What Is a Landscape Architect and Do I Need One?
It is common practice to hire a landscaper to help with common landscape architecture jobs like lawn care, shrub maintenance, and floral design. But sometimes a landscaper isn’t enough when you’ve got an outdoor project that needs to be tackled; you may need a landscape architect instead. Here, we will discuss what landscape architects do and why it could pay to hire one yourself.
What Do Landscape Architects Do?
If you’ve ever asked, what do landscape architects do, we can answer! A landscape architect is a professional who is equipped to design outdoor spaces and make the most of natural environments. Landscape architects are often hired to work on projects ranging from parks to plazas to golf courses. They are typically employed in both a private/residential and public capacity, and they are not just reserved for suburban or rural areas; they are often hired for the planning and design of outdoor spaces in urban areas, too.
When you hire a landscape architect, they will help you map out a vision for your outdoor space, whether via hand drawings or computerized models generated by CAD software. Your landscape architect will consider numerous factors when designing your space, including:
- Sun exposure
- The health and well-being of people using the space
- The budget you have to work with
For some larger projects, a landscape architect might employ geographic information systems, which are computerized systems designed to analyze land-related data.
What Makes Landscape Architecture Different?
Landscape architects should not be confused with regular landscapers. A landscape architect won’t cut your grass or trim your bushes, nor can a landscape architect construct retaining walls, excavate with a backhoe, or build structures in your backyard. Rather, landscape architects are in charge of the design process. They come up with ideas and use their experience and problem-solving skills to suggest safe, sustainable solutions to maximize outdoor spaces.
What Qualifications Should a Landscape Architect Have?
Landscape architecture is one of those occupations that require specific training. It is common for landscape architects to graduate from a specific landscape architecture program Any landscape architect you hire will probably at the very least, have a bachelor’s degree – such as a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). However, it’s common practice to hold a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA).
More importantly than a degree, landscape architects need a license to do what they do and to obtain one, they must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Furthermore, 30 states require landscape architects to adhere to continuing education requirements to keep their licenses current. Generally speaking, landscape architects need creativity and problem-solving skills. These qualities help them make good use of open spaces large and small.
When to Hire a Landscape Architect?
In a nutshell, it pays to hire a landscape architect if you have an outdoor space you’re not sure what to do with. Imagine you buy a home that sits on two acres- more land than you’ve ever owned. A landscape architect can help you maximize that space. That could include building retaining walls to create defined sections within that space, constructing a gazebo or pergola, or putting up a tree line for privacy. Similarly, if you’ve purchased a commercial property and aren’t sure how to maximize its outdoor space, a landscape architect can help you create walkways or features that minimize congestion and lend to a steady flow of foot traffic.
When you need to solve or prevent outdoor problems
A landscape architect can also help you address specific problems with your land. If your property experiences drainage issues, a landscape architect can suggest ways to regrade your land or make other adjustments to your outdoor environment that prevents ponding or flooding. A landscape architect can also help if your outdoor space contains a lot of uneven lands. In that case, a professional might recommend leveling a portion of your property and constructing a retaining wall around it.
A landscape architect should also be called in if your outdoor space is prone to droughts or is at risk of being hit by wildfires. A professional can help you identify plants and shrubs that are more likely to thrive in dry environments and can plant them strategically to ensure that they thrive.
How to find the right landscape architect
Hiring a landscape architect for help in designing or changing your outdoor space can be a great investment in your property. But if you’re going to pay for a landscape architect, it’s important to choose the right one.
Benefits of Hiring a Landscape Architect
Increase the Value of Your Home
Hiring a landscape architect is one of the best investments for your home, adding as much as 15 percent to its value over comparable houses. A landscape architect is well equipped to design an outdoor living space that will not only add value but also extend your living space while allowing you to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Lower Your Utility Bills
The proper placement of trees and large shrubs can actually lower energy bills by reducing heating and cooling costs, and a knowledgeable landscape architect knows exactly where they should be placed.
Incorporate Permeable Paving
Permeable paving can offer solutions for driveway flooding or just add beauty to patios and sidewalks while reducing runoff and encouraging groundwater recharge. A landscape architect will integrate permeable paving into your home landscape.
Do You Need a Landscape Architect?
If you need a professional for simple landscape projects like designing a flower bed or planting bushes, then a regular landscaper will suffice. But if your project is much larger or you have no idea what you want to do with your outdoor space, then it could pay to bring in a landscape architect to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
If you’re looking for some of the best landscape architects in the area, check out Apex Landscaping! We provide superior landscaping and expert knowledge. Contact our team today!