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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