Landscape architects design the outdoor spaces in which people live, work and play. They design and plan areas as small as private gardens and as large as entire cities. Their goal is to create environments that are beautiful, functional and in harmony with ecological principles. Landscape architects must understand the design process, plant and soil science, ecology, construction practices, engineering principles, and environmental psychology. This range of knowledge is essential to the landscape architect's task of shaping and protecting the outdoor environment, to accommodate the work and recreational activities of people.
Landscape architects deal with complex issues and provide a wide range of services. In addition to the better known services of parks and recreation and planting design, landscape architects are experts in a variety of other services, including:
CAD/GIS - Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
Deals with the use of computers to assist teams in mapping project areas and developing data bases.
Campus Planning and Design
Working with institutional clients on large areas of land with multiple buildings. Specific expertise can include dealing with the arrangement of program uses within the constraints of a budget and a site, over a long period of time. Examples of work within this service description included campus master plans, campus landscape master plans and detailed design of facilities on campuses.
Commercial Site Design
Resolving issues surrounding and recognizing opportunities facing commercial developments. Commercial Site Design includes developing conceptual designs and detailed design and construction documents. Construction observation for commercial projects is included in this service. Commercial Site Design includes shopping malls, office parks, and industrial parks.
Comprehensive Land Use Planning
Formulating land use policy for large areas of land for private land owners or municipalities. Specific expertise may include resolving transportation and environmental issues as they relate to land use and human settlement patterns.
Designing and installing landscapes for clients. Specific expertise may include planting plans and construction practices.
Working within the complex environmental laws of the state and designing alternatives to mitigate any adverse impacts a project may have on the environment. May include experience in habitat creation and enhancement. Specific experience may include wetland delineation and preparing environmental impact statements.
Support for litigation dealing with land use issues. Specific expertise may include the preparation of courtroom graphics and testimony regarding the process and factors affecting land and real estate development.
Golf Course Design
Creating golf course routing plans, detailed hole designs and re-designs and designing other amenities associated with golf courses.
Designing for the roof's function as either strictly environmental ecological cover or utilization for human recreational use. Expertise may include specifying proper growing media, selection of suitable plant varieties or choosing appropriate site amenities for the roof's function. An understanding of architecture and the roof's structural capabilities is essential. Roof gardens, which mainly consist of containerized plantings, can fall into this area of expertise.
Preparing submittals to either state or private groups to secure funding for qualified projects. Specific expertise can included knowledge of the OSLAD/LWCF grant application process (Open Space Lands Acquistion Development and Land & Water Conservation Fund), strategies to make projects unique and experience at making presentations to selection committees.
Everything from the research and documentation of historic plans and gardens to the development of project themes based on the concepts and ideas originally conceived for the, project. Another aspect of this service is the integration of the new program elements or renovations to complement the existing historic elements.
Includes the layout of a series of established program elements which may include pedestrian and vehicular circulation, parking, entries and exits, service areas and other site amenities such as environmental features and planting. Working within prescribed budgets and the physical constants of the land and surrounding land uses, the landscape architect strives to find the highest and best solutions from both practical and aesthetic points of view.
Multiple Family Residential Design
Dealing with the issues facing the development of multiple family residential projects. Specific expertise may include the design of amenities found in multiple family projects such as pool/clubhouse sites, entrances and other common spaces.
Natural Resource Planning
Dealing with large areas of land that possess special natural qualities. Such expertise requires knowledge of resources and how they can best be protected and managed. The firm may have experience in habitat creation and enhancement. Examples of projects include wetland restoration and establishment, forest preserve planning and state park planning.
Park and Recreation Planning & Design
Various aspects of developing parks and recreational amenities for the public. The firm has a detailed understanding of outdoor recreational facilities such as sports fields, courts, trails and play grounds. Specific expertise can include a detailed knowledge of play equipment for different age user groups and the ability to resolve accessibility issues.
Public & Municipal Site Design
Working on complex projects being developed by public clients. Specific expertise may include accurate project budgeting and strong public presentation skills. Public & Municipal Site Design includes developing conceptual design, detailed design and construction documents. Construction observation for public and municipal projects is included in this service. Public & Municipal Site Design projects includes work for village facilities, schools, libraries and other public projects.
Working on large scale issues such as transportation, land use patterns, the environment and management of large, diverse constituencies. Examples of regional planning includes bikeway planning, river and stream corridor planning.
Understanding the needs of homeowners and their families. Specific expertise may include planting design and accurate project budgeting.
Working with civil engineers to solve the unique engineering problems a site or program presents to the development of a site. Specific expertise can include the ability to create sensitive solutions to difficult engineering problems, and the knowledge of construction practices and costs.
Site Selection and Feasibility Analysis
Assisting large corporations in identifying and analyzing sites for their facilities. Specific expertise can include a knowledge of the overall growth pattern, land use trends and regulatory issues within a region along with a good understanding of regional services such as roadways, raw materials and power supply.
Design of any hard surface area and/or modular equipment designated for use by individuals utilizing skateboards, in-line skates or BMX bicycles. The landscape architect's role in the planning and construction of a skate park may include site selection, public process, programming, working with local skateboard, in-line skate and BMX groups, schematic design. design development, construction documentation and construction administration.
Streetscape Design & Engineering
Resolving circulation, design, community identity and marketing issues facing the redevelopment of a central business district or special use district in an individual community. Specific expertise may include knowledge of site furniture, signage, parking and circulation design.
Design of healing environments ranging from the broad master planning of hospital campuses and senior living communities to site-specific gardens and courtyards. These healing environments are designed to promote the physical, psychological and spiritual wellness of their users. The design of these spaces can include quiet contemplative spaces, programmable spaces for physical rehabilitation and the maintenance of life functions and opportunities for social interaction.
Urban Planning & Design
Addressing the complex, interrelated issues that arise in city and suburban environments that accommodate commercial, retail and residential uses along with mass transit, automobile and pedestrian circulation and infrastructure. Specific expertise of the firm may include developing design solutions that respect zoning laws, development agreements and neighborhood concerns while also addressing a range of social and economic demands.
Visual Imaging and Analysis
Simulating and analyzing the visual impact of a proposed project on the surrounding areas or vistas from significant view points. The firm offering this service can assess the visual impact of various solutions using techniques ranging from simple sketches to sophisticated computer imaging.