Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioural, or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic design and general engineering of various structures for construction and human use, investigation of existing social, ecological, and soil conditions and processes in the landscape, and the design of other interventions that will produce desired outcomes. The scope of the profession is broad and can be subdivided into several sub-categories including professional or licensed landscape architects who are regulated by governmental agencies and possess the expertise to design a wide range of structures and landforms for human use; landscape design which is not a licensed profession; site planning; stormwater management; erosion control; environmental restoration; parks, recreation and urban 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 may be called a landscape architect, however in jurisdictions where professional licenses are required it is often only those who possess a landscape architect license who can be called a landscape architect.
Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of urban design, architecture, geography, ecology, civil engineering, structural engineering, horticulture, environmental psychology, industrial design, soil sciences, botany, and fine arts. 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 from the management of large wilderness areas to reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills. Landscape architects work on structures and external spaces in the landscape aspect of the design – 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. The majority of their time will most likely be spent inside an office building designing and preparing models for clients.
Landscape Architects are generally required to have university or graduate education from an accredited landscape architecture degree program, which can vary in length and degree title. They learn how to create projects from scratch, such as residential or commercial planting and designing outdoor living spaces they are willing to work with others to get a better outcome for the customers when doing a project; they will have to learn the basics of how to create a project on a manner of time and will require to get your license in a certain state to be allowed to work; students of Landscape Architects will learn how to interact with clients and will learn how to explain a design from scratch when giving the final project.
Landscape architecture has been taught in the University of Manchester since the 1950s. The course in the Manchester School of Architecture enables students to gain various bachelor's and master's degrees, including MLPM(Hons) which is accredited by the Landscape Institute and by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
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 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 John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843) was instrumental in the adoption of the term landscape architecture by the modern profession. He took up the term from Meason and gave it publicity in his Encyclopedias and in his 1840 book on the Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton.
The practice of landscape architecture spread from the Old to the New World. The term "landscape architect" was used as a professional title by Frederick Law Olmsted in the United States in 1863 and Andrew Jackson Downing, another early American landscape designer, was editor of The Horticulturist magazine (1846–52). In 1841 his first book, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America, was published to a great success; it was the first book of its kind published in the United States. During the latter 19th century, the term landscape architect began to be used by professional landscapes designers, and was firmly 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 variety of the professional tasks that landscape architects collaborate on is very broad, but some examples of project types include:
Landscape managers use their knowledge of landscape processes to advise on the long-term 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 planning.
Green roof (or more specifically, vegetative roof) designers design extensive and intensive roof gardens for storm water management, evapo-transpirative cooling, sustainable architecture, aesthetics, and habitat creation. Therapeutic/ Healing gardens are also a part of rooftop gardens. These types of gardens have proven to help reduce stress, anxiety, and even help hospital patients recover faster. Plants have always been the center of a landscape design and now with these types of gardens, it is proof that nature is a vital part of the well-being of humans. In recent years the need and interest of therapeutic gardens have been increasingly rising. The topic was vastly unknown and a main reason for this was because there was nothing written on the topic. Recently there has been a lot of research done and published on the topic and as a result, the increase of interest for therapeutic gardens has spiked.
Through the 19th century, urban planning became a focal point and central issue in cities. The combination of the tradition of landscape gardening and the emerging field of urban planning offered landscape architecture an opportunity to serve these needs. In the second half of the century, Frederick Law Olmsted completed a series of parks that continue to have a significant 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 eleven 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.
Since this period urban planning has developed into a separate independent profession that has incorporated important contributions from other fields such as civil engineering, architecture and public administration. Urban Planners are qualified to perform tasks independent of landscape architects, and in general, the curriculum of landscape architecture programs do not prepare students to become urban planners.
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 mid-century 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 Europe, North America, parts of South America, Australia, India, and New Zealand, landscape architecture is a regulated profession.
Since 1889, with the arrival of the French architect and urbanist landscaper Carlos Thays, recommended to recreate the National Capital's parks and public gardens, it was consolidated an apprentice and training program in landscaping that eventually became a regulated profession, currently the leading academic institution is the UBA University of Buenos Aires"UBA Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo" (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism) offering a Bacherlor's degree in Urban Landscaping Design and Planning, the profession itself is regulated by the National Ministry of Urban Planning of Argentina and the Institute of the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden.
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) provides accreditation of university degrees and non-statutory professional registration for landscape architects. Once recognized by AILA, landscape architects use the title 'Registered Landscape Architect' across the six states and territories within Australia.
AILA's system of professional recognition is a national system overseen by the AILA National Office in Canberra. To apply for AILA Registration, an applicant usually needs to satisfy a number of pre-requisites, including university qualification, a minimum number years of practice and a record of professional experience.
Landscape Architecture within Australia covers a broad spectrum of planning, design, management, and research. From specialist design services for government and private sector developments through to specialist professional advice as an expert witness.
In Canada, landscape architecture, like law and medicine, is a self-regulating 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 standing.
Provincial regulatory bodies are members of a national organization, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects / L'Association des Architectes Paysagistes du Canada (CSLA-AAPC), and individual membership in the CSLA-AAPC is obtained through joining one of the provincial or territorial components.
ISLA (Indonesia Society of Landscape Architects) is the Indonesian society for professional landscape architects formed on 4 February 1978 and is a member of IFLA APR and IFLA World. The main aim is to increase the dignity of the professional members of landscape architects by increasing their activity role in community service, national and international development. The management of IALI consists of National Administrators who are supported by 20 Regional Administrators (Provincial level) and 3 Branch Managers at city level throughout Indonesia.
Landscape architecture education in Indonesia was held in 18 universities, which graduated D3, Bachelor and Magister graduates. The landscape architecture education incorporate in Association of Indonesian Landscape Architecture Education.
AIAPP (Associazione Italiana Architettura del Paesaggio) 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:
The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) is the professional body for Landscape Architects in NZ.
In April 2013, NZILA 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 meet to share ideas around a particular topic.
Within NZ, Members of NZILA when they achieve their professional standing, can use the title Registered Landscape Architect NZILA.
NZILA provides an education policy and an accreditation process to review education programme providers; currently there are three accredited undergraduate Landscape Architecture programmes in New Zealand. Lincoln University also has an accredited masters programme in landscape architecture.
Landscape architecture in Norway was established in 1919 at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) at Ås. The Norwegian School of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Landscape and Society is responsible for Europe's oldest landscape architecture education on an academic level. The departments areas include design and design of cities and places, garden art history, landscape engineering, greenery, zone planning, site development, place making and place keeping.
In May 1962, Joane Pim, Ann Sutton, Peter Leutscher and Roelf Botha (considered the forefathers of the profession in South Africa) established the Institute for Landscape Architects, now known as the Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA). ILASA is a voluntary organisation registered with the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP). It consists of three regional bodies, namely, Gauteng, KwaZula-Natal and the Western Cape. ILASA's mission is to advance the profession of landscape architecture and uphold high standards of professional service to its members, and to represent the profession of landscape architecture in any matter which may affect the interests of the members of the institute. ILASA holds the country's membership with The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).
In South Africa, the profession is regulated by SACLAP, established as a statutory council in terms of Section 2 of the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession Act – Act 45 of 2000. The Council evolved out of the Board of Control for Landscape Architects (BOCLASA), which functioned under the Council of Architects in terms of The Architectural Act, Act 73 of 1970. SACLAP's mission is to establish, direct, sustain and ensure a high level of professional responsibilities and ethical conduct within the art and science of landscape architecture with honesty, dignity and integrity in the broad interest of public health, safety and welfare of the community.
After completion of an accredited under-graduate and/or post-graduate qualification in landscape architecture at either the University of Cape Town or the University of Pretoria, or landscape technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, professional registration is attained via a mandatory mentored candidacy period (minimum of two years) and sitting of the professional registration exam. After successfully completing the exam, the individual is entitled to the status of Professional Landscape Architect or Professional Landscape Technologist.
The UK's professional body is the Landscape Institute (LI). It is a chartered body that 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 aimed to raise the profile of landscape architecture and highlight its valuable role in building sustainable communities and fighting climate change.
As of July 2018, the "I want to be a Landscape Architect" initiative was replaced by a brand new careers campaign entitled #ChooseLandscape, which aims to raise awareness of landscape as a profession; improve and increase access to landscape education; and inspire young people to choose landscape as a career. This new campaign includes other landscape-related professions such as landscape management, landscape planning, landscape science and urban design.
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 called The Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.). Several states require passage of a state exam as well. In the United States 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 United States landscape architects is the American Society of Landscape Architects. Frederic Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City, is known as the "father of American Landscape Architecture".
There are important distinctions between planners and allied professionals and between planning and related fields. Planners approach problems comprehensively, have a long-range perspective, and deal with unique place-based issues. Although people in related professions (e.g., law, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, real estate development, etc.) and disciplines (humanities, psychology, etc.) often work with planners, they do not necessarily have the same knowledge base, skillset, and approach.