The Difference Between a Landscape Designer and Architect

At Wright Landscape Services, we’re fortunate to have on our staff the skills and services of a landscape designer and architect.

Many people use these terms interchangeably, thinking they’re more or less the same thing.

In reality, there are significant differences between the two.

Yes, they’ll work together to bring your landscape design dream to life. But they have separate roles and responsibilities in doing so.

Landscape designer

The landscape designers at Wright Landscape Services are certified through a post-secondary program.

However, it is possible for someone to call themselves a landscape designer with no formal training or education.

Still, a landscape designer will have knowledge in the following areas:

  • Horticulture basics.
  • Design conceptualization, representation, and presentation.
  • Botany.
  • Identifying garden plants.
  • Deciduous and coniferous trees.

The primary responsibility of a landscape designer is to create an attractive, aesthetically pleasing outdoor living space for their clients.

That means, during the course of your landscaping project, a designer may:

  • Take photographs of your current property.
  • Recommend plants based on your preferences.
  • Account for things like how much garden maintenance and lawn care you’re willing to provide.
  • Accompany you to local nurseries when selecting plants, materials, and furnishings.

In short, when you have a vision for your outdoor living spaces, a landscape designer can help you take it from your imagination to a tangible concept.

Landscape architect

In order to call yourself a landscape architect in the province of Ontario, you must have earned either:

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture.
  • Masters of Landscape Architecture.

In addition to receiving parts of the same education as a landscape designer, architects are also trained in the following disciplines, which are required by most municipalities for commercial and industrial work:

  • Grading and drainage.
  • Identifying and overcoming environmental limitations.
  • Adhering to local laws and securing the proper permits.
  • Landscape conservation and restoration.

One significant difference is that, when working on a project, a landscape architect must account for local topography (such as slopes and grades) when planning for:

Landscape architects are also adept at working with “hardscapes” (i.e. natural stone and interlocking).

In short, a landscape architect understands how a project gets built in addition to coming up with what gets built.

Other differences

Usually (but not always) landscape designers primarily work on small-scale residential properties, coming up with solutions for things like integrating a new garden with an existing patio.

In addition to residential properties, landscape architects may also work on things like:

  • Larger homes.
  • Commercial
  • Parks, trails, and playgrounds.
  • Streetscapes.
  • Plazas.

Need an architect or a designer? We have both

As you can see, there are differences between a landscape designer and architect.

Something they do have in common, though, is they’ll both work with you to design and build the landscape of your dreams.

If you’ve got an idea for your outdoor living space, we want to hear about it.

Tell us a little about your project. You can also send us any comments or questions you have about Wright Landscape Services.