Landscape architecture

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Stourhead in Wiltshire, England, designed by Henry Hoare (1705-1785), "the first landscape gardener, who showed in a single work, genius of the highest order" Stourhead Pantheon.jpg
Stourhead in Wiltshire, England, designed by Henry Hoare (1705–1785), "the first landscape gardener, who showed in a single work, genius of the highest order"

Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioural, or aesthetic outcomes. [2] It involves the systematic investigation of existing social, ecological, and soil conditions and processes in the landscape, and the design of interventions that will produce the desired outcome. The scope of the profession includes landscape design; site planning; stormwater management; erosion control; environmental restoration; parks and recreation 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 is called a landscape architect.

Landscape design art tradition, practised by landscape designers, combining nature and culture

Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practiced by landscape designers, combining nature and culture. In contemporary practice, landscape design bridges the space between landscape architecture and garden design.

Site planning in landscape architecture and architecture refers to the organizational stage of the landscape design process. It involves the organization of land use zoning, access, circulation, privacy, security, shelter, land drainage, and other factors. This is done by arranging the compositional elements of landform, planting, water, buildings and paving in site plans. Site planning is the design and process of planning for a new development project. Within Community Development, this stage of site planning is the organizing phase where city planners create a tactical/detailed plan of new developments. These site plans are the exact details city planners need to give their proposal to the community. This is the proposal to the community to get development plans approved of. Through site analysis and precise dimensions taken by development engineers, community members are given an exact image of what developers want to do.

Environmental restoration is closely allied with ecological restoration or environmental remediation. In the U.S., remediation is the term used more in the realms of industry, public policy, and the civil services. Environmental restoration is a term common in the citizens’ environmental movement.


Definition of Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of botany, horticulture, the fine arts, architecture, industrial design, soil sciences, environmental psychology, geography, ecology, and civil engineering. 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 the management of large wilderness areas or reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills. Landscape architects work on structures and external spaces with limitations toward the landscape or park 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.

Botany science of plant life

Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη (botanē) meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder"; βοτάνη is in turn derived from βόσκειν (boskein), "to feed" or "to graze". Traditionally, botany has also included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists respectively, with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists study approximately 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants, and approximately 20,000 are bryophytes.

Horticulture culture of plants, mainly for food, materials, comfort and beauty

Horticulture has been defined as the agriculture of plants, mainly for food, materials, comfort and beauty. According to American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, "Horticulture is the growing of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and of plants for ornament and fancy." A more precise definition can be given as "The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental plants as well as many additional services". It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction and maintenance, and arboriculture. In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry.

Fine art Art developed primarily for aesthetics

In European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from decorative art or applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork. In the aesthetic theories developed in the Italian Renaissance, the highest art was that which allowed the full expression and display of the artist's imagination, unrestricted by any of the practical considerations involved in, say, making and decorating a teapot. It was also considered important that making the artwork did not involve dividing the work between different individuals with specialized skills, as might be necessary with a piece of furniture, for example. Even within the fine arts, there was a hierarchy of genres based on the amount of creative imagination required, with history painting placed higher than still life.


Orangery at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris Orangerie.jpg
Orangery at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris

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 at Vaux-le-Vicomte 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. [3]

Garden design art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes

Garden design is the art and process of designing and creating plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Garden design may be done by the garden owner themselves, or by professionals of varying levels of experience and expertise. Most professional garden designers have some training in horticulture and the principles of design. Some are also landscape architects, a more formal level of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license. Amateur gardeners may also attain a high level of experience from extensive hours working in their own gardens, through casual study, serious study in Master Gardener Programs, or by joining gardening clubs.

Palace grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop.

André Le Nôtre French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France

André Le Nôtre, originally rendered as André Le Nostre, was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. Most notably, he was the landscape architect who designed the park of the Palace of Versailles, and his work represents the height of the French formal garden style, or jardin à la française.

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[ citation needed ] 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. [4] During the latter 19th century, the term landscape architect begun 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. [5] [6] [7]

Frederick Law Olmsted American landscape designer, journalist, social critic, and public administrator

Frederick Law Olmsted was an American landscape architect, journalist, social critic, and public administrator. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted was famous for co-designing many well-known urban parks with his senior partner Calvert Vaux, including Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York and Cadwalader Park in Trenton.

Andrew Jackson Downing American landscape designer & horticulturalist

Andrew Jackson Downing was an American landscape designer, horticulturalist, and writer, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival in the United States, and editor of The Horticulturist magazine (1846–52). Downing is considered to be a founder of American landscape architecture.

Fields of activity

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, established 1759
The Palm House built 1844-1848 by Richard Turner to Decimus Burton's designs Kew Gardens Palm House, London - July 2009.jpg
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, established 1759
The Palm House built 1844–1848 by Richard Turner to Decimus Burton's designs
Urban design in city squares. Water feature in London, by Tadao Ando who also works with landscapes and gardens Water feature Silence, Mayfair, London.JPG
Urban design in city squares. Water feature in London, by Tadao Ando who also works with landscapes and gardens

The variety of the professional tasks that landscape architects collaborate on is very broad, but some examples of project types include: [8]

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend. The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Groundwater recharge groundwater that recharges an aquifer

Groundwater recharge or deep drainage or deep percolation is a hydrologic process, where water moves downward from surface water to groundwater. Recharge is the primary method through which water enters an aquifer. This process usually occurs in the vadose zone below plant roots and, is often expressed as a flux to the water table surface. Groundwater recharge also encompasses water moving away from the water table farther into the saturated zone. Recharge occurs both naturally and through anthropogenic processes, where rainwater and or reclaimed water is routed to the subsurface.

Green infrastructure

Green infrastructure or blue-green infrastructure is a network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature. The main components of this approach include stormwater management, climate adaptation, less heat stress, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and providing shade and shelter in and around towns and cities. Green infrastructure also serves to provide an ecological framework for social, economic and environmental health of the surroundings.

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. [9]

Relation to urban planning

The combination of the traditional landscape gardening and the emerging city planning combined together gave landscape architecture its unique focus. Frederick Law Olmsted used the term 'landscape architecture' using the word as a profession for the first time when designing the Central Park. Central park photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
The combination of the traditional landscape gardening and the emerging city planning combined together gave landscape architecture its unique focus. Frederick Law Olmsted used the term 'landscape architecture' using the word as a profession for the first time when designing the Central Park.

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. [10] In the second half of the century, Frederick Law Olmsted completed a series of parks which 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.. [11] 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. [12]

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. [13] [14] 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. [15]


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. [16]

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. [17]


ISLA (Indonesia Society of Landscape Architects) is the Indonesian society for professional landscape architects formed in 4th February 1978 and is a member of IFLA APR and IFLA World. The main aim is 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.[ citation needed ] In Italy, there are several different professions involved in landscape architecture:

New Zealand

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.

Republic of Ireland

The Irish Landscape Institute [ILI] ( is the officially recognized (by the Irish State) professional body representing landscape architects and parks professionals, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ILI was formed in 1992 by the merger of the ILHI (Institute of Landscape Horticulture of Ireland) and the IILA (Irish Institute of Landscape Architects), representing the related disciplines of landscape architecture and landscape horticulture. The Institute currently (October 2017) has a total membership of 160 (approx.) within 7 membership categories (student, graduate, affiliate, parks professional, corporate, fellow, honorary). In the absence of state regulation of the profession or title 'landscape architect', ILI is self-regulating, as for example in its adoption of the trade-marked title, 'Registered Landscape Architect', that is solely permissible for use by corporate members.

At international level, the ILI is a full member of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) through its European Region (IFLA-Europe). The ILI has play a consistent and active role in IFLA and the current president of IFLA-Europe is Irishman and ILI Past President, Mr. Tony Williams MILI. In the Republic of Ireland, the ILI is a member institute of the Urban Forum, which represents 5 built-environment professional bodies in engineering, architecture, planning, quantity surveying and landscape architecture.

ILI promotes the landscape profession by its accreditation of the master's degree programme in University College Dublin, its certification of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for its members, administration of professional practice examinations, advocacy and lobbying in respect of government policies, guidelines and standards (e.g. the National Landscape Strategy, National Planning Framework, Blue-Green Infrastructure), conferences and seminars, public lectures and design awards.

The profession grew rapidly during the Irish economic boom of the early 21st. century, benefiting from the upsurge in the construction and development sectors and from the States' capital investment in infrastructure. The recession brought a sharp reduction in membership numbers. The profession and ILI has proven resilient with clear evidence of a slow but steady recovery through growth in membership and in employment, since the commencement of economic recovery in 2014.

A key challenge remains: there is still no professional regulation or protection registration of title in Ireland, despite calls for such on successive government by ILI over many years. Therefore, there is no state-guarantee or protection of clients, for example in terms of insuring and verifying educational qualifications, professional indemnity insurance or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of those claiming to be landscape architects. Notwithstanding this, there is a growing awareness in some important sectors (e.g. government departments, media, construction, tourism) of the profession. This is due - to some degree - to the ongoing work of the ILI in promoting the benefits of landscape architecture to Irish society, economy and environment.

Landscape architects in Ireland work in private practice, public sector bodies at local government level and in some state bodies (e.g. transport, national heritage) and in academia. The demand for their professional services is often associated with public infrastructure projects (e.g. roads, motorways, renewable energy facilities, water treatment plants, etc.), Blue-Green Infrastructure (planning, design and management of parks, greenspaces, amenity trees) and with construction projects related to land use developments, principally residential, commercial and mixed-use developments in urban landscapes.

Landscape architects are employed in design of: green infrastructure, public realm, institutional/medical/industrial campuses and settings, parks, play facilities, transport (road/rail/cycle/port) corridors, retail complexes, residential estates (including plans for remediation of now-abandoned housing 'ghost' estates), village improvements, accessibility audits, graveyard restoration schemes, wind farms, wetland drainage systems and coastal zones. They are also significantly employed in preparation/review of statutory impact assessment reports on landscape, visual and ecological impacts of planning proposals.

South Africa

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). [18] ILASA is a voluntary organisation registered with the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP). [19] 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). [20]

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.

United Kingdom

The UK's professional body is the Landscape Institute (LI). It is a chartered body which 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. [21]

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. [22] This new campaign includes other landscape-related professions such as landscape management, landscape planning, landscape science and urban design. [23]

United States

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. [24] 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." [25]


See also

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  6. UNCESCO Documents and Publications
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