Landscape Architecture: What Is It & Why Should You Care?

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What is Landscape Architecture? What do Landscape Architects do? Why are they important? Isn’t that a fancy word for “Landscaper?” These are common questions about the profession of Landscape Architecture. Well, Landscape Architecture combines the subjects of art and science in order to design, plan, and manage the land around us.

What Do They Do?

Landscape Architects design and plan the restoration of natural places that have been disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, mined areas, and forested lands. Landscape Architecture, however, is not a very common career or major nowadays but it actually is a very vital part of our community, even if you don’t realize it. Some of the places that were designed by Landscape Architects are parks, plazas, trails, campuses, residences/apartment complexes, streetscapes, and outdoor structures like Gazebos and Pavillions. Every one of those places was drawn out by a Landscape Architect.

Their work contains a variety of things, from parks and streetscapes to retaining walls and pools. In order to design a project, they need to be aware of the land and elements around them, both on the surface and underneath. This includes water runoffs, drainage systems, gas/water lines, quarries, etc. They also deal with solving elevation issues, like if a part of someone’s backyard is too slanted to put in a pool, they excavate the land until there is an even elevation for the pool. And if there is still slanted land near the pool, they’ll add a retaining wall to prevent erosion and mudslides from damaging the pool.

Why Does Their Work Matter?

The work of Landscape Architects matters because they work to protect/preserve natural areas and the environment. They build healthy and vibrant communities, address climate change/manage the impact of climate change and use the natural system to reduce the global warming trend. Landscape Architects also contribute to the economy by using Green Infrastructure, which is basically making communities better for the environment via green streets, solar panels, etc. Besides all of that, they also help preserve the environment and natural areas, and help to regenerate polluted areas/regions worldwide! So, not only are they making our communities look better and healthier, but they’re also working to make the Earth a better place by trying to decrease pollution and help reduce Global Warming!

Why Should You Care About Landscape Architecture?

You’re probably wondering, “Why should I care about this? It has nothing to do with me.” Well, it actually has more to do with you than you think. Everywhere you look, you can see the work of Landscape Architects. Whether it be at a park, a golf course, a retaining wall, solar panels on a house, and even your own front/back yard! Without Landscape Architects, none of these things would exist. And since Landscape Architecture isn’t a very common profession, if the career dies out, then there would be no more beautiful landscapes, nobody to install your pool, no more nice streetscapes or outdoor structures. Pretty much everything that you see in developed areas wouldn’t be there if the profession ceased to exist. But besides that, without Landscape Architects, there would be more pollution than there is now, Global Warming would be at an all-time high, there would be no more preservation in the environment and natural areas, and the environment itself wouldn’t be sustainable!

What’s the Difference Between Landscape Architecture & Landscape Design?

Landscape Architecture and Landscape Design are similar careers, and Landscape Design basically bridges the space between Landscape Architecture and Garden Design. Despite their similarities, they are still very different careers.

First off some Landscape Designers are self-taught, and in order to legally call yourself a Landscape Architect, you need to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from a university/college. You also need to be licensed by the state in order to design and work on landscape projects. However, even though some Landscape Designers may have the same training as a Landscape Architect, they are not licensed by the state, which means that they can’t work on the same projects as Landscape Architects.

Another key difference is that Landscape Designers work with soft stuff, like plants and grass. Although Landscape Architects work with the soft stuff as well, they also work outdoor structures like pools, retaining walls, Gazebos, etc. One of the biggest differences between Landscape Architects and Landscape Designers is that Landscape designers usually work on smaller residential projects such as gardens.

The biggest difference, however, between these two majors is when you consult with a Landscape Designer, you will have a discussion or interview about the project. The designer will usually show up at your home, look at the yard, take photos, and ask about preferences in plants, garden maintenance, budget, etc. The designer will then create a plan view drawing and plant list; depending on how the designer works, they might visit local nurseries with you, make suggestions or help you shop for materials and furnishings, and do actual plant placement. From there, they will make suggestions for another Landscaping Contractor/Landscape Architect or professional to do the physical work, which may include excavating an existing garden and hardscape, building patios and decks, installing plants, building retaining walls, etc.

Works Cited:

“About.” What Is Landscape Architecture?,

Network, Land8: Landscape Architects. “30 Reasons Why Landscape Architecture Is More Important Than You Think.” Land8, 29 May 2016,

Taylor, Lisa Hallett. “What Is the Difference Between a Landscape Architect and Designer?” The Spruce,

Toscano, Kim. “3 Key Landscape Design Elements.” Southern Living Plants, Southern Living Plant Collection, 20 Nov. 2019,

“Why Is Landscape Architecture Important? – OALA: The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects.” OALA,