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Landscape Designer vs. Landscape Architect: The Main Differences

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20 million Americans have tried gardening for the first time in recent years. If you’re one of these people, you may understand how difficult it is to maintain plant life. Now, take it a step further, and you’re in the world of landscaping.

Landscaping is more than the arrangement of various foliage in a garden. It also focuses on the harmony of different elements. This may include other projects like patios or pools.

Interested in cultivating an outdoor space? First, you need to decide on a landscape designer vs. landscape architect. Read on as we uncover the differences between these two professions and how they can benefit in an outdoor project.


What is a landscape architect? Based on the title, you may have concluded that a landscape architect comes with a degree, and you would be right.

Landscape architecture is a four to five-year course. During this time, you learn construction techniques, design, and art. Landscape architecture involves rigorous training to prepare students for large-scale projects.

This degree shows that you have extensive knowledge of site planning. Site planning covers not only the topography of the land but also utilities, property lines, and any existing structures. A landscape architect should be able to plan around the existing conditions and make efficient use of the land.

Landscape designers, on the other hand, need no special degree. If you’re interested in becoming a landscape designer with no previous experience, you’re in luck!

Many successful landscape designers are self-taught. However, some acquire their skills through specialized courses.

Some landscape designers have educational training in related fields, like horticulture, botany, or soil science.

Many are proficient in computer-aided software. It’s through years of experience that one can develop their artistic flair and earn the title of a “designer.”


Landscape architects have an average annual salary of $74,789. On the other hand, landscape designers have an average annual salary of $67,127.

Salaries can differ depending on the architect or designer’s state. Their level of education and experience can also help them earn more. Landscape architects tend to earn more due to the variety of work they can do.

Some landscape architects spend time on project sites, while others work from an office. Some architects are self-employed, but many also work for landscape design firms. Landscape architects also have more freedom to explore different career paths, such as a project manager.


Landscape architects and designers have similar skill sets. However, they may possess different strengths or employ these skills in different ways. Here are some of them:


Both landscape architects and designers must have good botany skills. However, a landscape architect may have a better understanding of how certain plant species can interact with their surroundings. For example, English ivy can make a home look inviting and cottage-like.

However, it can also damage a home’s gutters and roof tiles. A landscape architect may suggest alternatives like the Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy. These plants can help homeowners achieve the same look without risking property damage.

On the other hand, a landscape designer can help clients achieve a certain aesthetic. Landscape designers have extensive knowledge about different plant species and how they interact with each other. They also ensure that the new plants won’t harm any existing growth, shrubs, or trees.


Both architects and designers are capable of conceptualizing. However, landscape architects tend to have more advanced drafting skills.

Landscape designers may stick to the standard pen and paper or use basic software. Landscape architects may create and render 3D models and blueprints. Check out DynaScape’s landscape design software to get an idea of the process.

Primary Training Concepts

Landscape architects and designers also function off different training concepts. These concepts are often the basis of their decision-making.

A landscape architect would allocate more importance towards building materials. They’re also proficient in drafting blueprints, reports, and structural designs. Landscape architects also consider different biomes and the environmental impacts of their projects.

Designers would have more experience in handling plant types and yard maintenance. They are familiar with soil analyses and basic drainage and water management systems. Both professions must have a good understanding of local regulations.


Landscape architects must earn their state architect license before they can work in their jurisdiction. This is because landscape architects also deal with construction and larger-scale projects. These professionals are also involved in the development of outdoor recreational facilities, like parks.

Each state has its own licensure exam. Some may require architects to also complete the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam.

Once licensed, a landscape architect can provide a wide range of services. This includes design, consultation, and research. They may also draft any necessary contracts before the project.

Landscape designers have more flexibility. They don’t have any required licenses or certifications. However, those can help them in acquiring more landscape designer jobs.

Scale and Scope of Work

Landscape designers primarily work with smaller-scale residential projects. They’re who you call if you want your garden to be prettier or more functional. They can also help if you want to add a pond or a garden patio.

Landscape architects focus on larger projects. They also work in various sectors, such as:

  • Public parks

  • Urban spaces

  • Commercial buildings

  • Recreational outdoor spaces

  • Resorts

  • Cemeteries

  • Malls

Some landscape architects also serve wealthier residential communities. Landscape architects are more proficient in more complex ideas like grading and drainage.

No profession is better than the other. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Both architects and designers are proficient in project management.

They can adjust the concept to accommodate your budget and timeline.

Landscape Designer vs. Landscape Architect: What You Need to Know

So, what’s the difference between a landscape designer vs. landscape architect? A landscape designer specializes in small residential projects. Landscape architecture is a stricter profession that requires proper licensure and deals with large-scale projects.

They have more architectural design skills for conceptualizing more complex structures. Though both have unique strengths, landscape designers and architects can also work together. If you want to learn more about landscaping, check out our other blog posts.

This article is published by NYTech in collaboration with Syndication Cloud.

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