What Can A Landscape Architect Help Me With?

You know the feeling you experience when visiting your favorite park or walking trail? Maybe it’s a sense of peacefulness, or connectedness with nature. Now, try to recall the feeling you get when stepping foot on a college campus. How about an outdoor shopping mall? 

Each of these should evoke a different emotion. Whether it’s a sensation of calmness, excitement, motivation, meditation or a complex combination of other feelings… each space was intentionally designed by a Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer with that specific feeling in mind. 

As with architects and designers, there are many differences between landscape architects and landscape designers. If you are taking on a big outdoor project, understanding the differences will ensure you hire the best professional for the job.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects typically work on large-scale projects that are part of the greater community. Think campuses, parks, trails, streetscapes, master-planned residential neighborhoods; but will occasionally work on smaller-scale residential projects, too. 

To use the title “landscape architect”, the individual must have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field, most often from a school accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). They also must be licensed by each state they perform work in. 

Through this education, landscape architects are taught an appreciation of cultural resources and historic landscapes. They are experts in the restoration of places that have already been disturbed by human activity (such as deforestation and mining), as well as preserving and protecting cultural and historic sites.

A landscape architect is not only trained in aesthetic design but is also knowledgeable of challenging environmental issues that can arise, such as:

  • Steep slopes and elevation issues

  • Water retention, irrigation, and drainage

  • Energy and natural resource conservation

Because landscape architects look at landscapes as a system, they incorporate potential environmental threats into their design. Drought, flooding, and natural disasters are carefully planned for to create the most sustainable outdoor space possible.

(This image is a rendering of our Palace Gaming design for the Tachii Yokut Nation)

Landscape Designers 

As with residential designers, the term “landscape designer” is not nationally regulated. A landscape designer may be self-taught or may have the same level of training as a landscape architect (without being officially licensed). 

Aside from the variance in training, the main difference between landscape designers and landscape architects is that landscape designers typically work on small-scale residential projects like lawns, gardens, and patios. Most landscape designers work with “softscape” – our industry-specific term for plants. Through the use of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses, landscape designers create colorful and aesthetic gardens, lawns, backyards, and patios.

For some projects, landscape architects and designers may work together as a team – the architect designs the overall layout and “feel” of the space, accounting for the nitty-gritty details like irrigation systems, and a landscape designer may be contracted to come back monthly or quarterly to replace plants, manicure the lawn, and maintain the environment.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)


Our team of landscape architects can help design an environment that evokes a memorable feeling amongst visitors, and one that is unique to your space. With landscape architecture, the possibilities truly are endless. Contact us to get started.

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