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As one of your upcoming projects, you may be considering refreshing or overhauling your outdoor space. You might be a homeowner who wants to overhaul a small area in your backyard, or you may be a city planner that needs help with adding some intricate detail to a public space. Either way, a professional would be a great help.


However, there are two professions that might be able to help you with your landscaping needs – so how do you know who the right person for the job might be? Between landscape designers and architects who specialize in outdoor design, it’s hard to know who to talk to, and what skills might be required for the job.


Here, we will outline a few key details about the similarities and differences between landscape designers and architects, as both professionals may be able to help you with your outdoor landscaping project.



Landscape Architects


Landscape architects design and construct practical, attractive, and functional open spaces for urban parks, businesses, university campuses, and other public spaces, such as airports, hospitals, and freeways.


Landscape architects also regularly head out into the field to evaluate their sites. Often, this involves the collection of information about soil and vegetation, or just to get a lay of the land. To build the most beautiful or functional spaces possible, landscape architects meet with clients to make sure that their designs are meeting their needs; they also speak with building architects and engineers, to ensure the project is approved or permitted.


Whether designing a corporate campus, small-town playground, or a national monument, landscape architects design outdoor spaces to not only be usable, but to compliment the natural environment surrounding it.


A landscape architect’s job includes creating a functional concept from start to finish. This is a big responsibility – and for good reason. Areas involved in typical landscaping done by these professionals include playgrounds, parks, wetlands, forested areas, and transportation programs.



Landscape Designers


Like a landscape architect, a landscape designer is also responsible for the design and planning of outdoor spaces – but this more often includes private spaces than public ones. Their domain typically involves parks, gardens, yards, and water features.


Landscape designers use their knowledge of plants, climate, and soil to create functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces. While a landscape designer’s primary focus is on the physical appearance of a space, they also need to consider the functional needs of their clients.


For example, a landscape designer might create a plan for a garden that includes a variety of plant species that are both beautiful and beneficial for the local ecosystem. In addition to plants, landscape designers may also incorporate features such as ponds, fountains, and decks into their designs.


While landscape design is primarily about the creation of functional and beautiful outdoor spaces, it can also be used as a tool for environmental conservation. For example, a landscape designer might choose to use native plants in their designs to promote biodiversity, or they might choose to incorporate features such as rain gardens or green roofs, in order to help buffer storm damage.



Who Do You Need on Your Team?


While it’s clear that both landscape architects and landscape designers are responsible for creating and implementing functional, environmentally friendly spaces, they also have some respective obligations that set them apart.


Landscape architects more often consult with other planning professionals, such as city planners, to design publicly enjoyed areas that are safe, attractive, and meaningful. They are needed in the development of detailed blueprints, and ensure that every project that they participate in is well-thought out.


Landscape designers on the other hand will help those in private situations. That’s why, if you are planning to build an oasis in your backyard, you’ll want the help of a landscaping designer. They can work alongside you to design a beautiful water feature, a garden full of native plants, or a storm-drain that is both practical and a work of art.


Although landscape architects and landscape designers both create plans for private and public spaces, the architects are the ones who might be part of actual construction or maintenance, whereas the designers are responsible for supervising and overseeing projects.


So, if your company is hoping to develop an outdoor courtyard to host their employees at lunchtime, you’ll want an architect. But if you want to construct a rain catchment system for your household, it’s a designer that you’ll call.