Landscape Architecture and Garden Design

Now that you have built or redesigned your dream house it is time to tackle the landscape. To accomplish this feat you might need professional guidance and there are a few things you need to know. Firstly, the difference between a Landscape Architect and a Garden Designer is the type of design work that they focus on. Architects design structures such as houses or office buildings, while Landscape Architects produce plans for the outdoor areas around those structures. Landscape Architects study, plan, design, and manage spaces to ensure that they are both sustainable and beautiful. A Landscape Architect must have a degree in Landscape Architecture. Not so for Garden Designers whose services include planting plans and hardscape elements (paths, walls, paving, lighting, and decking.) They may also focus on special features such as water elements, specialty lighting, and garden furniture. The Landscape Architect is responsible for the “meat and potatoes” of the project while the Garden Designer is concerned with the “icing on the cake.”

Secondly, it is important to note that a Landscape Architect can call himself a Garden Designer, but a Garden Designer can’t call himself a Landscape Architect. A Garden Designer will generally be trained in horticulture and design principles. He is someone who designs gardens, generally on a smaller scale than a Landscape Architect. Training may not be as formal and detailed as a Landscape Architect and the level of knowledge will vary.  Landscape Architects will usually be employed in private, public, and academic organizations. 

When you decide to consult a Landscape Designer/Architect you will begin by having a discussion about the project. They would most likely come to your home to look at your yard, take photos and discuss your budget. You will be asked about preferences in plants and the level of garden maintenance you can commit to. The designer will now create a plan view drawing and a list of plants. It is a good idea to accompany your designer to your local nursery. While there he can make suggestions to you as you shop for horticulture, materials, and furnishings. Next, they will make suggestions for another landscaping contractor or professional to do the physical work, which might include excavating an existing garden, building patios and decks, and installing plants.

Remember, the best Landscape Architect/Designer for you is one that creates your garden exactly how you want it, within your budget and in a timely manner; someone that creates happiness for you every time you look at your backyard!


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