Landscape Designer vs Landscape Architect

For Pittsburgh residents seeking to create an awe-inspiring outdoor space, partnering with a proficient professional can undoubtedly have a significant impact. However, with numerous experts in the field, choosing the right one can be perplexing. Do you opt for a landscape designer or a landscape architect? And what distinguishes the two?

We’ll delve into the nuances between landscape designers and landscape architects, and equip you with the resources to pick the ideal professional for your idyllic outdoor sanctuary.


What is landscape design? 

Landscape designing is a realm that involves a blend of artistic and scientific knowledge and abilities. Landscape designers prioritize creating aesthetically appealing and functional open-air areas, usually having a foundation in horticulture, design, or a related discipline. Landscape architects, on the contrary, possess a more comprehensive grasp of the technical and engineering aspects of landscape design. Nevertheless, both landscape designers and landscape architects can provide valuable insights and expertise in crafting open-air areas that fulfill the client’s requirements. 


What are the differences between designers and architects?

A subject of intense debate, the differences between the two professions have been studied extensively to highlight their unique features. One of the most notable dissimilarities between landscape architects and landscape designers is their education and training. While landscape architects have undergone a rigorous and accredited program of study spanning no less than four years, which grants them a degree in landscape architecture, landscape designers may have acquired their knowledge through hands-on experience or training in related fields such as horticulture or landscape design.

Moreover, the certification requirements for landscape architects are significantly higher than those for landscape designers. Landscape architects are expected to pass a challenging and rigorous exam to acquire their professional license, while landscape designers do not have such high certification expectations.

Another domain where these professions differ is the extent of their services. Landscape architects possess the necessary skills to tackle a vast array of projects, including large public areas and small residential gardens. They are engaged in all stages of the project, from evaluating the site and devising a plan to constructing and maintaining it. On the other hand, landscape designers usually concentrate on residential or small-scale commercial projects and emphasize the design and installation of the open-air area instead of the technical aspects of construction.

Regarding their design approach, landscape architects often have a more comprehensive and analytical methodology, taking into account multiple factors such as site evaluation, environmental impact, and community necessities. They may also supervise the construction and management of the project. Conversely, landscape designers prioritize the outdoor space’s aesthetics and functionality, collaborating closely with clients to create a personalized design that embodies their preferences.


How to choose the right professional

These are all great tips to keep in mind when selecting a landscape professional for your project. It’s important to find someone who can not only bring your vision to life but also work within your budget and collaborate effectively with you. Communication and experience are key, so be sure to review portfolios and check references to ensure the professional has the expertise and skills needed for your specific project. Ultimately, choosing someone you feel comfortable with and who shares your enthusiasm for the project can help ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.


A thoughtfully designed outdoor space can truly transform a property and add to the quality of life for those who use it. By choosing the right professional and investing in landscape design, Pittsburghers can create outdoor spaces that not only meet their needs but also reflect the unique character of the city and contribute to the overall vibrancy of its neighborhoods. With its lush greenery and beautiful natural surroundings, Pittsburgh is truly a city that lends itself to beautiful and functional outdoor spaces.