The Landscape Guide

The importance of landscape architecture

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Landscape architecture is one of the world's most important professions.

Neglecting the architectures of the world's fast-changing landscapes will result in endless highways lined with endless blocks of endless tedium - dreary expanses of housing, industry, forestry and agriculture - our natural landscapes buried under repetitive building and planting. Instead, we should design the architecture of 'new landscapes for our new lives' (Fairbrother, N. 1970). The engineering of anti-landscapes should make way for an enlightened landscape architecture. With the death of engineer's modernism, it is time for a twenty-first century approach. See:-
20 Essays on Landscape Architecture & Urban Design + 750 illustrations.

What is landscape architecture?

Landscape architecture is the professional skill of composing man-made structures, including buildings and paving, with the natural landscape and with designs for landform, water and planting. See also: Definitions of landscape, landscape design, landscape architecture, landscape planning and EID.

Landscape architecture theory

Landscape architecture and garden design are separate arts with a shared and ancient heritage. The distinction is that gardens are usually enclosed and private. Landscape architecture is concerned with public goods and public spaces. Societies require landscape architectural policies for each land use category - to conserve what has value and and to create new public goods. See the policies for: urbanisation, greenways, cycling, forestry, mineral extraction, transport, water storage, river reclamation, new towns and green towns.

The origin of landscape architecture

The name "landscape architecture" was invented by a Scotsman in 1828. It uses the ancient skill of garden designers (to compose landform with water, vegetation, structures and paving) and applies this skill to the man-made landscape. As Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe wrote in The landscape of man (1975): 'It is only in the present century that the collective landscape has emerged as a social necessity. We are promoting a landscape art on a scale never conceived of in history'. Landscape architecture is set fair to become the mother of the arts.

Landscape Architecture and Garden Design

Landscape architects share with garden designers a concern for the planning and design of outdoor space. Like vets and doctors they have similar knowledge and similar skills. The key difference is that landscape architects normally work for public clients (business and governmental) while garden designers tend to work for homeowners. The range of work undertaken by landscape architects extends from detailed design to the broad scale landscape planning. It includes:

Landscape architecture careers

Though they require similar skills, the garden design and landscape architecture professions offer different career and jobs. Landscape architecture jobs often involve working with other professionals (engineers, planners, environmental consultants etc) and have typical career paths from assistant to associate to partner or director. Garden designers are more likely to be self-employed and to work with builders and craftsmen. The illustrations to the right are of landscape architecture.


  • almost 5 years by garden design sydney 5 / 5

    Garden landscaping is an art, a devotion to duty and care beyond sticking a few plants in the ground. Garden landscapers work hard, play hard and smile a lot. They have a joy of heart in the back breaking work they carry out second to none. Working with nature, molding, sculpting the earth to the requirements of their hosts must come with pressures, but it seems that hardened garden landscapers see this as nothing more than the necessary pursuit of perfection to the senses.
    garden design sydney
  • over 5 years by Gwenneth Raybould 5 / 5

    Speakers at 'Ecology in the Designed Landscape' on Saturday 13 November (9.30 to 4.30) in the Garden Room at Hampton Court Palace will focus on how care for nature and respect for the principles of historic design can be reconciled. Promoted by the Garden History Society in assocation with Historic Royal Palaces. Speakers: Terry Gough (HRP), Nick Haycock (Hydrologist), James Hitchmough (Professor Horticultureal Ecology, Sheffield), Simon Lee (Superintendent of Hampstead Heath), Jonathan Lovie, Principal Conservation Officer, GHS), Matthew Tickner (Land Use Consultants), Tom Wall (formerly Natural England), Liz Whittle (CADW).
  • almost 6 years by Don Collier 5 / 5

    Hi; Yes you should hire a landscape architect. They can and will be envaluable. One of the very best is a firm in Palm Beach, Florida, called Sanchez and Maddux. They have clients aroung the world and actually have a book of some of their projects. You can reach them at 561-655-9006. The phone call will be worth your while.
  • almost 6 years by Siobhán 5 / 5

    Hi Sue, this is the kind of thing a landscape architect would love to deal with. You might end up needing one to prepare drawings to gain planning permission anyway. You should enjoy the process, not be dreading it! Best of luck!
  • almost 6 years by Tom 5 / 5

    Yes! The relationship between buildings and their sites is one of the classic aspects of landscape architecture. See Repton's discussion of the subject:
    With regard to your new farmhouse, my suggestion would be to pay a senior partner in a landscape architecture firm for 3 hours of their time, to walk the site with you and do a few sketchs or diagrams. Then you can decide if you want or need any more advice. Good luck with the project.
  • almost 6 years by sue 5 / 5

    I'm a farmer on several hundred acres and about to face up to the fact we need to build a new home. Believe me I'd rather not deal with all the choices and decisions that brings but I'm seriously thinking a landscape architect might be an asset when deciding where on a 200 acre hill with fabulous views a house might sit.
    Because it's not just sighting the house but the approach track, shade and shelter plantings, linking the house to farm shedding thru the farms internal laneways etc etc.
    Do you think this is the type of project a landscape architect might undertake?
  • almost 6 years by Tom 5 / 5

    The two main differences are (1) garden designers tend to work on enclosed space, which could be walled or fenced, and landscape architects tend to work on un-enclosed open space, often used by members of the public (2) garden designers tend to work for private individuals and landscape architects tend to work for public and corporate clients. The chief similarity is that both garden designers and landscape architects make compositions with landform, water, plants, buildings and paving. I hope this helps!
  • almost 6 years by Anonymous 5 / 5

    Hi!. I am a landscape architecture student. we are doing a baby thesis about the difference between landscape architects and gardeners. Although landscape architects are also used to be in gardening, i know there is a big difference between this two profession. i hope you could help me. thanks.

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Medium hatshep4 original

Queen Hatshepsut's Temple is the world's oldest masterpiece of landscape architecture

Medium env psychol original

Nature in the city: Olmsted pioneered the landscape architecture of greenspace in cities. The San Antonio Greenway is a brilliant example of this idea - which many cities could learn from.

Medium newyork1 original

The landscape architecture of New York as it should be

Medium roof garden tokyo original

Future cities will be covered by roof parks and gardens (a roof-garden in Tokyo) - 'landscape on architecture'