Landscape architect


A landscape architect is a professional who is trained and licensed to work on outdoor spaces, with a focus on large-scale or public projects. They are skilled in planning and designing outdoor areas, considering both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the environment.

Here are some typical duties performed by landscape architects:

  • Conduct comprehensive site analysis, evaluating topography, soil conditions, climate, and existing vegetation to inform the design process.
  • Collaborate closely with clients to understand their vision, goals, and requirements, ensuring the design aligns with their needs and preferences.
  • Develop conceptual designs that integrate hardscape and softscape elements, considering factors such as circulation, spatial organization, and aesthetic appeal.
  • Integrate sustainable design principles, incorporating practices such as water-efficient irrigation, use of native plants, and eco-friendly materials to minimize environmental impact.
  • Create master plans for large-scale projects, considering long-term development, functionality, and the dynamic relationship between built and natural elements.
  • Develop detailed construction documents, including plans, elevations, and specifications, to guide contractors in the implementation of the design.
  • Oversee the implementation of landscape projects, coordinating with contractors, suppliers, and other professionals to ensure the design is executed accurately and efficiently.
  • Design public spaces, parks, and recreational areas that cater to community needs, promoting social interaction, accessibility, and cultural significance.
  • Contribute to urban design projects, addressing issues such as streetscapes, public plazas, and green infrastructure to enhance the quality of urban environments.
  • Work on projects involving preserving and restoring historic landscapes, ensuring the integration of modern amenities while respecting the site’s historical context.
  • Develop detailed planting plans, specifying plant types, quantities, and placement to achieve desired aesthetics and ecological functionality.
  • Communicate design concepts and plans to clients and stakeholders through presentations, visual aids, and 3D modeling.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to landscape architect:

landscape expert
landscape specialist
landscape design specialist
landscape engineer
landscape artist
landscapes architect
landscape design expert

Working conditions

Landscape architects work in various settings, including design studios, architecture firms, government agencies, and as independent consultants. The role involves a combination of office work, site visits, and client meetings.

Minimum qualifications

To become a landscape architect, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture is typically required. Professional licensure may be necessary, depending on the jurisdiction. Practical experience gained through internships, entry-level positions, or apprenticeships contributes to the development of landscape architects. Continuous learning, staying updated on design trends, environmental practices, and engaging with the broader landscape architecture community enhance the effectiveness of landscape architects. Strong creativity, technical proficiency, communication, and project management skills are essential for successful landscape architecture practice.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Landscape architect is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Landscape architect career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to landscape architect.

urban planner
interior architect
landscape designer
land planner

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of landscape architect.

  • Landscape architecture: The principles and practices used in the architecture and design of outdoor areas.
  • Green space strategies: The authority’s vision for using its green space. This includes the goals it wants to achieve, the resources, methods, legislative framework, and the time needed to meet them.
  • Landscape design: Understand landscape design and maintenance.
  • Aesthetics: Set of principles based on which something is appealing and beautiful.
  • Zoning codes: The division of land into zones where various uses and activities are allowed, such as residential, agricultural, and industrial activities. These zones are regulated by legislative procedures and local authorities.
  • Urban planning: Political and technical process that seeks to design the urban environment and optimize land use by considering various aspects such as infrastructure, water, and green and social spaces.
  • Architecture regulations: The regulations, statutes, and legal agreements existing in the European Union in the field of architecture.
  • Ecology: The study of how organisms interact and their relation to the ambient environment.
  • Landscape analysis: The methods of analysis and computation used in the design of outdoor spaces.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of landscape architect.

  • Advise on landscapes: Give advice on the planning, development and care of new and existing landscapes.
  • Design spatial layout of outdoor areas: Design the spatial layout and functional and architectural appearance of outdoor areas. Integrate green spaces, social spaces, and regulatory aspects in outdoor design.
  • Design landscape schemes: Design landscaping schemes and create scale models, according to specifications and budget.
  • Provide cost benefit analysis reports: Prepare, compile and communicate reports with broken-down cost analysis on the proposal and budget plans of the company. Analyse a project or investment’s financial or social costs and benefits in advance over a given period.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to products and services.
  • Specify landscape design components: Create design components and materials that are appropriate to the site, purpose and expected usage. Recommend plants and materials suitable to the scheme and within budget.
  • Integrate measures in architectural designs: Integrate measurements, taken at sites or included in the project, into the design and drafting of architectural projects. Integrate considerations such as fire safety, acoustics, and building physics.
  • Develop architectural plans: Draft a master plan for building sites and landscape plantings. Prepare detailed development plans and specifications in accordance with applicable laws. Analyse private development plans for their accuracy, appropriateness, and compliance with laws.
  • Manage landscape design projects: Make preparations for the development of parks, recreation areas and roadside landscaping. Prepare designs, drawings and specifications for such projects and estimate the costs.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of landscape architect. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Zero-energy building design: The design and building principle whereby the net amount of energy the building uses equals the amount of renewable energy it creates. The concept refers to self-sustaining constructions.
  • Energy performance of buildings: Factors that contribute to lower energy consumption of buildings. Building and renovation techniques used to achieve this. Legislation and procedures regarding energy performance of buildings.
  • Soil structure: Diversity of soil elements and types of soil in relation to plant growth.
  • Forest conservation: Understand forest conservation: the practice of planting and maintaining forested areas.
  • Plant species: The variety of plants, trees and shrubs and their special characteristics.
  • Historic architecture: The techniques and styles of various historical periods from an architectural standpoint.
  • Civil engineering: The engineering discipline that studies the design, construction and maintenance of naturally built works such as roads, buildings, and canals.
  • Energy efficiency: Field of information concerning the reduction of energy use. It encompasses calculating energy consumption, providing certificates and support measures, saving energy by reducing the demand, encouraging efficient use of fossil fuels, and promoting the use of renewable energy.
  • Characteristics of plants: The varieties, characteristics and structural and functional features of plants, depending on their habitat.
  • Landscaping materials: Field of information that distinguishes certain required materials, such as wood and wood chips, cement, pebbles and soil for landscaping purposes.
  • Horticulture principles: The standard horticultural practices, including but not limited to planting, pruning, corrective pruning, and fertilisation.
  • Flower and plant products: The offered flower and plant products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of landscape architect. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Liaise with local authorities: Maintain the liaison and exchange of information with regional or local authorities.
  • Carry out tendering: Place the request for a quotation to the organisation requesting a tender, then perform the work or supply the goods agreed upon during the tendering process.
  • Conduct land surveys: Conduct surveys to determine the location and features of natural and man-made structures, on surface level as well as underground and underwater. Operate electronic distance-measuring equipment and digital measuring instruments.
  • Advise on soil and water protection: Advise on the effects of soil and water management practices in controlling pollutant loss, nitrate leaching and reduce soil erosion.
  • Use manual draughting techniques: Use non-computerised draughting techniques to make detailed drawings of designs by hand with specialised tools such as pencils, rulers and templates.
  • Use geographic information systems: Work with computer data systems such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Promote sustainability: Promote the concept of sustainability to the public, colleagues and fellow professionals through speeches, guided tours, displays and workshops.
  • Use technical drawing software: Create technical designs and technical drawings using specialised software.
  • Communicate with local residents: Explain building and landscaping projects to local residents in order to obtain their approval and cooperation.
  • Operate landscaping equipment: Operate a variety of landscaping equipment such as chain saws, line trimmers, tillers, backhoes, bobcats, bed edgers, mowers, blowers, dump trailers, tillers, sod cutters, weed eaters, plant augers, and drills.
  • Build a product’s physical model: Build a model of the product out of wood, clay or other materials by using hand or electrical tools.
  • Finish project within budget: Make sure to stay within budget. Adapt work and materials to budget.
  • Create new landscape designs: Use creative ideas to conceptualize landscape projects by making designs, drawings and sketches. These designs consist of parks, highways or walkways and try to create a public functional area.
  • Create thematic maps: Use various techniques such as choropleth mapping and dasymetric mapping to create thematic maps based on geospatial information, using software programmes.
  • Use landscaping service equipment: Use landscaping service equipment for excavation, roto-tilling, ploughing, lawn fertilisation, flower planting. Use machinery like a power push mower, riding mower, gas-powered leaf blower, and wheelbarrow. Use hand tools including rake, shovel, and trowel, spreader, chemical sprayer, portable sprinkler system, and hose.
  • Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in creating, modifying, analyzing, or optimisation of a design.
  • Create GIS reports: Use relevant geographic informations systems to create reports and maps based on geospatial information, using GIS software programmes.
  • Provide technical expertise: Provide expert knowledge in a particular field, especially concerning mechanical or scientific subjects, to decision-makers, engineers, technical staff or journalists.
  • Assess environmental impact: Monitor environmental impacts and carry out assessments in order to identify and to reduce the organisation’s environmental risks while taking costs into account.
  • Coordinate construction activities: Coordinate the activities of several construction workers or crews to make sure they do not interfere with each other and to ensure that the works are done in a timely manner. Keep up to date on the progress of the teams and update the schedule if called for.

ISCO group and title

2162 – Landscape architects

  1. Landscape architect – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Txllxt TxllxT – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on January 24, 2024