How to become a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects plan and design land areas for projects such as parks, schools, roads, sports complexes, holiday resorts, shopping centres, national parks and playgrounds.

Personal requirements of a Landscape Architect

  • Analytical and planning ability
  • Aptitude for design
  • Creative flair
  • Good communication skills
  • Enjoy the natural environment
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Landscape Architect

To become a landscape architect you usually have to study a landscape architecture degree at a university accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). Alternatively, you can study a related field, such as design, followed by a postgraduate qualification in landscape architecture. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to submit a portfolio of work and demonstrate freehand drawing ability and computer skills. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in landscape architecture. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects may perform the following tasks:

  • study and discuss designs, costs and construction of projects with clients
  • talk to architects, engineers and other professionals, and gather information on factors such as historical and natural conservation requirements, soil structure, drainage, rock features, existing and proposed buildings, and sun and shade movements
  • draw up site plans outlining site development, discuss plans with clients and seek approval
  • prepare specifications, arrange cost estimates, list building materials required and detail working drawings of the site, showing features such as location of buildings, roads and walkways; land contours and drainage systems; soil conservation measures; and the vegetation to be planted, retained or removed
  • investigate the heritage of sites and make plans for the management of open-space areas
  • use computer and video simulation packages to develop broadscale landscape plans
  • supervise site work
  • advise on landscape problems concerned with environmental planning.

Working conditions for a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects may work independently or with other professionals such as architects, engineers and town planners.

Employment Opportunities for a Landscape Architect

Most landscape architects are employed in small, private consultancies or by private businesses with architects and town planners. The remainder work in federal, state, territory and local government agencies. Many landscape architects establish their own practices.

Additional Information
Membership of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects is beneficial to those practising as landscape architects. Registered membership is gained by completing an accredited course, undertaking at least two years of practical experience and passing the corporate entry procedures set by the institute. Contact the institute for more information.
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