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.

Sam Marshall Management trainee at the Greenbelt Group

Sam Marshall

Sam is a management trainee at the Greenbelt Group. He has an MA in Landscape Management, University of Sheffield.

What inspired you to study to become a landscape professional?

Both my parents being life time National Trust members, I spent a lot of my youth amongst landscapes and properties. This has shaped my passion for landscape both professionally and personally.

How did you train, what sort of work experience did you have?

Having studied graphic design at under-graduate level, I was taken on by Greenbelt as a graduate and have been nurtured in-house; my Masters at Sheffield has been fully supported by the company.

How do you make your mark on the world?

I strive for good-quality open space which can positively impact communities and the people’s lives within them. I like to think that my role in managing these spaces will preserve and shape their future for years to come, to the benefit of generations of people and our natural environment.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

My research project is to explore the management of Piet Oudolf’s landscapes in England; I have been observing management of five of these landscapes for nearly a year now and will be collating my results this summer. I am overseeing an ecological management plan on a section of open space along the River Cam which includes a diverse meadow and floodplain, semi-natural woodland and river corridor habitats.

I really enjoy the freedom this job creates, having the chance to explore the country and experience some truly beautiful places.
Sam Marshall, Management trainee at the Greenbelt Group

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I really enjoy the freedom this job creates, having the chance to explore the country and experience some truly beautiful places. Having the chance to work onsite, away from your desk can be very rewarding – sometimes I have to stop myself and appreciate some of the locations I get to work in.

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

I envisage more consciously designed green space and diverse, multifaceted green infrastructure that has a whole range of benefits. I would like to see the protection of public green spaces and parks, places which have a great impact on everybody’s lives.

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

As our towns and cities expand and develop we can improve our urban environment and our mental and physical well-being by introducing green infrastructure; we can address climate change, flood relief, noise and air pollution, improving a multitude of diverse habitats – the list goes on. This is a pivotal, exciting time to be working in the profession.

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

I would wholly encourage them to do so – in my experience the profession is a real mix of people, from all walks of life and backgrounds, who all share a passion for landscape and its specialisms. It’s an emotive profession in which there are some very passionate, talented people. You will discover a huge range of people all working under the landscape ‘hood’ – creatives, scientists, technical practitioners, and more, all finding a place within the industry.