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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practised by landscape designers, combining nature and culture. In contemporary practice, landscape design bridges the space between landscape architecture and garden design.
Landscape design focuses on both the integrated master landscape planning of a property and the specific garden design of landscape elements and plants within it. The practical, aesthetic, horticultural, and environmental sustainability are also components of landscape design. It is often divided into hardscape design and softscape design. Landscape designers often collaborate with related disciplines such as architecture and geography, soils and civil engineering, surveying, landscape contracting, botany, and artisan specialties.
Design projects may involve two different professional roles: landscape design and landscape architecture. Landscape design typically involves artistic composition and artisanship, horticultural finesse and expertise, and emphasis on detailed site involvement from conceptual stages through to final construction. Landscape architecture focuses more on urban planning, city and regional parks, civic and corporate landscapes, large scale interdisciplinary projects, and delegation to contractors after completing designs.
There can be significant overlap of talent and skill between the two roles, depending on the education, licensing, and experience of the professional. Both landscape designers and landscape architects practice landscape design. There are innumerable other design factors and considerations brought to the complex process of designing a garden that is beautiful, well-functioning, and that thrives over time.
The up-and-coming practice of online landscape design allows professional landscapers to remotely design and plan sites through manipulation of two-dimensional images without ever physically visiting the location. Due to the frequent lack of non-visual, supplementary data such as soil assessments and pH tests, online landscaping necessarily must focus on incorporating only plants which are tolerant across many diverse soil conditions. Historically, landscape designers trained by apprenticing—such as André Le Nôtre, who apprenticed with his father before designing the Gardens of Versailles—to accomplished masters in the field, with the titular name varying and reputation paramount for a career. The professional section of garden designers in Europe and the Americas went by the name ‘Landscape Gardener.
In the 1890s, the distinct classification of landscape architect was created, with educational and licensing test requirements for using the title legally. Beatrix Farrand, the sole woman in the founding group, refused the title preferring Landscape Gardener.
Matching the client and technical needs of a project, and the appropriate practitioner with talent, legal qualifications, and experienced skills, surmounts title nomenclature. Institutional education in landscape design appeared in the early 20th century.
Over time it became available at various levels. Ornamental horticulture programs with design components are offered at community college and universities within schools of agriculture or horticulture, with some beginning to offer garden or landscape design certificates and degrees. Departments of landscape architecture are located within university schools of architecture or environmental design, with undergraduate and graduate degrees offered. Specialties and minors are available in horticultural botany, horticulture, natural resources, landscape engineering, construction management, fine and applied arts, and landscape design history.