What is a Landscape Architect and What that Means to Your Project

What is a landscape architect? As the title implies, a landscape architect is a person who is trained in landscaping architecture. This field of expertise includes tasks like land planning, recreational planning site analysis, site inventory, sustainable design, planting design, storm water management, construction specification, and building code compliance. Because of the nature of their work, landscape architects need to be well-versed in a wide array of related fields, such as of ecology, geography, soil sciences, industrial design, fine arts, and of course, architecture. They specialize in designing public art, parks, plazas, gardens, green roofs, fountains, and other outdoor projects. In fact, due to the broad nature of their work, many people may be confused as to what landscape architects actually do. To separate the myths from the facts, here are a few things you need to know about landscape architects.

Landscape architects are designers, not builders. They primarily collaborate with clients, architects, and building contractors to get their part of the job done. Their projects are designed in a way that not only makes the property look good, but also feel good to be in.

The landscape photos presented to the public are much more than pretty pictures. They are carefully thought-out plans that make the property suitable for relaxation, recreation, and socialization. The ultimate goal of landscape architecture is to come up with a design that brings out the best of the property in terms of both looks and functionality.

Another common mistake is to confuse landscape architects with gardeners. As mentioned before, landscape architects are designers31. Their job does not include the construction and maintenance of landscapes. They do not prune, transplant or mulch for the project. Most of their time is spent on the drawing table and in front of the computer, designing and managing ongoing projects. If they have any more time leftover, chances are that they’re spending it in client and contractor meetings.

Landscape architects are trained to view the landscape as a system. They do not go into much of the details, but instead, they work on the big picture. The natural flow of water through the property, the amount of natural light that the trees and other fixtures allow in, and the effects of the local climate and watershed are factors that the landscape architect needs to consider.

Lastly, landscape architects are experts in sustainable practices. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects often uses the phrase “green since 1899” to emphasize the fact that its members have long practiced environmentally friendly work. Many of the profession’s best practices are centered on ecologically sound principles that account for climate effects, existing material use, storm water management, and vegetation use.

Considering all of the aforementioned, the question that naturally follows is, “should I hire a landscape architect for my project?” Well, if you want to bring out the best in your property, we highly recommend that you do. However, do note that some landscape architects may focus on a particular type of property, such as urban estates, small garden lots or vast rural estates. Therefore, you may want to approach several of them before you decide on one that best fits your needs. Don’t settle for second best. Hire a landscape architect.