Landscape Architects are responsible for the design and planning of internal and external open spaces such as streets, squares, public parks and outdoor and indoor landscaped gardens. They design for both private and public clients and work in both natural and urban environments.
Landscape Architects undertake planning on a large scale, for example residential and commercial estates, open space systems, sport facilities, golf courses, beach and recreational facilities, tourist developments, urban design projects, general land use planning and community parks and open space systems in previously disadvantage areas.
Landscape Architects undertake studies such as Environmental Impact Assessments, visual impact assessments and surveys of environmental aspects such as vegetation, topography, soils, climate, views, circulation patterns, existing structures, services and cultural landscapes. These assessments assist in the planning process to determine the feasibility of the site for certain activities.
Landscape Architects are designers of open space that are trained to evaluate the natural and social characteristics of a site. The environmental expertise is unique among design consultants. It enables them to design an area to make the most of its natural resources. Their training includes urban environments that enable them to undertake urban open space and land use planning projects.
Design commences with an analysis of social and environmental factors but includes a creative process where the designer generates an artistic product. Designs are drawn out as plans and sketches for the client and ultimately cost and detailed for construction purposes. Landscape architects supervise the implementation of their designs on site and are responsible to produce all the drawings and specifications to make this possible.
Landscape works constitute an enduring investment. Entrusting the design to a suitably trained Landscape Architect results in quality product that meets social needs and contributes to a sustainable environment.
Landscape Architects take responsibility for the successful completion of landscape works and environmental projects. They manage the design and implementation process to the best interest of their clients.
Landscape Architects develop design solutions to fit the budget of their clients. They prepare estimates of what proposals will cost and ensure that they are implemented cost-effectively, by calling for competitive tenders from reputable contractors. The preparation of detailed documents to manage the implementation process help to avoid unforeseen expenses during installation.
On landscape development projects, the landscape architect’s fee is usually fixed at a percentage of the contract value.
Landscape Architects work on an hourly rate on projects where a contract value is not applicable or before the contract value has been determined.
A letter of appointment can be used for minor works. For larger projects contract agreements that outline the responsibilities of both parties during the course of a project, are required. The Professional Consultants Services Agreement Committee has prepared a suite of documents to regulate the Client/Consultant Professional Services Agreement including documents for Landscape Architects.
In South Africa there are currently three institutions that offer accredited programmes (by SACLAP) in Landscape Architecture. For some courses maths and science are a prerequisite, while other courses offer possibilities for those with a different undergraduate qualification to do a Professional Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. All degree courses are full time.
To become a Professional Landscape Architect a professional Master’s degree is required by the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP). Landscape Architects must register as a Candidate Professional Landscape Architect with SACLAP, once they have obtained an accredited professional Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. After a minimum period of two years working under a Professional Landscape Architect they can submit a report and portfolio for consideration into the Professional Examination that is offered once a year. Please click here for further information: www.saclap.org.za/downloads/
The University of Pretoria offers a three year full time degree course, BSc(LArch), as the first of two degrees required for admission into the profession of Landscape Architecture. The BSc(LArch) degree is preparatory to the BL(Hons) (minimum 1 year full time) and ML(Prof) (minimum 1 year fulltime) degrees. The University of Pretoria also awards research Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Landscape Architecture. For further information, contact Nico Botes (Academic enquiries: Prospective Students, Department of Architecture) the Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria at Tel: +27 12 420-4600, Fax: +27 12 420-2552, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the webpage.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology offers a Diploma in Landscape Architecture.
The Secretary: Denise Daniels, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Landscape Technology Programme, Bellville Campus, Tel: (021) 959 6512, Email: email@example.com
The Programme in Landscape Architecture at UCT offers two one-year qualifications in landscape architecture, the BLA (Hons) and the MLA. Graduates from the programme meeting the required criteria can register with the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Professions (SACLAP). The University of Cape Town also awards research Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Landscape Architecture. For further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website.