What is a Professional Landscape Architect and How do I become one?

i want to be a landscape architect

Firstly, let’s clarify what Landscape Architecture is: According the University of Pretoria’s description, “Landscape architecture is the science and art of the design of outside areas for the use and enjoyment of people. Parks, game reserves, recreational areas and marinas are only a few of the environments which the landscape architect designs. They create urban oases in the form of plazas and pedestrian routes, and design environments around shopping centres and residential developments. The landscape architect can join a private firm, start an own business, or accept employment in central, provincial or local government in departments that handle water usage and research, forestry, environmental matters, sport, recreational and fishing areas, and nature conservation.” (https://www.up.ac.za/faculty-of-education/yearbooks/2017/pdf/programme/12132019 accessed on 4 February 2019)


The first step to becoming a landscape architect is to study a course in landscape architecture at an accredited institution. At the moment in South Africa there are only two institutions that offer this course: the University of Pretoria offers a three year undergraduate programme (BSc LArch) and two year post graduate programme (BLHons and ML(Prof)) and the University of Cape Town offers a two year postgraduate programme (BLHons and ML(Prof)). Sadly, there is talk that the University of Pretoria is planning to close the undergraduate programme down.

Once you have completed the course you need to register as a candidate with SACLAP (South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession). SACLAP is the governing council that oversees the Landscape Architectural Profession. A candidate will then work under a mentor (registered professional landscape architect) for a number of years learning and gaining experience until they feel competent enough to write the professional exams. A portfolio also needs to be submitted and SACLAP will grade individuals and promote them from candidate landscape architects to professional landscape architects according to this assessment and their exam grades.

Once registered, a professional landscape architect is required to pay professional fees and submit CPD documentation on an annual basis. Certain projects can only be carried out by professional landscape architects.


Institutions to contact for further information:






  • University of Pretoria


  • University of Cape Town