Landscape Architecture, in One Word

Citygarden, St. Louis, MO, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
Citygarden, St. Louis, MO, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

When we asked Professional Practice Network (PPN) members what one word they would use to describe landscape architecture or a landscape architect, the breadth of the answers given demonstrates the difficulty of defining a profession that is so expansive and varied. Many members couldn’t stick to the one-word limit, offering longer descriptions:

“Landscape architecture is everything but the building: parks, plazas, courtyards, water features, all of the planting plans and stormwater grading for site restoration plans associated with new bridges and roadways. A landscape architect is part environmental scientist, part engineer, and part designer/artist.”

“A landscape architect is the liaison between the public, engineers, architects, and planners.”

From the responses that did stick to one word, here are the top answers, in order of popularity:

  1. Creative
  2. Design
  3. Diverse
  4. Stewardship
  5. Multifaceted
  6. Versatile
  7. Adaptable
  8. Integrative
  9. Holistic
  10. Synthesizer
  11. Visionary
  12. Generalist

Bryant Park, New York, NY, 2010 Landmark Award image: Peter Mauss/Esto
Bryant Park, New York, NY, 2010 Landmark Award
image: Peter Mauss/Esto

Here are a few more keywords associated with landscape architecture and its practitioners:

Landscape architecture is:

all-encompassing

artful design that is science based

broad

collaborative

complex

comprehensive

contextual

dynamic

essential

ever-changing

exciting

experiential

flexible

fluid

fun

fundamental

inclusive

innovative

inspiring

interdisciplinary

misunderstood

Integrating Habitats: "Growing Together", Portland, OR, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category image: AECOM
Integrating Habitats: “Growing Together”, Portland, OR, 2011 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category
image: AECOM

placemaking

progressive

responsive

rewarding

satisfying

spatial

Urban Play Garden, San Francisco, CA, 2010 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category image: Marion Brenner Photography
Urban Play Garden, San Francisco, CA, 2010 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category
image: Marion Brenner Photography

A landscape architect is:

an artist

awesome

a caretaker

an environmental steward

an envisioner

a facilitator

a jack-of-all-trades

a landscape physician

observant

passionate

a problem solver

resourceful

a rule breaker

a sculptor of the land

sensitive

At the start of 2014, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: career paths in landscape architecture. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2014, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the annual PPN Survey, see LAND’s PPN News section.

3 thoughts on “Landscape Architecture, in One Word

  1. Vivian December 24, 2016 / 11:04 am

    How about ‘prolific’?

  2. Chris M. January 5, 2017 / 7:51 am

    How about ‘conceited’?

    • dgh August 24, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      who pissed in your Cheerios???

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