The Low Down Landscape Architect

Article excerpt

The business Put Charlie Dimmock out of your mind. There is much more to landscape architecture than water features and gazebos. And it doesn't involve only the countryside. While architects design buildings, landscape architects design all the bits in between, including town squares, public parks, pedestrian precincts and private gardens. Some specialise in preserving coastline, rescuing derelict sites and restoring disused quarries.

And it is not all about design; landscape architects check soil, research which plants suit which design and make sure the finished product helps the environment and, well, looks nice.

The people Otherwise known as "landscape architects, actually", they constantly suffer from being mixed up with the ordinary type of architect or some sort of gardener.

The ideal landscape architect will have the design skills of Lord Foster and the green fingers of Alan Titchmarsh. Creative and caring in equal degrees, landscape architects are keen on horticulture, good on geomatics (the science of open spaces) and have a good grasp of building skills such as surveying and project management. A lot of the work involves the local community, so good communication skills are important.

The employers Like architects, landscape architects tend to work in small private practices, frequently setting up their own practice when they have enough experience. In addition, they work for local authorities, managing the open spaces in a town, city or tourist spots.They don't work alone; a large amount of their time is spent liaising with architects, engineers, town planners and site workers. Increasingly they take the role of lead consultants and control the development of a large area by managing the work of the other professionals involved.

The requirements To become a qualified landscape architect, you must take a similar route to that of an architect. GCSEs or A-levels, or their equivalents, in subjects such as design, geography, geology, ecology, physics, art and botany would be a good start. …