What is Landscape Architecture?

Published: October 04, 2020

Landscape architecture has been a big part of my life for quite some time and this question is something that I’m still trying to figure out and give answers to myself and everyone else. When I share with people what my profession is, I always get the same reaction ‘Oh that is wonderful, you design gardens’. Well, it is a lot more than just gardens. Landscape architecture is diverse and complex, so I have decided to dedicate a whole post to this topic, where I would try to explain the essence of landscape architecture by answering simple questions.

When it all started?

From the distant past, people tried to modify the landscape in order to create a better quality of life or to aesthetically improve space. The official term ‘landscape architecture’ was born in the 19th century. The profession developed and changed throughout history but I would like to focus more on what LA is today.

What LA studies?

It is a multidisciplinary field that combines knowledge from botany, horticulture, geomorphology, ecology, hydrology, fine arts, architecture, etc. It requires creative and technical skills as well as using a scientific approach and principles of sustainable development. Let's compare landscape architecture with a cake! In order to get the perfect cake, you need to create all the layers with a specific quantity and quality of ingredients but at the same time, you need to be creative and skillful enough to make it not only tasty but beautiful as well. The same goes with landscape architecture, cake layers are scientific fields that have to be researched and used in the correct order and put together in such a way that the planned area is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

What do landscape architects do?

Landscape architecture projects are focusing on the design and functional aspects of outdoor spaces, both softscape, and hardscape. Locations can vary, from natural habitats to rural, suburban, and urban areas. It includes both public and private areas from small to big scale. It’s the landscape architect’s job to do thorough research, design, and materialize ideas.

Their work can be seen all around us:

  • Parks, squares, botanical gardens, arboretums, waterfronts, and boulevards

  • Rain gardens, green roofs, wetlands, and vertical gardens

  • Educational and government institutions

  • Playgrounds, golf courses, theme parks, and sports facilities

  • Private residential gardens, balconies, atriums, and urban furniture

  • Bridges, transit corridors, streets, windbreak, and shelterbelts

  • Historic gardens, national park, and conservation areas

  • Cemeteries, landfills, industrial areas, brownfield, and zoo

My goal is to portray landscape architecture in the best possible way and to help people understand what it stands for and represents. I am very proud to be a part of the landscape architecture community and hope that our profession will get the recognition that it deserves.