We asked eleven landscape professionals, all at different stages in their careers, to tell us what inspired them to follow a career in landscape and what advice they would give to others. Their answers show the breadth of talent, experience and passion across the profession. They explain how they trained, what is important to them about the profession and how they would recommend it to others.

Alex Burton Profile

Alex Burton

Alex is a Chartered Member of LI and a landscape planner. He took a BSc in Geography at Newcastle University and an MSc in Geographical Information Management at Cranfield University.

What inspired you to study to become a landscape professional?

I really wanted to pursue a career that would make good use of the knowledge and skills I learnt during my BSc and MSc. It was a revelation when I discovered landscape planning perfectly blended my interests in geography and the environment.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

A Landscape Character and Sensitivity Assessment for Greater Manchester, Landscape Assessments and Mitigation for HS2, and a Green Belt Assessment for Shropshire.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love being outdoors and understanding how natural and human forces shape the landscape and how we perceive it. I am always armed with my camera!

How do you make your mark on the world?

I integrate my beliefs and ideals into the work that I do. I have opportunities to influence landscape and environmental protection, to work on projects that will help combat climate change, and to incorporate measures such as the planting of woodlands.

What trends do you predict for your industry in the next few years?

With the need to decarbonise the economy and problems with air pollution, we are entering a new golden age for the railways and other low-carbon means of transport. In our duty to protect the natural environment while enabling the development needs of society to be met, the landscape profession will play a vital role in making sure these major pieces of infrastructure are integrated within the landscape as sensitively as possible.

Why is the landscape profession important to the future of society and the environment?

It links the built and the natural environment. We play a vital role in making sure society has access to outdoor green space and the benefits to health and wellbeing that brings. We shape places and spaces, from urban, to rural to wild, from the very small to those that are vast in scale.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a landscape professional?

I’d advise them that, depending on the area you want to work in, you don’t always need a degree in landscape architecture to get involved, as you can learn many skills you need while you’re on the job. A background in geography, planning, environmental science or horticulture can be a good route in. It can lead to a very interesting and rewarding career. It allows me to work on a wide variety of projects that I feel proud to be a part of. The landscape profession is as much a vocation as a career. People in landscape really believe in what they do.