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Should You Hire a Landscape Architect or a Landscape Designer?

landscape architect designed pool

Should You Hire a Landscape Architect or a Landscape Designer?

You are excited about the thought of renovating your landscape or constructing an outdoor oasis. The question is: should you enlist the help of a landscape designer or a landscape architect? The professions are similar, yet there are some foundational differences between the two. Both work with plants and structures to design beautiful landscapes. However, the two professions vary in how each is licensed/certified, educated, and experienced in complex site plan design.

Landscape Architects Require Licensure and Education

To practice landscape architecture, one must be licensed by the state. Licensure is proof that a landscape architect has completed his/her education, gained several years of professional experience, and passed an exam which demonstrates thorough understanding and knowledge of the development of land areas. To become a landscape designer, no state license or accreditation is required. However, the American Profession of Landscape Professionals (APLD) does offer a certification process for landscape designers.

Landscape architects must also earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture from an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) accredited program. This education builds an understanding of complex site issues such as drainage, grading, plantings, utilities, site structures and their construction, and overall site development. Continuing education is also a requirement to maintain a landscape architecture license, which must be renewed every 2 years. There is no formal education requirement to use the title landscape designer. Landscape design programs range from 1-year certificates to 4-year degrees.

landscape architect designed patio firepit

Ground One’s 2017 Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association Award Winning Landscape

Landscape Architects Bring Experience to Every Project

After completing a degree in landscape architecture, one must gain 3-4 years of professional work experience before applying to take the licensure exam. By the time an individual becomes licensed as a landscape architect, he or she has almost a decade’s worth of education and experience: 4-6 years of education and at least 3-4 years of work experience. The education and experience level of a landscape designer is much more varied and may be more focused on a particular scope of work.

A landscape architect’s advanced education and prior work experience bring a depth of knowledge and breadth of abilities to landscape projects. Landscape architects often facilitate design work ranging from public parks to residential landscapes, while landscape designers will typically focus on the fundamentals of garden design and maintenance.

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Ground One’s 2016 Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association Award Winning Landscape

Still not sure if you should be working with a landscape architect or a landscape designer?

The good news is Ground One’s got you covered. We’re one of just a few Minnesota landscape companies whose design team includes award-winning landscape architects and highly talented landscape designers. When we sit down with you for an initial consultation we’ll ask about your goals and wishes for the project, listen to your concerns, and help your clarify priorities. Once we have a sense of the scope and complexity of your project, we’ll assign the landscape architect or landscape designer that has the right combination of skills and experience to bring that outdoor oasis you’ve been dreaming of to life. If you’re ready to make those dreams a reality, contact us to set up a free consultation!