About the Profession

Landscape Architecture: About the Profession

Landscape architecture work is vast and varied, and includes the design of everything outside your door. The scope of work is diverse in form and scale, from residential design to wilderness management. Types of projects include public parks, plazas, streets and parkways, college campuses, trails and campgrounds, backyards, playgrounds, shopping centers, and environmental restoration, to name a few. The profession is multi-disciplinary, incorporating elements of natural and social sciences with the creative arts and design.

The profession is geared towards holistic, big-picture thinking, and responding to key social and environmental issues such as climate change, water scarcity, air and light pollution, sustainable building, public health and active living. Landscape architects are trained to have knowledge and understanding of many disciplines including ecology, hydrology, geology, botany, sociology, and engineering.

Successful landscape architects are creative visionaries and are skilled at communication and collaboration. On a typical project, landscape architects work closely with architects, engineers, surveyors, horticulturalists, planners, scientists, and contractors. Projects commonly begin with envisioning the potential of a site and communicating the idea through drawings and presentations. Landscape architects also prepare technical reports, manage projects and lead interdisciplinary teams.

Landscape architects perform professional work in planning and design of land for human use and enjoyment. They produce overall plans and landscape designs for site improvements based on analyses of environmental, physical and social characteristics, and economic considerations.

The practice of a landscape architect may include: investigation, selection, and allocation of land and water resources for appropriate uses; feasibility studies; formulation of graphic and written criteria to govern the planning and design of land construction programs; preparation review, and analysis of master plans for land use and development; production of overall site plans, landscape grading and landscape drainage plans, irrigation plans, planting plans, and construction details; specifications; cost estimates and reports for land development; collaboration in the design of roads, bridges, and structures with respect to the functional and aesthetic requirements of the areas on which they are to be placed; negotiation and arrangement for execution of land area projects; field observation and inspection of land area construction, restoration, and maintenance.

Landscape architecture is a state licensed and regulated profession overseen by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB). Obtaining licensure requires advanced education and work experience plus the passing of rigorous national and state exams.