Should You Hire a Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer?

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated February 15, 2022
Two story house with well-maintained backyard
Photo: / Adobe Stock


  • Landscape architects focus on complex structural aspects of a landscape.

  • Architects often collaborate with engineers, architects, and other professionals.

  • Architects usually take on commercial projects, while designers focus on residential.

  • Landscape designers offer a one-on-one garden design experience.

  • Designers typically have the most in-depth plant knowledge.

  • Landscape architects must have a degree, while designers don’t need one.

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You’ve got a vision for your outdoor space, but getting down to the nitty-gritty details can be a little tricky. For most projects, you can choose either a landscape architect or a landscape designer to bring your ideas to life. So, which is the right pro for the job? We compare the benefits of hiring a landscape architect vs. a  landscape designer below. 

Hiring a Landscape Architect: Pros & Cons

According to HomeAdvisor, landscape architects cost between $70 and $150 per hour. If you aren't sure what you want, or if your grand plan requires changing the lay of the land, you may need the expertise of a landscape architect. They often work on large or custom landscaping projects, but they can also work on smaller residential projects. 

Landscape architects often collaborate with engineers, architects, surveyors, community planners, and other professionals. To legally practice, a landscape architect must hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Certain states may require a license as well. 


Landscape architect working in the backyard
Photo: sturti / E+ / Getty Images

Landscape architects have a wide scope of capabilities beyond basic landscape design. They can help plan outdoor structures and irrigation systems, as well as large-scale commercial spaces. If you need more of a landscape overhaul, they’d be the perfect pro for the job.


A landscape architect typically won’t offer one-on-one artistic direction for garden design. Their knowledge focuses more on the architectural aspect rather than specific plants and aesthetics.

Hiring a Landscape Designer: Pros & Cons

Hiring a landscape designer costs between $50 and $150 per hour. Landscape designers typically have extensive horticultural knowledge and/or nursery experience. They’ll sit down with you to discuss your needs and wants. These pros are well-versed in garden design and can help you avoid costly mistakes, such as planting the wrong types of plants together.

Once they’ve got a solid understanding, a designer will come up with a landscape design plan for your yard. This will give a visual idea of how the finished project will look. From there, they’ll keep working with you until you have a design you truly love.


 Landscape designer talking with client about plants
Photo: luckybusiness / Adobe Stock

A landscape designer offers plenty of one-on-one time to discuss specific plants and which could work the best for your space. They often take a more artistic approach to outdoor projects, helping their clients develop beautiful garden setups.


Landscape designers can provide in-depth direction for the plants in your landscape. However, many do not include hardscaping plans like patios, walkways, and garden structures.

Landscape Architect vs. Landscape Designer

The biggest difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect is the nature of the projects they take on. A landscape designer will work closely with you, focusing on the types of plants you want and the overall aesthetic of your desired space. 

Landscape architects are the experts since this position calls for formal education. While they may not offer the same one-on-one planning, they can collaborate on more complex structural projects.

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