What is a Landscape Architect?

The struggle for harmony between man and nature is one that has persisted for ages. While humankind has its own capacity to create, to challenge the orthodoxy, and to control the world around us, nature has long reigned supreme. As time has gone on, we have recognized that nature is something that we cannot defeat, ignore, or overcome. Nature is a force that, before anything else, we must learn to coexist with.

There is perhaps no one who better recognizes the unique relationship between humankind and the nature that surrounds us than a landscape architect. Landscape architecture, as the term implies, blends the disciplines of landscaping (controlling the land) and architecture (designing our world) into a truly distinctive and remarkable art form.

Landscape architecture is what enables us to create beautiful gardens and begin shaping our outside world. Landscape architecture is the reason our yards can be so much more than simple patches of grass. Our yards are a statement; they are an expression of our deeper selves and a fundamental part of our homes.

While many people know that landscape architecture, broadly, is something that exists, only a few people understand what this unique brand of architecture specifically entails. In this article, we will discuss the most important things you need to know about the art of landscape architecture. By understanding the ins and outs of this often-overlooked discipline, you’ll be able to decide if hiring a landscape architect makes sense for you.

What is landscape architecture?

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), “landscape architects analyze, plan design, manage, and nurture the built and natural environment.” Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline that has many different components. Landscape architecture can be seen all around us; it can be observed in public parks, private homes, school campuses, and everything in between.

According to estimates presented by the ASLA, landscape architecture adds $2.7 billion worth of activity to the American economy each year. Nature, frankly, is inescapable. While we cannot change our relationship with her, there are quite a few things we can do to shape our world as we see fit. Landscape architects seek to increase the beauty of a given space, enhance people’s quality of life, promote sustainability, and pursue various other objectives. Imagine the last time you saw an outdoor space that was truly beautiful. More likely than not, a landscape architect was involved somewhere along the way.

What specific services do landscape architecture companies provide?

The services provided by landscape architects will depend on which firm you end up choosing. While residential landscape architecture is the most popular type of architecture within this field, there are plenty of other options available as well. Generally speaking, however, there are a few fundamental services that most firms will offer.

  • Design: during the design process, many key decisions will be made. The purpose of the space, the distribution (and type) of plants included, water features, and environmental impact are just a few of the things a landscape architect might consider. The best architects will be able to develop comprehensive design plans that can address all the details at once.
  • Construction: the construction process is when your space will really begin to come to life. Both man-made and natural components of the design will be installed during this phase. A typical project will require anywhere from a few days to a few weeks in order to be completed.
  • Property Care: because the natural features of your space are changing over time (growing, changing colors, etc.), these features will require consistent care. With a reliable firm by your side, your space will not only maintain its original beauty—it will become even more beautiful as time goes on.

Many landscape architecture firms will offer packages that allow you to secure all these services from a single location. However, you may also be able to purchase individual services a la carte. This way, your yard can maintain its beauty without creating any unnecessary costs.

What are the most important principles of landscape architecture?

The relationship between humankind and nature is something we have been thinking about for thousands of years. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (Laozi), for example, wrote extensively about this relationship roughly 2,600 years ago. While our worldviews have changed considerably since then, many principles have withstood the tests of time.

Generally, landscape architects seek to create a natural harmony between things created by nature and things created by human beings. Respecting this relationship is considered to be very important by nearly every member of the industry.

Other key principles of landscape architecture include balance, proportionality, repetition (the use of predictable patterns), symmetry, functionality, and order. However, the specific design philosophies used by any given firm can vary, which is why it is important to do plenty of research before making a final selection.

Why should I hire a landscape architect?

To put it simply, landscape architects add beauty to our world and, consequently, can help add value to our lives. If you have a specific project in mind, you’ll find plenty of firms willing to help you turn your vision into a material reality. But even if you aren’t sure of what you hope to accomplish, these trained individuals can help you begin creating a design from scratch.

In general, anyone who is hoping to completely redesign (or even partially redesign) and outdoor space should consider hiring a landscape architect. These designs can help make a space more livable, can increase the connection you have with nature, and can also increase privacy. If you live in a rapidly growing housing market (such as Colorado or other western states), investing in landscape architecture may be one of the most effective ways for you to add value to your home.

Conclusion – Landscape Architect

It is claimed that Albert Einstein once said, “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Truer words have rarely ever been spoken. In nature, there is truth, there is beauty, and there is harmony. With the right landscape architecture team by your side, you can access all of these things and more.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.