Patios, pools, pavilions, plantings, pavers oh my! Beginning the process of renovating your property can be a ponderous pursuit! There are many items to be discussed, contractors to interview, and a couple very essential questions to sort out to determine which landscaping company is best for you.

Do I need a landscape architect for my project? What’s the difference when considering a landscape designer vs. a landscape designer in California?

A Landscape Designer vs. a Landscape Architect

To understand whether or not you need a landscape architect at your property, it’s important to start with how these two professionals are different. Here’s the basic differences of a landscape designer vs. a landscape architect.

What is a landscape designer?


Landscape designers provide virtually all of the design ideas and plans for a residential landscaping project. These items can include design aspects such as materials, plants, lighting, structures, irrigation, and hardscaping layout. Companies that employ these professionals obtain home improvement contractor licenses by the State of California. While not architects, landscape designers are regulated by the state and have to comply with all consumer protection mandates.(NOT TRUE but landscape contractors are regulated)

What is a landscape architect?


The State of California has requirements for a person to become a landscape architect. The required minimum of 6 years of relative experience and passing a rigorous technical test enables them to handle the more complex parts of landscape projects most commonly associated with public projects.

Landscape architects most commonly work on commercial and municipal projects. Some homeowner associations require residential projects to have a registered landscape architect to stamp a design but this is rare. This additional step will add to the project cost.

Do You Need a Landscape Architect or a Structural Engineer?

For the majority of residential projects, a landscape architect is not required unless one of the very rare instances where an HOA would require one. However, your landscape designer may need to involve a structural engineer.

Some project elements such as complex drainage solutions, outdoor structures, pools, and large retaining walls typically require engineering. In this instance, your landscape designer will enlist the help of a local structural engineer to provide specific plans on how to construct these items.

How to Figure Out If You Need a Landscape Architect or Structural Engineer at YOUR California Home

Even though most residential projects don’t require a landscape architect, finding an expert resource in the Los Angeles area to discuss your landscaping project is a good starting point.

Here at Pacific Outdoor Living, we’ve completed tens of thousands of landscape renovations. Residential projects have ranged from reconfiguring planting beds to creating backyard resorts.

Some of these projects need a structural engineer and very rarely need a landscape architect. This is all part of how we operate during the process. If there comes a point in the discussion that we determine you need a landscape architect or a structural engineer, we have resources available at our disposal and will explain to you how that will work within our process.

We work with reputable landscape architects and structural engineers that can take our designs and create any additional complex construction plans. Our in-house installation team works side-by-side with our in-house landscape designers to insure that the landscape plans are followed to the smallest detail.

If you would like to talk about your property’s next project we would love to learn more. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about Pacific Outdoor Living’s award-winning projects!

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