Visualisation of Milton Street in Sheffield by 3rd year student dom lewis

The Landscape Profession

What is Landscape Architecture?

Landscape architecture is about creating and conserving memorable places for people to live and work in. It embraces all scales in both town and country, from individual streets to national parks. It requires a flair for creativity, an ability to fuse diverse knowledge to produce imaginative yet workable solutions, and a passion for improving environmental quality and people´s lives.

Landscape Architects carry out a wide range of projects, and it is their knowledge and skills in site evaluation, design creativity, planning, planting and construction which enable them to tackle complex projects at different scales. This may involve the location and design of new settlements and road networks or alternatively major urban regeneration schemes such as the London Olympic site, Cardiff Bay and Manchester City Centre. Here the Landscape Architect is part of a team working with Architects, Engineers, Planners and Surveyors. They may also be involved in much smaller projects, perhaps working with a local community in order to improve the school grounds, or with a private client to design a garden. It is the potential diversity of work and its multidisciplinary nature which makes the profession so interesting and stimulating.

Professional History

Landscape Architects are part of a well-established profession with their own chartered institute, The Landscape Institute, which was founded in 1929. The profession has a long history which includes well known figures like Capability Brown, Humphry Repton and Joseph Paxton. Paxton, who worked on the nearby Chatsworth estate, was also responsible for designing Britain´s first public park at Birkenhead in 1846. These pioneers may not have called themselves Landscape Architects but they shared the same enthusiasm for the subject and understood its tremendous potential.

Like today´s professionals they also brought to the discipline their special knowledge and skills of working with landform, plants and hard materials. The profession is a growing one with over 4500 (registered) members. To become a member of the Landscape Institute students need to attend and complete an accredited course at one of the dozen or more courses available in the UK. Following this a period of mentored professional experience must be completed, under the Landscape Institute´s Pathway to Chartership.

Careers

Student in computer roomOur courses equip graduates to contribute across the breath of the landscape profession. Though many choose to focus on design, others progress to specialise in landscape ecology, strategic planning and policy, or undertake higher level academic research.

Some landscape architects will focus on local, community-based projects and others work internationally. Projects can range from large-scale urban and countryside planning to small-scale design in parks or city centres.

Demand for graduates is high, and there are opportunities in private sector consultancies, community development agencies, local authorities and national government. Increasingly, there is international recruitment of Landscape Architects, and we have graduates working in many countries, including Australia, US, South East Asia and the Middle East. Sheffield students are keenly sought after by the profession. Practitioners make a point of visiting the end of year degree shows and also write directly to the department advertising their vacancies.

In the past, landscape was often marginalised in development decisions, and many schemes show the problems of giving insufficient attention to outdoor space. But policies and practices are changing, and the importance of outdoor space, and how it contributes to successful places, is increasingly acknowledged. At Sheffield, we believe landscape should be at the centre of creating, regenerating and conserving urban and rural environments. We aim to produce graduates who are confident in working alongside other professions and can ensure that landscape is a prime consideration. Our degrees are based on solving real-world problems that require landscape considerations to be designed into the solutions from the outset.