Landscape Manager

The Job and What's Involved

Landscape managers specialise in planning, developing and maintaining open spaces. They ensure that developments are suitable for their intended purpose and advise others on the long-term care and development of the landscape.

They work on a wide range of landscapes, including:

- Nature conservation areas and wildlife parks
- Historic gardens
- Woodlands (including those used for recreation)
- Motorway verges
- Public parks
- Housing estates

Depending on their employer and the type of landscape they specialise in, landscape managers may have different job titles, including countryside and green space, parks and woodlands officers, reserve wardens or rights of way officers.

Landscape managers rarely carry out the practical work involved in caring for the land, but they use their knowledge of plants and the environment to advise on the long-term care and development of the landscape. Tasks vary from job to job, but may include:

  • Deciding on appropriate sites for features such as footpaths, seating, litter bins, picnic areas and play areas.
  • Devising maintenance and management plans to make sure essential jobs, such as clearing vegetation from footpaths, are carried out on a regular basis.
  • Overseeing the work of employees and contractors.
  • Financial planning and budget management.
  • Keeping up to date with relevant legal issues.
  • Conducting surveys and tests to monitor the quality of the environment.
  • Assessing the impact of any proposed change of land use.
  • Advising on planning applications and public enquiries (for example giving an opinion on the environmental impact of a new road).
  • Meeting landowners to discuss plans for land with shared borders.
  • Promoting the use of open spaces to the public.
  • Applying for grants and other funding.
  • Writing reports and giving presentations.

Landscape managers may work closely with landscape architects and landscape scientists, town planners, conservation officers, engineers, parks officers and horticulture specialists.

Landscape managers working in the public sector usually work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. This may include evening meetings, and additional hours may be required to meet deadlines. Those working in private practice may work longer, more irregular hours. Part-time or flextime work may be available.

Landscape managers are usually based in an office and may spend a lot of time attending meetings. Some jobs involve traveling to sites and working outdoors in all weather conditions. Walking, often over rough ground, and some climbing may be required.

It may be necessary to spend periods of time away from home. A driving licence may be useful.

The starting salary for a landscape manager in the public sector may be around £20,000. With more experience this could rise to between £24,000 and £30,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Landscape managers are employed by a number of organisations, including local and national government, and charitable organisations such as the National Trust and Natural England. Some work for companies involved in building, civil engineering, mining, power supply and land reclamation. Landscape managers may also work in private landscape practices. There are opportunities throughout the UK.

Vacancies are advertised in the local and national press, on the website's of the Landscape Institute (LI), the Landscape Design Trust and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), and in specialist sector publications. Local government jobs are advertised in jobs bulletins, on the website's of individual local authorities, and at www.lgjobs.com.

Education and Training

The requirements for getting into a landscape management role may vary.

There are no specific qualifications required for this role but competition is fierce and many have a degree or HNC/HND in a subject such as environmental science, biology, surveying, geography, ecology or countryside/environmental management. Candidates may also benefit from experience gained through voluntary or temporary work. It may be possible to start in a more practical role (for example, as a landscape assistant) and, after training and experience, apply for jobs in landscape management.

The Diploma in environmental and land-based studies available at Levels 1, 2 and 3 may also be advantageous. These new qualifications for young people focus on practical skills, knowledge and understanding in environmental and land-based studies and may prepare individuals for a career or further study (at college or university) within the sector. To find out more about the new Diploma in environmental and land-based studies visit www.diplomaelbs.co.uk .

The Diploma in environmental and land-based studies will be available nationally from 2013. However, from 2009, it will be available in a number of different areas of the country.

Some landscape managers have a degree or postgraduate qualification accredited by the Landscape Institute. Its website has a list of accredited courses offered by universities and colleges throughout the UK.

The minimum requirements for a degree course are usually two A levels and five GCSE's (A*-C), or equivalent qualifications. Subjects such as geography, environmental science, biology, and art and design are particularly useful. Admissions tutors may take previous relevant experience into account.

For a postgraduate course, students need a good first degree. Subjects such as environmental science, biology, geography, land-based sciences, landscape design, planning, soil science, forestry, engineering, agriculture and ecology are useful.

Candidates are advised to check specific course requirements with individual institutions. There may be opportunities for part-time or flexible learning.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Training varies according to the employer, and may be through internal and external courses as well as on the job.

Local government employees have regular job appraisals at which individual training needs are identified.

Licentiate members of the LI may follow the Pathway to Chartership (P2C) to become a full member of the LI. During this time, licentiates are mentored by a fully qualified member of the LI. The Pathway is flexible, allowing associates to progress at their own speed. However, it usually requires two to three years' professional experience before licentiates are ready to progress to the oral examination which is the final stage of the Pathway. Upon successful completion of the Pathway, licentiates can become full members of the LI.

Full members of the LI are expected to undertake at least 20 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) a year to keep their skills up to date.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A landscape manager needs:

  • To be knowledgeable about plants and the environment.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • To be well organised and able to prioritise a number of different tasks.
  • Leadership and management skills.
  • A practical approach to work.
  • To understand the law in relation to the environment and countryside.
  • Good negotiation skills.
  • Business and budgeting skills.
  • Physical fitness if they are involved in outdoor work.

Your Long Term Prospects

Promotion prospects vary from employer to employer. In local government, there is a structured career path through to supervisory and managerial roles. In other organisations, it may be necessary to move to another employer to progress.

Successful landscape managers working in private practice may be made a partner in their organisation. Some experienced landscape managers become self-employed and set up their own practices. There may be opportunities to work overseas.

Get Further Information

British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI),
Landscape House, Stoneleigh Park,
National Agricultural Centre, Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Tel: 0870 770 4971
Website: www.bali.co.uk

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management,
45 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH
Tel: 01962 868626
Website: www.ieem.org.uk

Landscape Institute (LI),
33 Great Portland Street, London W1W 8QG
Tel: 020 7299 4500
Website: www.landscapeinstitute.org

Lantra, Lantra House,
Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry CV8 2LG
Tel: 024 7669 6996
Websites: www.lantra.co.uk
and for careers information www.afuturein.com

GROW your own career in Horticulture
Website: www.growcareers.info

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