Landscape Architect Kaihoahoa Whenua

Landscape architects plan, design and advise on the construction of urban, rural, residential and public landscapes. They also manage and conserve natural or heritage landscapes and public open spaces.

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Landscape architects have the option of being registered with the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA). Graduates can enter a NZILA mentoring programme to become a registered landscape architect after two to three years of practical work experience and passing an oral examination. 

Landscape architects may do some or all of the following:

  • study sites to be developed
  • develop plans, sketches and models, either by computer or hand drawn
  • consult with the public about developments in their community   
  • work out costs for landscape projects
  • develop tenders for construction projects, for example of housing and street developments, and urban parks 
  • oversee construction works
  • advise clients on ways to restore and maintain outdoor areas
  • arrange for people to construct outdoor areas
  • provide landscape and visual assessments for resource consent applications.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for landscape architects includes:

  • draughting work
  • work with plants and gardens
  • building or landscape construction
  • planning or having an understanding of the planning system 
  • design work or courses
  • accounting, budgeting or costing projects.

Personal Qualities

Landscape architects need to be:

  • creative and innovative
  • practical
  • good communicators 
  • adaptable, with an eye for detail
  • able to inspire confidence in clients
  • able to work well under pressure.


Landscape architects need to have:

  • knowledge of design principles
  • excellent design and planning skills, including drawing skills
  • skill using computer-aided design (CAD) and desktop publishing software
  • an understanding of how people interact with their surroundings
  • knowledge of plants, water processes, soils and climate
  • knowledge of different construction methods and materials.


Landscape architects:

  • usually work regular business hours but may sometimes have to work weekends
  • work in offices or studios and on site
  • work in conditions that can be noisy and dirty.

Landscape Architects can earn around $44K-$60K per year.

Pay for landscape architects varies depending on skills and experience. 

  • Graduate landscape architects usually start on about $44,000 to 60,000 a year.
  • After two to five years' experience they usually earn between $45,000 and $90,000.
  • Senior landscape architects with five to 10 years' experience can earn $80,000 or more.

Landscape architects with more than 10 years experience and those who provide specialist services, such as representing clients in the Environment Court, may earn more than this. 

Source: New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, 2017. 

Landscape architects may progress to set up their own business, or move into management roles.

Landscape architects can specialise in a number of roles, including:

Landscape Architectural Advisor
Landscape architectural advisors give design advice to public service agencies and councils.
Master Planner
Master planners create new developments such as residential suburbs and redesigning urban environments to be more environmentally sustainable.
Parks and Open Space Designer
Parks and open space designers create gardens, parks, public streetscapes and playgrounds.
Resource Management Specialist
Resource management specialists prepare the information needed to meet council permissions for new urban and rural developments.
Urban Landscape Designer
Urban landscape designers create urban areas for both private and public use.

Years Of Training

4 years of training required.

To become a landscape architect you need to have a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture or a Master of Landscape Architecture from one of three programmes accredited by the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture (NZILA), or a relevant overseas qualification. 

Landscape Architect