Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor public areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve
environmental, socialbehavioral, or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic investigation of
existing social, ecological, and geological conditions and processes in the landscape, and the design
of interventions that will produce the desired outcome. The scope of the profession includes urban
design; site planning; stormwater management; town or urban planning; environmental restoration;
parks and recreation planning; visual resource management; green infrastructure planning and
provision; and private estate and residence landscape master planning and design; all at varying
scales of design, planning and management. A practitioner in the profession of landscape architecture
is called a landscape architect.
Landscape architecture is a multidisciplinary field, incorporating aspects of botany, horticulture, the
fine arts, architecture, industrial design, geology and the earth sciences, environmental psychology,
geography, and ecology. The activities of a landscape architect can range from the creation of public
parks and parkways to site planning for campuses and corporate office parks, from the design of
residential estates to the design of civil infrastructure and the management of large wilderness areas
or reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills. Landscape architects work on all
types of structures and external space large or small, urban, suburban and rural, and with "hard"
(built) and "soft" (planted) materials, while integrating ecological sustainability. The most valuable
contribution can be made at the first stage of a project to generate ideas with technical understanding
and creative flair for the design, organization, and use of spaces. The landscape architect can
conceive the overall concept and prepare the master plan, from which detailed design drawings and
technical specifications are prepared. They can also review proposals to authorize and supervise
contracts for the construction work. Other skills include preparing design impact assessments,
conducting environmental assessments and audits, and serving as an expert witness at inquiries on
land use issues.
In most North American jurisdictions such as states, provinces and municipalities all designs for public
space must be reviewed and approved by licensed landscape architects.
Fields of activity
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, established 1759
The Palm House built 1844–1848 by Richard Turner to Decimus Burton's designs
Urban design in city squares. Water feature in London, by Tadao Ando who also works with
landscapes and gardens
The variety of the professional tasks that landscape architects collaborate on is very broad, but some
examples of project types include:
The planning, form, scale and siting of new developments
Civil design and public infrastructure
Stormwater management including rain gardens, green roofs, groundwater recharge, and treatment
Campus and site design for public institutions and government facilities
Parks, botanical gardens, arboretums, greenways, and nature preserves
Recreation facilities; i.e.: playgrounds, golf courses, theme parks and sports facilities
Housing areas, industrial parks and commercial developments
Estate and residence landscape master planning and design
Highways, transportation structures, bridges, and transit corridors
Urban design, town and city squares, waterfronts, pedestrian schemes, and parking lots
Large to small urban renewal planning and design
Natural park, tourist destination, and recreating historical landscapes, and historic garden appraisal
and conservation studies
Reservoirs, dams, power stations, reclamation of extractive industry applications or major industrial
projects and mitigation
Environmental assessment and landscape assessment, planning advice and land management
Coastal and offshore developments and mitigation
Ecological Design any aspect of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by
integrating itself with natural processes and sustainability
Landscape managers use their knowledge of landscape processes to advise on the longterm care
and development of the landscape. They often work in forestry, nature conservation and agriculture.
Landscape scientists have specialist skills such as soil science, hydrology, geomorphology or botany
that they relate to the practical problems of landscape work. Their projects can range from site surveys
to the ecological assessment of broad areas for planning or management purposes. They may also
report on the impact of development or the importance of particular species in a given area.
Landscape planners are concerned with landscape planning for the location, scenic, ecological and
recreational aspects of urban, rural and coastal land use. Their work is embodied in written statements
of policy and strategy, and their remit includes master planning for new developments, landscape
evaluations and assessments, and preparing countryside management or policy plans. Some may
also apply an additional specialism such as landscape archaeology or law to the process of landscape
Green roof designers design extensive and intensive roof gardens for storm water management,
evapotranspirative cooling, sustainable architecture, aesthetics, and habitat creation.
History of landscape architecture
Orangery at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris
Main article: History of landscape architecture
For the period before 1800, the history of landscape gardening (later called landscape architecture) is
largely that of master planning and garden design for manor houses, palaces and royal properties,
religious complexes, and centers of government. An example is the extensive work by André Le Nôtre
at VauxleVicomte and for King Louis XIV of France at the Palace of Versailles. The first person to
write of "making" a landscape was Joseph Addison in 1712. The term "landscape architecture" was
invented by Gilbert Laing Meason in 1828 and was first used as a professional title by Frederick Law
Olmsted in 1863. During the latter 19th century, the term "landscape architect" became used by
professional people who designed landscapes. This use of "landscape architect" became established
after Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and Beatrix Jones (later Farrand) with others founded the American
Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1899. IFLA was founded at Cambridge, England, in 1948
with Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe as its first president, representing 15 countries from Europe and North
America. Later, in 1978, IFLA's Headquarters were established in Versailles.
The combination of the traditional landscape gardening and the emerging city planning combined
together gave landscape architecture its unique focus.Frederick Law Olmsted used the term
'landscape architecture' using the word as a profession for the first time when designing the Central
Through the 19th century, urban planning became a more important need. The combination of the
tradition of landscape gardening and emerging city planning that gave Landscape Architecture its
unique focus to serve these needs. In the second half of the century, Frederick Law Olmsted
completed a series of parks which continue to have a huge influence on the practices of Landscape
Architecture today. Among these were Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New
York and Boston's Emerald Necklace park system. Jens Jensen designed sophisticated and
naturalistic urban and regional parks for Chicago, Illinois, and private estates for the Ford family
including Fair Lane and Gaukler Point. One of the original ten founding members of the American
Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the only woman, was Beatrix Farrand. She was design
consultant for over a dozen universities including: Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey; Yale in New
Haven, Connecticut; and the Arnold Arboretum for Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts. Her numerous
private estate projects include the landmark Dumbarton Oaks in the Georgetown neighborhood of
Washington, D.C.. Since that time, other architects — most notably Ruth Havey and Alden Hopkins
—changed certain elements of the Farrand design.
Landscape architecture continues to develop as a design discipline, and to respond to the various
movements in architecture and design throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Thomas Church was a
midcentury landscape architect significant in the profession. Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil combined
the International style and native Brazilian plants and culture for a new aesthetic. Innovation continues
today solving challenging problems with contemporary design solutions for master planning,
landscapes, and gardens.
Ian McHarg was known for introducing environmental concerns in landscape architecture. He
popularized a system of analyzing the layers of a site in order to compile a complete understanding of
the qualitative attributes of a place. This system became the foundation of today's Geographic
Information Systems (GIS). McHarg would give every qualitative aspect of the site a layer, such as the
history, hydrology, topography, vegetation, etc. GIS software is ubiquitously used in the landscape
architecture profession today to analyze materials in and on the Earth's surface and is similarly used
by Urban Planners, Geographers, Forestry and Natural Resources professionals, etc.
In many countries, a professional institute, comprising members of the professional community, exists
in order to protect the standing of the profession and promote its interests, and sometimes also
regulate the practice of landscape architecture. The standard and strength of legal regulations
governing landscape architecture practice varies from nation to nation, with some requiring licensure in
order to practice; and some having little or no regulation. In North America, Europe, Australia and New
Zealand, landscape architecture is a regulated profession.
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) provides non statutory professional recognition
for landscape architects. Once recognized by (AILA),(AILA) landscape architects use the title
'Registered Landscape Architect'. Across the eight states and territories within Australia, there is a mix
of requirements for landscape architects to be 'Registered',however it is not always a statutory
requirement to be registered with AILA to practice use the term "Landscape Architect".
Any regulations or requirements are state based, not national. The AILA's system of professional
recognition is a national system overseen by AILA's National Office in Canberra.Non (AILA)Landscape
Architects are professionals who are also paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete
them for a fee.
Some agencies require AILA professional recognition or registration as part of the prerequisite for
contracts. Landscape architects within Australia find that some contracts and competitions require the
AILA recognition or 'registration' as the basis of demonstrating a professional status. To apply for AILA
Registration, an applicant usually needs to satisfy a number of prerequisites, including: university
qualification, two years of practice and a record of Continuing Professional Practice. The application is
in two stages: (1) A minimum 12 months of mentoring and assessment (2) Oral assessment/interview.
Professional recognition includes a commitment to continue professional development. AILA
Registered Landscape Architects are required to report annually on their Continuing Professional
In Canada, landscape architecture, like law and medicine, is a selfregulating profession pursuant to
provincial statute. For example Ontario's profession is governed by the Ontario Association of
Landscape Architects pursuant to the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects Act. Landscape
architects in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta must complete the specified components of
L.A.R.E (Landscape Architecture Registration Examination) as a prerequisite to full professional
Provincial regulatory bodies are members of a national organization, the Canadian Society of
Landscape Architects / L'Association des Architectes Paysagistes du Canada (CSLAAAPC), and
individual membership in the CSLAAAPC is obtained through joining one of the provincial or territorial
AIAPP (Italian Association of Landscape Architecture) is the Italian association of professional
landscape architects formed in 1950 and is a member of IFLA and IFLA Europe (formerly known as
EFLA). AIAPP is in the process of contesting this new law which has given the Architects' Association
the new title of Architects, Landscape Architects, Planners and Conservationists whether or not they
have had any training or experience in any of these fields other than Architecture. In
Italy, there are several different professions involved in landscape architecture:
Doctor landscape agronomists and Doctor landscape foresters, often called Landscape agronomists.
Agrarian Experts and Graduated Agrarian experts.
The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) is the professional body for Landscape
Architects in NZ www.nzila.co.nz.
In April 2013, ILA jointly with AILA, hosted the 50th International Federation of Landscape Architects
(IFLA) World Congress in Auckland, New Zealand. The World Congress is an international conference
where Landscape Architects from all around the globe attend.
Within NZ, Members of NZILA when they achieve their professional standing, can use the title
Registered Landscape Architect NZILA.
NZILA provides accreditation review of education course providers and currently there are three
accredited Landscape Architecture course providers in New Zealand.
Republic of Ireland
The professional body in Ireland for landscape architects is the Irish Landscape Institute (ILI)
www.irishlandscapeinstitute.com. The ILI is an affiliate body to the European Federation for
Landscape Architecture (EFLA) and IFLA. The ILI was formed in 1993 to merge the disciplines of
landscape architecture and landscape horticulture. It continues to promote the profession by its
accreditation of the degree programme in Dublin, certification of Continuing Professional Development
(CPD) for landscape architects, administration of professional practice examinations, advice on
development of policy at national level and organisation of conferences, lectures and design awards.
The ILI is a member institute of the Urban Forum, representing professional bodies involved in urban
spatial disciplines of engineering, architecture, planning, quantity surveying and landscape
The profession has gained in status and numbers due to the construction boom of the past decade
and raising of standards of Irish design. There is still no registration of title in Ireland and the
profession is unregulated, but there is increasing awareness of the profession and of status of the ILI.
Landscape architects in Ireland work in private practice, public sector bodies at local government level
and in some bodies such transport and national heritage and in the academic sector. The demand for
landscape architects is often associated with strategic infrastructure projects due to Ireland's recent
major infrastructural investments. Landscape architects are employed in design of: green
infrastructure, public realm, institutional/medical/industrial campuses and settings, parks, play facilities,
transport (road/rail/cycle/port) corridors, retail complexes, residential estates (including plans for
remediation of nowabandoned housing 'ghost' estates), village improvements, accessibility audits,
graveyard restoration schemes, wind farms, wetland drainage systems and coastal zones. They are
also significantly employed in preparation/review of statutory impact assessment reports on landscape,
visual and ecological impacts of design proposals.
The UK's professional body is the Landscape Institute (LI). It is a chartered body which accredits
landscape professionals and university courses. At present there are fifteen accredited programmes in
the UK. Membership of the LI is available to students, academics and professionals, and there are
over 3,000 professionally qualified members.
The Institute provides services to assist members including support and promotion of the work of
landscape architects; information and guidance to the public and industry about the specific expertise
offered by those in the profession; and training and educational advice to students and professionals
looking to build upon their experience.
In 2008, the LI launched a major recruitment drive entitled "I want to be a Landscape Architect" to
encourage the study of Landscape Architecture. The campaign aims to raise the profile of landscape
architecture and highlight its valuable role in building sustainable communities and fighting climate
In the United States, Landscape Architecture is regulated by individual state governments. For a
landscape architect, obtaining licensure requires advanced education and work experience, plus
passage of the national examination. Several states require passage of a state exam as well. In the
U.S. licensing is overseen both at the state level, and nationally by the Council of Landscape
Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB). Landscape architecture has been identified as an above- average growth profession by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and was listed in U.S. News & World
Report's list of Best Jobs to Have in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The national trade
association for U.S. landscape architects is the American Society of Landscape Architects. The
average salary for landscape architecture professionals in the U.S. is $71,000.