What is a Landscape Architect?

A professional person who plans, designs, and builds spaces that tend to complement and work with the surrounding natural environment. These places can be inside or outside, though landscape architects are usually recognized for their creative, beautiful, and functional outdoor spaces. Every landscape architect is different, too – each can have specialties in areas like stormwater management, native planting, construction detail development, green infrastructure, site adaptation, and reuse, recreation and trail design, teaching, research, master planning, ordinance preparation, and much more.

How Can You Become A Landscape Architect?

Landscape architecture requires at least a 4-year degree and the passing of the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam (L.A.R.E.) Approximately 16,400 landscape architects are licensed in the United States. Registration and testing requirements differ amongst each state's requirements. 

What Do Landscape Architects Do?

Landscape architects analyze, plan, design, manage and nurture the built and natural environments. Landscape architects have a significant impact on communities and quality of life. They design parks, campuses, streetscapes, trails, plazas, and other projects that help define a community.  The projects below show the diversity of the profession, and many of the areas landscape architects can practice design. 

What do Landscape Architects do?

Clear differences exist between landscape architecture and the other design professions.  Architects primarily design buildings and structures with specific uses, such as homes, offices, schools and factories.  Civil engineers apply scientific principles to the design of city infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and public utilities.  Urban planners develop a broad overview of development for entire cities and regions.

Landscape architects touch on all the above-mentioned design professions, integrating elements from each of them.  While having a working knowledge of architecture, civil engineering and urban planning, landscape architects take elements from each of these fields to design aesthetic and practical relationships with the land.

Landscape architects design the built environment of neighborhoods, towns and cities while also protecting and managing the natural environment, from its forests and fields to rivers and coasts.  Members of the profession have a special commitment to improving the quality of life through the best design of places for people and other living things.

In fact, the work of landscape architects surrounds us.  Members of the profession are involved in the planning of such sites as office plazas, public squares and thoroughfares. The attractiveness of parks, highways, housing developments, urban plazas, zoos and campuses reflects the skill of landscape architects in planning and designing the construction of useful and pleasing projects.

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College

VIRIDIS Design Group

Oakwood Heights Master Plan, Detroit

PEA, Inc.