What are types of landscape design?

Landscape design is the profession which designs and maintains the land and its surrounding environment. It includes all those who work with nature in some way, shape or form. There are many different kinds of landscape architects: landscape designers, urban planners, ecologists, hydrologists…etc. They differ from one another mainly in their specialization and degree level.

A landscape architect’s main task is to create and maintain the physical layout of a place, including roads, buildings, gardens and other facilities. They may also supervise the construction of new structures such as houses or even whole towns. Some specialize in designing public spaces like parks and squares while others focus on preserving natural landscapes. A few specializations include water management (such as watershed planning), environmental engineering (water treatment plants) and housing design (houses).

The term “landscape” is used here in the broad sense of any kind of structure or area. So if you’re talking about a garden, then it would be considered a type of landscape. For example, if I’m building a house on my property, it will most likely not be called a garden; rather it’ll be called a house. The same goes for the landscaping around the house. However, if I’m building a large plaza or even a park, then that would be considered as landscape architecture.

Here are some of the more common areas of specialization within landscape architecture:

Garden design – A garden is an area of land that has been planted with trees, flowers, bushes and other plants. Many people have gardens attached to their house or located near their house. A garden can range from something small and simple to something very large and complex. A landscape gardener designs and maintains these gardens. They are most likely to work with private owners who want to beautify their property.

Beautification of public areas – There are many large areas of land that are owned by the government for the use and enjoyment of its citizens. These types of landscape architects design and maintain these large areas such as parks, squares and even golf courses. They are also called urban designers.

Environmental design – This type of landscape architecture involves working with nature instead of against it. An environmental design landscape architect needs to be very in tune with the natural world and how to work within it. For example, an environmental landscape architect may create a new park by building a dam in a river to create a nice lake. They also may work on restoring damaged ecosystems that don’t necessarily involve human habitation.

Restoration – Sometimes a natural disaster or human activity can cause damage to an area of land, such as a forest fire. In these cases it is the job of a landscape architect to restore the land to its original condition if possible. This can range from the minor such as fixing a sidewalk that was damaged in a storm to major repairs such as restoring a coastal area after a hurricane.

Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) – Analysing how a certain development project will affect the environment and exploring ways to minimize or avoid potential damage. For example, an EIA may be carried out on a proposed construction project to see if the soil can support the foundations or whether erosion will be caused by the backfill process.

Water management and conservation – One of the main focuses of a landscape architect. The landscape architect will try to manage water effectively during construction, such as installing French drains. They will also create systems that will effectively manage and conserve water once a project is completed. For example, incorporating low-flow shower heads and faucets into a new hospital.

Green building design – Not exactly a specialization within landscape architecture, but something that is closely related. Green building design incorporates many of the same principles as environmental design but at a building instead of a regional scale.

Graphic design – Landscape architects often need to produce presentation files for their work. This will include sketches, diagrams and maps. A landscape architect may have a background or training in graphic design in order to produce these effectively

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Research – Much like graphic design, much of a landscape architect’s job involves research. A large portion of this research is focused on the types of plants that will work in the region or what types of rock are in the area. Other research may focus on the latest innovations in Green building design.

Equipment and Tool Maintenance – Depending on the size of the project, a landscape architect may be called upon to use heavy equipment such as loaders or back hoes. It is important that these pieces of equipment are kept in good working condition for safety reasons.

Salary and Jobs for Landscape Architects

The minimum educational requirement to be a landscape architect is a bachelor’s degree in the field. There are usually a few other minor requirements such as math or science classes. Landscape architects can work in a variety of industries, some of which include:

Commercial – Commercial projects are those that involve multiple dwellings such as apartments, condos, office buildings and shopping centers. These can also include large residential subdivisions.

Governmental – This type of project involves public works. Some examples are schools, parks and government buildings.

Hospitality – These projects are those that are related to the hospitality industry such as hotels and restaurants. This category also includes golf courses and sports facilities.

Manufacturing and Industrial – Industrial landscape architects are responsible for the creation of industrial sites such as factories or manufacturing plants. This can include building and maintaining the grounds.

There is a growing field of research in the area of sustainable design. Sustainable design incorporates environmentally friendly construction that limits pollution and improves the surrounding environment. It is a relatively new area that is expected to grow over the next few decades.

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The average salary for landscape architects is around $67,280 per year. However, this number can vary widely depending on experience, industry and location.

Sources & references used in this article:

The shared landscape: what does aesthetics have to do with ecology? by PH Gobster, JI Nassauer, TC Daniel, G Fry – Landscape ecology, 2007 – Springer

Landscape design: Designing for local action in complex worlds by DA Levinthal, M Warglien – Organization Science, 1999 – pubsonline.informs.org

The economics of native plants in residential landscape designs by GE Helfand, JS Park, JI Nassauer, S Kosek – Landscape and Urban …, 2006 – Elsevier

Ecology’s new paradigm: What does it offer designers and planners by HR Pulliam, BR Johnson – … and design: Frameworks for learning, 2002 – books.google.com

Exploring woodland design: designing with complexity and dynamics—woodland types, their dynamic architecture and establishment by R Gustavsson – … Landscape: Design, Ecology and Management …, 2004 – books.google.com

Professional discourses under the pressure of economic values: The case of French architects, landscape designers and industrial designers by F Champy – Current sociology, 2006 – journals.sagepub.com

Introduction to landscape design by JL Motloch – 2000 – books.google.com

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