What is a landscape architect and do I need one for my project?

Unsure of what a Landscape Architect could bring to your team or project? The team at VERDé Design Group have put together some of our most frequently asked questions around Landscape Architecture and how it can be of benefit to you and your project.

What is a landscape architect and what should I expect when working with one?

Landscape Architecture is the ability to link spaces and places together through design. Landscape Architects have an ability to combine design, engineering, art and science with the environment to create spaces that add value and bring joy to the community. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, Landscape Architecture is so much more than plants and gardens – it’s everywhere, at every scale. From green rooves in busy cities and backyard gardens to remediative land solutions and corporate parks, Landscape Architecture is all around us.Landscape Architects are experienced in so many areas, making them an essential part of so many projects, from landscape design and site planning through to providing heritage, ecology, social, cultural and consulting services. We thrive on collaboration, working with a range of disciplines to create dynamic and evolving designs and deliver great outcomes.

How is a landscape architect different from an architect?

Typically, Architects focus on designing and building static forms such as buildings, while Landscape Architects create places that provide context to the end user.

Landscape Architects go beyond the materiality, use and social aspects of a project by looking at the link between the environment and how that evolves over a project.

What other consultants would a landscape architect work with and manage on my project?

When engaged for a project, Landscape Architects manage a whole range of consultants to ensure all parties are working towards and achieve the same desired outcome. As a golden rule, Landscape Architects need to be collaborative, with the ability to jump across multiple disciplines. This includes traditional architects, interior designers and all kinds of engineers (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and traffic), access consultants, arborists, surveyors and quantity surveyors (cost estimators).

At VERDé, we want to make your job as easy as possible, so we manage all communication with these consultants, delivering progress reports and regular updates along the way.

What is the process when engaging a landscape architect?

Landscape Architects provide a whole project approach to design – from the proposal submission and initial design through to final inspection and certification. At a glance, working with a Landscape Architect will involve the following stages:

1. Initial ideas/submission for your project

2. Attend a detailed briefing session with your team

3. Visit the site to understand the space, plus current and future uses

4. Design process – master planning and concept/schematic design, plus applications and approvals

5. Design development

6. On site management and contractor liaison

7. Final inspection and Council certification process

Do I need a landscape architect for my project?

Landscape Architects operate in all industries, from private residences and property developments to council and government projects.

Will engaging a landscape architect add significant costs to my project?

Engaging a Landscape Architect from the very beginning of your project will actually save you money. Through careful and considered design and understanding of the landscape, any problems that may arise, can be solved before they become a problem i.e. unexpected terrain, placement on the block of land and so forth.Landscape Architecture also adds aesthetic value to a property – offering a finished space attracts more interest from developers or buyers, while also increasing the asking price. In public spaces, landscaping creates cultural significance, draws people to the space and creates demand for other business to integrate and grow with the area.

How do I find the right landscape architect for the job?

Finding the right Landscape Architect for your project is critical in delivering a positive outcome. When engaging an LA, here are four things to look for:

1. Check qualifications - ensure the firm you wish to appoint is registered with the AILA (Australian Institution of Landscape Architects) and the people working on your project are qualified Landscape Architect’s

2. Understand experience - determine if their experience and portfolio fits with your project. Who are their previous clients and have they worked with organisations that are similarly structured to yours?

3. Shop around – speaking with a number of firms about your project needs will allow you to get a feel for their team and processes. Different firms will specialise in different areas, so finding the right fit for you could take a couple of tries.

4. Set parameters – does the firm understands your budget? This will be critical in ensuring the end project fits within your financial and timing restraints.

Most importantly, start a conversation. A good Landscape Architect will be open to discussing your needs, how they can add value to your project and work as part of your team within your allocated budget.