When trying to select the direction you want to go with your new outdoor space, it’s sometimes confusing what are the right services to suit your needs. This guide will give you a better understanding of differences between a landscape architect and that of a landscape designer.

The Landscape Architect

A landscape architect has a formal license and can lay out a plan for your entire yard, including structural changes. Landscape architects are required to take four to five years of college with a degree in the field, as well as be certified by the state they practice. For a landscape architect, obtaining a license requires advanced education and work experience, plus passage of the national examination called The Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.).

What does a Landscape Architect do?

Landscape architects tend to take on complex projects in which focus on the “big picture” is required. In some cases, plans legally require the involvement of a certified and licensed landscape architect. These instances would include: Designing drainage and land grading plans, planing retaining walls after surpassing a specified height, projects that require permits and special situations such as public lands or protect wetland areas.

What are the priorities of a Landscape Architect?

Landscape architects treat the the property and project as a complete system of working parts, from plants to all aspects of outdoor living space, from organizing and coordinating the planning and building of new landscape features and/or structures such as walls, decks, pools and fireplaces. They also focus on analyzing reports on environmental issues as well as address drainage and energy efficiency, taking on specific measures in the waterproofing of your property, well as ensuring all plans meet the current building codes as well as local and federal ordinances.

The Landscape Designer

Where a landscape architect focuses on the “big” picture and is educated and licensed on complex projects that involve environment and structures, A landscape designers focuses more specifically on the plantings or the flora of the space. Landscape Designers are involved in any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, most specifically the plants, and requires an expertise in horticulture and artistic design.

Landscape designers generally focused on:

Living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly called gardening.

The art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beauty within the landscape.

Establishing or improving an existing horticultural area.

Analyzing the plants and soil with suggestions for better options.

Specific advice on the right plants for the right place on your property.

Natural elements such as land-forms, terrain shape and elevation, or decorative bodies of water and drip irrigation systems to keep plants healthy over time.

Learn more about Elliott Brundage Landscape Architecture, a professional design firm offering creative, artful ideas coupled with functional, yet elegant, design solutions.