Landscape Architecture is a licensed professional discipline concerned with the planning and spatial design of landscapes. Its practitioners work at all scales -- from that of the home garden or entry terrace to corporate sites, parks, greenways, communities, mines, national parks and forests -- to plan, design, and specify changes to existing natural and human dominated areas of land. These changes may include ecological restoration of disturbed land, human development and settlement of land, or further improvements and beautification of occupied land.


At the core of the profession, knowledge gained in the arts and sciences enables landscape architects to recommend appropriate physical forms of human engagement with the landscape. To understand the interactions between people and land, students of landscape architecture learn to understand the nature of the earth's past and present physical and biological systems and their behavior, together with the nature of humans as individuals and communities. Coursework in behavioral, natural, and social sciences, design theory and history, spatial design communication, data processing technology, construction practices and administration, and professional practice provide students with the skills, knowledge, and values to plan and design landscapes.


Embodied in the ethics of landscape architecture is the ecological notion of the deep interrelatedness of all living things on the planet with the environments that sustain them, including humans and their settlements. Landscape architects therefore tend to take the "long view" of most issues associated with human land use, looking well into the past and the future as a guide to recommending landscape change. The long view, of course, applies at all scales.


Most landscape architects find employment in firms offering professional planning and design services to corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals. In these firms there is often a high degree of collaboration with natural and social scientists, architects, engineers, city planners, and others in the preparation of plans and designs. Landscape architects also represent the interests of land owners in planning, designing, and specifying construction of improvements to their land. They observe construction progress to assure that it is proceeding according to plan, advising the owner of discrepancies in quality and quantity of the contracted work. Landscape architects may be self-employed in these activities. A great many also find work in the public sector in municipal and regional open space, parks or planning agencies, national parks, national forests, and other federal land management agencies. Those who go on the pursue a second professional degree at the master's or Ph. D. level will also find academic and research employment opportunities.