Working as a landscape assistant: Florence's story
Meet Florence. She's 22, from Hong Kong, and works as a landscape assistant. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.
How would you describe your job and your day-to-day tasks?
I'm just starting my first year of working as a landscape assistant. My duties involve working with design teams to produce master plans for landscape projects, mostly in London but sometimes overseas.
We go through the whole process – from designing the concept, to producing visualisations, to working on detailed design drawings for construction. We work for public areas, housing projects and parks, so we cover a wide range of projects.
Day to day, I work on 3D visualisation, producing detailed construction plans on the computer. I also produce reports during the planning process.
What skills do you need to be a landscape assistant?
You'll need presentation skills because you need to present your design ideas in reports and documents. Computer skills are really important, as you'll need to use lots of different software.
Communication skills are important because you'll need to work as a team and communicate with clients. You'll also need time management skills because you'll have deadlines and you'll need to meet them!
Some Geography subject knowledge is useful too because you are working with the natural environment.
How did you end up in this job?
I went to secondary school in Hong Kong then came to the UK for my A-levels. I studied Geography, Mathematics and Psychology. After that, I studied Landscape Architecture at university for three years because you need a bachelor's degree for this job.
I did some internships while I was studying. I did one in Hong Kong in a housing agency, and another in Japan, working on a rooftop garden.
When I finished my degree, I researched different landscape architecture firms who were doing projects that I was interested in, and sent them my CV and portfolio. I was offered an interview here and got this job.
Is this the job you always knew you wanted to do?
When I was choosing what to study at university, I was originally going to choose Geography. I changed my mind to Landscape Architecture because I wanted a professional qualification, and it still links to Geography, which I like.
When you're choosing your course at university, it's good to think about your future career, but doing something that you enjoy is also important.
Landscape Architecture is great if you are creative and like site visits
You don't need to be good at drawing to do this job – I didn’t do Art!
What to expect if you want to be a landscape architect
Florence is a landscape assistant. With experience, she could become a landscape architect.
- Landscape architect salary: £20,000 to £45,000 per year
- Landscape architect working hours: 35 to 40 hours per week
- Typical entry requirements: Doing a college course could help you to start out towards this career. Relevant courses could be a Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Landscape Construction or a Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Horticulture. You'll usually need at least four or five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course. You could then get a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification, which is recognised by the Landscape Institute (for example, in landscape architecture, garden design or environmental conservation). You'll usually need two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree.
It can help with your course application if you have some work experience in landscape architecture. This will also help you to decide if this is the career for you. The Landscape Institute has some useful information on how to get relevant work experience.
This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)