What’s the difference between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer?

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Landscape Architect vs. Landscape Designer

Maybe you've got a big project coming up and could use the help of a professional.  This article can help point you in the right direction on who to choose.

Landscape Architects

Legally, to call yourself a landscape architect, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from an accredited university as well as be licensed by the state. Traditionally, they attend colleges that are sanctioned by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and pass their exam with no problem to become fully qualified designers for various projects.

They can work on both commercial and residential projects, and in addition to their knowledge of plants and trees, many will have experience with the following:

  • Irrigation systems
  • Drainage systems
  • Hardscapes
  • Outdoor Structures
  • Placement of site and utility access

Landscape architects are responsible for the design and construction of larger landscape projects such as parks, recreation areas, waterfronts, highway medians, airports or even university campuses. It is their job to insure a project is in compliance with any local and/or state regulations.  

Landscape Designers

The primary difference between landscape architects and designers is that designers usually work on smaller residential projects. While some may have training equivalent to an architect - especially if they an undergraduate-or-higher degree in design or architecture - they do not have a state license, which is required for working as one professionally.  

When you consult a landscape designer, they will usually show up at your home to look over the grounds and take photos before drawing up some plans. They might also visit local nurseries with you for additional help in designing an aesthetic that fits what you have envisioned or requested.  When consulting a landscaper about how best to design one’s property, they may ask questions such as: “What do I need from this space? What is my budget like? Are there any particular plants of colors on which I am fixated?".  

Once the design is completed, they will typically make recommendations for a landscaping contractor or other professional to physically do the work.


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