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.

Lily Bakratsa

Lily is a landscape architect, architect and professional gardener. She took a Diploma in Horticulture at Capel Manor College, a Dipl.Eng. in Architecture at the University of Thessaly, Greece, and an MA in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield.

What inspired you to study to become a landscape professional?

Years ago, as a graduate in Architecture, I ran a participative design project with the inmates of a detention center in Greece. My brief was about redesigning the building that the inmates used to live in. Somewhere in the middle of the project, though, I realised that the inmates were far more interested in residesigning the courtyard, which was the only space where they could socialise. It was an experience that changed my view on buildings and encouraged me to shift into landscape architecture.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Residential schemes in London.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Involving a community in the design process.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

There are so many plants and only one life to learn about them all. And my memory is not excellent!

How do you make your mark on the world?

I am the founder of an educational enterprise, It’s All Green To Me, which aims to educate and inspire people to look at nature in creative ways, through art, design and horticulture activities. I started it on my own but along the way I found artists, gardeners, florists and horticulturalists that wanted to join. Museums, charities and community centres across London jumped on board, too. I hope this is going to be the beginning of something super creative, as creative as I initially dreamt of it to be.

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

I do not really follow trends but I can tell you that the industry would benefit from more people with good planting knowledge.

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

It is about finding ways to bring humans and nature together – as a London resident I feel this is really important.

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

It is all about trees and plants and how you can create spaces with them. Invest time on learning about them – it is totally worth it. And if you can go on a study tour of plants around the world, do it!