February 8, 2021
James Hughes
James Hughes
James Hughes is a Master of Landscape Architecture Student at the University of Guelph, where he also earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree. In 2020, Hughes received a $1,000 Unilock Collaborative Communications Scholarship under the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation scholarship program.

What led you to pursue a career in landscape architecture?

I have always been a hands-on learner with interests in a variety of subjects. I wanted to find a profession that reflected my interests in urban planning, historical design and ecological design. Landscape architecture is a broad discipline that allows practitioners to work in many specialized industries. I knew landscape architecture was the right path for me when I began my studies at the University of Guelph. The collaborative nature of landscape architecture was immediately appealing to me, as well as the scope of projects. Working on a project from conceptual design to construction was immensely satisfying and showed me landscape architecture was right for me.

What work experience do you have?

I have been fortunate to gain hands-on experience in various landscape related fields. Working as a golf course groundskeeper at Islington Golf Club has taught me the importance of on-site decision making, as well as what goes into creating a high quality landscape. Running my own landscaping company has provided me with opportunities in the residential design and build industry. This exposure has highlighted the importance of understanding the construction process. The constructability of a design should be considered at all stages of a project. My experience in the residential design and build industry exposed me to further opportunities within the field of landscape design. I have also been fortunate to have been involved in the design of a number of natural classroom and playground designs for schools in the Wellington area.

"The work of Ruth Shelhorn, Morgan Evans
and Jack Evans have been inspirational in my career."  
  — James Hughes

Is there anyone who has mentored you along the way?

I am fortunate to have a very supportive family who have encouraged me throughout my education. Landscape architecture faculty members at the University of Guelph have been very supportive in both my academic and professional development. The faculty has always been willing to share resources, and to discuss ideas and design approaches.  

How does design/architecture impact us in our daily lives?

I do not think the average person realizes the extent that landscape architecture and landscape design impacts their daily lives. We design the spaces between built forms and so the second you walk outside you are exposed to the realm of that landscape architecture and landscape design.

The work of Ruth Shelhorn, Morgan Evans and Jack Evans have been inspirational in my career. Their work has promoted and showcased the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration as well as highlighted the importance of having a strong foundation of construction knowledge.

What other interests/hobbies/activities do you have outside of school?

I am an avid golfer, runner and backwoods camper.

What is your dream job that you hope to achieve in your career?

I hope to find an employer that values professional development and collaboration. Although my formal education in landscape architecture is coming to an end, there is much more I would like to learn. I believe project management plays a critical role in the design process, one that can make or break a project. My dream job would have a balance between being on site and in the office, in hopes of overseeing all aspects of a project.