Media Advisory: A Guide to Landscape Architecture

How to properly represent the landscape architecture profession in the broader context of the design/build community.

The American Society of Landscape Architects offers this advisory to journalists to help them better understand the landscape architecture profession and accurately represent it to the public. Here are some guidelines.

How to Avoid Incorrect Descriptors

The term “landscape architecture” became common after 1863 when Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed New York's Central Park.

Today, “landscape architect” is a specific title protected in all 50 states based on licensure; “landscape designer” does not require licensure. They are not interchangeable. Becoming licensed generally requires holding a professional degree, completing a period of supervised practice and passing the national licensing examination.

“Landscaper” and “landscape contractor” are related but different professions. Landscape architects are licensed professionals who often work with landscaping or other construction companies to install those designs. Think of the fashion designer imagining an outfit while a clothing manufacturer makes the apparel, or an artist designing a wall poster that's printed by another company.

Also, do not use the terms “landscape architect” and “architect” interchangeably. While the two professions collaborate on many projects, both are separate professions that require years of rigorous and distinct training, education, and licensure. Architects primarily design buildings and structures with specific uses, such as homes, offices, public buildings and schools. Landscape architects primarily design outdoor environments and related green infrastructure, such as plazas, campuses, parks, playgrounds, streetscapes and residential properties. An easy way to remember the difference is architects generally work vertically while landscape architects work horizontally.

Related Professions

Along with architects and landscapers, landscape architects also work with other distinct professions:

Civil engineers are primarily concerned with hard infrastructure systems to manage practical needs; landscape architects often collaborate on projects with engineers. Like landscape architects, engineers must meet educational, experience and testing requirements prior to licensure.

Planners plan the development of physical land use, such as master plans, communities, transportation plans and historic/conservation areas. They also develop and shape land use policies at all levels. There are two states that license planners, but the most common credential is administered by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Land developers may or may not be involved on a team, depending on the type of project. They typically manage the overall development of the built site, such as financial, real estate, coordinating architectural/landscape contracts, permit oversight and community/city coordination.


Media inquiries

Landscape Architecture Magazine

Jennifer Reut 

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay