When you build a home, the first thing you do is have an architect draw up the house plans that include an aesthetically-pleasing design incorporating the home’s placement in its environment and an efficient lifestyle flow for its potential residents.

Landscape architects create the same type of plans, with the exception that they have many more types of landscape architecture to consider.

What is Landscape Architecture?

The College of Agriculture & Natural Resources defines landscape architecture as

“An environmental design profession and discipline encompassing the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of natural and built environments.”

Landscape architects design neighborhoods, towns and cities while also protecting and managing the natural environment.

Essentially, landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes, encompassing both hardscapes and softscapes.

Types of Landscape Architecture

The types of landscape architecture can be broken down into several disciplines:


Site Planning

This is how to use a piece of land most efficiently for its intended purpose. Site planning can also include things like surface and sub-surface drainage systems, geology, hydrology and grading. Master planning and design for residences, communities and estates are examples of site planning landscape architecture.


Urban Design

This means how to plan cities and towns and their infrastructures and growth patterns, taking into consideration the natural geographic features and limitations. It can include residential and urban design for streetscapes, public squares and spaces, transportation corridors and facilities, security, academic campuses, institutions, interior landscaping, office and urban plazas.


Land Development

Land development deals with how to structure suburban development, taking into consideration some of the same elements as site planning.


Parks and Recreation

This type of lanscape architecture designs open spaces and recreational areas for public use. Examples of these types of landscape architecture can include public gardens, therapeutic gardens, arboretums, public parks, playgrounds, golf courses, sports facilities, monuments, landscape art, zoos and resorts.


Ecological and Environmental Planning

This is designing public areas using existing, natural spaces and elements with the least modification to them. This can include the design of green spaces, ecological design, coastal and offshore developments, and natural parks.


Heritage Conservation

Heritage conservation recognizes, protects and restores historic lands. Habitat restoration, historic preservation and conservation planning are types of heritage conservation landscape architecture.

For the different types of landscape architecture, designers look at proportion, repetition and unity of the site to incorporate any structures, plantings or usage needs most pleasingly into their surroundings. Landscape architecture can also include design-only services, design/build services, installation and maintenance of projects.

Landscape architects must be qualified, with an undergraduate or master’s degree in landscape architecture and a current landscape architect’s license.

Northern Virginia Landscape Architecture

For more information about the types of landscape architecture, feel free to contact J Duggan & Associates P.C. 

We have been serving residential, commercial, institutions and government entities throughout Northern Virginia and the United States for more than 35 years and would be glad to discuss your project needs with you.

For residential or commercial landscape design, pools and water features, or federal landscape design projects, contact J Duggan & Associates today!