What is a Landscape Architect?

Landscape architects engage with the complexities of urban and regional spaces to seek creative solutions to our global problems. They combine theoretical and practical skills to balance environmental and human needs. They engage with all layers of the landscape to find the best solution for the space, no matter the scale.

Much of the public may think the primary job of landscape architects is designing private gardens for houses but the truth is very different. Landscape architects typically work on larger scale projects most of which are public landscapes. Public park master planning and design is a common project for a landscape architect. These projects often require the design of key open space components such as play spaces, park furniture, trails and sporting facilities. The design of buildings settings is another common area of practice. These types of projects are more likely to be hospitals, schools community buildings and aged care facilities instead of a family backyard.

Landscape architects play a key role in the design and renewal of our cities. Projects include streetscapes, shopping precincts, constructed wetlands, coastal environments and infrastructure projects. These projects seek to create active and vibrant spaces for people as well as protecting areas of historic and environmental significance. The planning and design of these spaces contributes to the local identity which brings economic benefits to the local economy. Healthy, active communities are also created through the design of spaces for public events, relaxation, walking and cycling.

At university, landscape architects have an education spanning a broad range of fields such as design, ecology, geology, botany, urban planning, urban theory, construction, ethics and cultural resources. It’s with this broad knowledge that landscape architects are perfectly placed to become holistic coordinators for the future of our cities and places.

Landscape architects examine, resolve and articulate better ways to live in our complex, fast-changing world. They advance our cities and safeguard our natural environments - our world needs landscape architects now more than ever.

Working as a Landscape Architect

The main disciplines within landscape architecture are landscape design, landscape planning, landscape management, urban design and academia. A professional landscape architect has the skills and training to combine art and design and to consider physical, social, economic, political and cultural factors to generate creative solutions for our urban and natural environments.

Future employment prospects for landscape architects in Australia remain positive. In Australia, about 25% of landscape architects are self-employed, another 20% work for government and the rest tend to be in private practices, large and small. Landscape architecture is a profession that has experienced sustained growth in employment levels which is expected to continue in to the future.

Did you know, in 2011, approximately:

17.5% practiced in regional areas,

82% practiced in the eastern states,

40% were AILA members

See more info on the profession as per census statistics here.

Landscape architects may be employed to plan, design and project manage for public and private spaces such as single and multi residential developments, public parks, playgrounds, university and government campuses, shopping centres, golf courses, waterways, public gardens, roads and highways and industrial parks. Other areas of work include visual impact assessment, expert witness, natural and resource management, parks and wildlife, urban regeneration, townscapes and streetscapes.

After developing your skills and knowledge in the profession, individuals are able to apply for Registered Membership (with a two least two years’ experience after graduation) with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Registration provides the opportunity for landscape architects to continue their professional development through workshops and seminars and provides excellent networking opportunities.

AILA 2015 Salary Survey

The results of the surveys of employee salaries have been provided as an indicator of the salaries being paid. In 2015, there were 501 respondents. Note that there are some abnormalities with the figures however the graph portrays a true reflection of the received data.

Please note, amounts supplied indicate the full value of the base salary including superannuation but excluding other benefits such as:

  • AILA membership fees (almost half of the respondents have these feeds paid by their employer)
  • car or car related allowance including parking
  • additional annual leave
  • phone or internet allowance
  • club membership
  • additional maternity or paternity leave
  • child care
  • flexible working hours
  • paid overtime
  • profit share, dividend's and bonuses and
  • staff training/professional development.

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