Word to the Wise
The majority of clients I meet are unaware that there are different titles people use in the landscape design profession. While a select few have the title Landscape Architect, the majority of people in the profession are under the title “Landscape Designer.” Depending on the projects scope of design, there can be a big difference. While the majority of individuals wish to work with licensed contractors to build their projects, they are usually unaware and may wish to know the credentials for the person doing their design. The best way to know who you are dealing with is to ask the person for his or her title and credentials.
What is the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape designer?
A landscape architect is an individual who holds a professional license to practice landscape architecture, as defined under Business and Professions Code section (BPC) 5615. Landscape architects use their technical and artistic talents to plan and design the built environment. They formulate graphic and written criteria (including drawings, construction documents, and specifications) that govern the allocation, arrangement, and construction of land elements and water resources. Engagement in the practice of landscape architecture or use of the title "landscape architect," or any other confusingly similar title, by an unlicensed individual is a violation of the Landscape Architects Practice Act.
Landscape architects who are initially licensed in California are required to have six years of combined training and educational credit, pass the national licensing examination, and pass the California Supplemental Examination. Once licensed, landscape architects are required to comply with the laws and regulations governing the practice.
Landscape designers are not licensed or regulated by the State of California and are limited to preparing plans, drawings, and specifications for the selection, placement, or use of plants or drawings for the conceptual design and placement of tangible objects and landscape features for single family dwellings (BPC 5641). They are not required to obtain educational and/or training background.
For a general description of the permitted practice for various landscape professionals/practitioners, please see the Landscape Design In California chart.
For additional information, please go to the state web site @