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Gardenworks Illustrates the Difference Between Landscape Designer & Landscape Architect

Is there a difference between a registered landscape architect and a landscape designer? Very much so! Although there is an overlap between these disciplines, registered landscape architects typically have more formal training as well as a wider range of capabilities than landscape or garden designers. The education process of a landscape architect is comprehensive, and they bring a high level of depth and detail to any project they take on. If you want to change the look of your existing landscape or create a brand new one, it is important to make sure that you hire the best landscape designer in Sonoma County to make your dream landscape to come to life.

Differences Between Landscape Architects and Landscape Designers

Here is a look at some of the differences between landscape architects and landscape designers.

  1. Education and Training: As mentioned earlier, more education and training is required to become a landscape architect. They must have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in landscape architecture from a college or university and obtain a license from the state to design and work on landscape projects. Landscape architects traditionally attend colleges or universities that are accredited by the ASLA, or American Society of Landscape Architects, and have passed the exams required to obtain a license. Some landscape designers may have the same training that landscape architects have but not the required state license. Some designers are self-taught, but a lot of them have enrolled in courses at a college, university, through a certificate or extension program, or online. Landscape designers may benefit from becoming certified by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

  2. Types of Projects: Landscape architects have the training and the experience to work with challenging issues in residential as well as commercial sites, including retaining walls, steep slopes, irrigation, and drainage systems. They are able to provide exacting details and specifications for implementation by a landscape contractor. They plan and design public outdoor spaces, such as campuses, waterfront developments, parks, gardens, transportation facilities, commercial centers, etc. They can also plan and design the restoration of natural places that humans disturb such as forested land, mined areas, stream corridors, and wetlands. On the other hand, landscape designers typically need to have an artistic eye, more specialized knowledge of plants and horticulture, and in most cases, they take on residential projects.

  3. Employment and Responsibilities: Landscape architects will typically be employed in academic, public, and private organizations. Their responsibilities include meeting with clients and other project team members like engineers, researching the job site, permitting requirements for construction, considering any requirements or limitations posed by the environment, and making plans with the use of CADD technology. Landscape designers are typically self-employed or employed by a landscaping company. Their responsibilities include meeting with clients to create conceptual then planting plans, discuss plant preferences, and other ‘softscape’ (plants and natural materials that will be used for the project) and ‘hardscape’ (which includes walls, lighting, outdoor living spaces, pools or patios) amenities. Designers are not allowed to create details and specifications for a landscape contractor to follow.

When you want to create a stunning landscape for your new or existing home, you should work with the most reliable landscape designer in Sonoma CountyGardenworks, who’s staff includes both landscape architects and designers. For more information, call Gardenworks Inc. at (707) 857-2050.


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