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What is the Difference Between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer?

Suppose you are a homeowner who wants to plan a new backyard garden or landscaping project.

You might consider hiring professional landscape architects or landscape designers in Portland, Oregon, to help plan your project.

However, you should know that these two professionals differ in terms of qualifications for the job. This post will define the two professions and explain how they differ.

image - What is the Difference Between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer
What is the Difference Between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer

What is a Landscape Architect?

A landscape architect is a person who has a degree in landscape architecture. Landscape architects design outdoor spaces, using natural vistas and native plants to create a pleasing environment for walking, playing, and relaxing.

Landscape architects can design gardens, parks, golf courses, and other outdoor spaces.

The landscape architect’s job begins before the first shovel hits the ground; they work alongside clients who know what they want to achieve with their project.

Then, using their knowledge of the principles of good landscaping design and the latest technology, they create a complete plan that includes planting plants and plans for walkways, ponds, and other elements used in the project.

If you are considering hiring a landscape architect, you should look for a person who has a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture.

Requirements vary from state to state. However, you will want to hire an expert registered as a professional landscape architect and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

An experienced landscape architect will have an extensive portfolio of landscaping projects that you can look at and review.

A good indication that an architect has a lot of experience is if they have worked with other homeowners in your area on similar projects.

They are also much more likely to have the latest design technology to provide you with a state-of-the-art plan for your project.


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What is a Landscape Designer?

A landscape designer also called a garden designer, offers a different service to the landscape architect.

A professional landscape designer will usually have no formal training in the principles of landscaping design; they are generally self-taught and learn about plant care and design on the job.

However, some do enroll in special programs that provide a foundation for landscape design. In addition, many landscape designers have education in horticulture or botany and use their knowledge to create beautiful outdoor spaces.

Landscape designers are not licensed through the state but do have professional organizations that regulate the field, such as the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD).

If you are considering hiring a landscape designer, you should look for a designer who has a portfolio of creative designs to show you.

If your project is large enough, you may want to get bids from several designers to see how their fees compare and look at their past work.

This will help match up to their experience and skill level with the project. You should also ask your designer about their training and expertise in the field.

The main difference is that a landscape architect has an education and training in landscape design and project management.

A good landscape architect has specialized knowledge about every aspect of the design process, from soils to lawns to lighting.

They can also provide you with research on climate and plant needs, bids from contractors to build your project.

A landscape designer usually has much less experience in the field of landscaping design than a landscape architect.

You might find that most small-town designers are self-taught, drawing on their knowledge of plants and landscaping in their area to create beautiful spaces for clients.

Unfortunately, these designers often have no formal training with botany or soils; they may be well-read, but they haven’t been taught all the skills needed for a large but simple project, such as a parking lot or a walkway.

Who Should You Choose?

If you are considering hiring a landscape architect or designer, you should consider many factors. How large is your project?

If you are looking for the same type of design solutions for your small lot that is no larger than a football field, hiring a designer who can create an artistic plan based on their knowledge of plants and art design will make sense.

However, if you need to service an expansive estate with tennis courts and springs, ponds, and streams, it makes sense to hire an architect who knows every aspect of landscaping, from soil to drainage.

Both landscape architects and designers have many things in common. They both deal with all aspects of landscaping from trees to walkways to lighting.

They both have a strong creative eye and work with clients to create the designs for their projects.

However, you should consider hiring an architect or designer with a stronger academic background, while others feel that creativity is more important than credentials.

Either way, you should never need to compromise on quality no matter who you decide to hire for your project.


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