What is landscape architecture?

Alfred Place Gardens, London, UK | LDA Design

What is landscape architecture?
Landscape architecture is the study and practice of designing environments (outdoors & indoors) of varying scale that encompasses elements of art, environment, architecture, engineering, and sociology.

Little Island, New York, USA |  MNLA, Heatherwick Studio, Arup,
Image Credit: Timothy Schenk
Xuhui Runway Park, Shanghai, China | Sasaki
Image Credit: Insaw Photography
Jewel at Changi Airport, Singapore – designed by landscape architects – PWP Landscape Architecture and Architect – Safdie Architects Photography | Tim Hurstley

Landscape Architecture is a profession that is unknown or misunderstood as gardening by many. Its value to society is greater than many can imagine and should be celebrated by the population of every town, city, and country.

823 Congress Pocket Patio, Austin, Texas, USA; designed by landscape architects – dwg.
Image Credit: Adam Barbe
TE ARA I WHITI – Light Path, Auckland, New Zealand; designed by landscape architects – LandLAB in collaboration with Monk McKenzie
Image Credit: LandLAB & Monk McKenzie
Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand by landscape architects – LANDPROCESS
Images credit | Courtesy of LANDPROCESS

Landscape architects are involved in the conceptual design of spaces that “creates and enables life between the buildings”. The involvement of landscape architects can be seen in streets, roads, shared paths, housing estates, apartment compounds, shopping malls, squares, plazas, gardens, pocket parks, playgrounds, cemeteries, memorials, museums, schools, universities, transport networks, regional parks, national parks, forests, waterways and across towns, cities and countries. Landscape architects often go beyond site design and also create masterplans, frameworks and policies for place and city-shaping that enable citizens and government to create better places for all.

Hongkou North Bund Waterfront Masterplan, Shanghai, China designed by landscape architects Hassell
Render Image Credit: Hassell
The fourteen Nature-Based Solutions (NBS)  typologies – so-called ‘NBS Families’. design by landscape architects © Felixx
Boston Children’s Hospital Green Masterplan, Boston, USA | MYKD
Southeast view of the Keflavík Airport Area – Team KCAP wins Keflavík Airport Area Strategic Masterplan Competition

Many landscape architects from the past, current, (and future) have designed everlasting landscapes that will stand the test of time for decades to come that create calm, joy, and inspiration for so many. As a profession, landscape architects should be proud as few professions can stake claim to creating places that impact and benefit so many people.

Scioto Greenways, Columbus, Ohio, USA | MKSK
KUSTZONE – KATWIJK, Rijkswaterstaat, the Netherlands; designed by landscape architect architects OKRA | © OnSite Photography
Mill River and Greenway, Stamford, Connecticut, USA | OLIN | Image Credit – ©Carly Bergey

The question of what is landscape architecture raises varying opinions on what it is and isn’t; the profession is so broad and encompassing that there is enough scope and breadth in the profession to accommodate varying views and remember that we have a wide range of expertise, skills and talents.

Ian Potter Wild Play, Sydney, Australia designed by landscape architects – ASPECT Studios | Image ©Brett Boardman
Berczy Park, Toronto, Canada | CC+A | Image by Industryous

April is Landscape Architecture Month and WLA will be looking at What is landscape architecture? and publishing various profiles and articles.

Article Written by Damian Holmes, Founder and Editor of WLA.
He is also a registered Landscape Architect with extensive experience in Australia, Canada, and China. 
Email [email protected]


About Damian Holmes 3232 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/