The term landsape architect is sometimes mistakenly used to refer to landscape gardeners, landscape designers, architects, surveyors or engineers, probably due to the fact that this is a relatively recent profession in terms of licensing. Landscape architecture was not commonly recognised in developed nations as a distinct profession until the early twentieth century. Despite the efforts of landscape architects, it is still not unusual for a building architect to be commissioned to provide landscape architectural services.
The term landscape architect has different meaning depending on location; however, in general the title (like architect or engineer) is usually protected and to practice landscape architecture one requires licensure or registration. This varies by location, for example some US states offer "practice acts" and some offer "title acts". Each refers to the limitations placed on persons who are and are not licensed.
To become a recognised professional landscape architect in Australia, the first requirement is to obtain a degree in landscape architecture accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). After at least two years of recognised professional practice, graduates may submit for further assessment to obtain full professional recognition by the AILA.
1. Developing new or improved theories, policy and methods for landscape planning, design and management at local, regional, national and multinational levels.
2. Developing policies and plans and implementing and monitoring proposals for conservation and recreation areas such as national parks.
3. Developing new or improved theories and methods to promote environmental awareness and undertaking planning, design, restoration, management and maintenance of cultural and/or historic landscapes, parks, sites and gardens.
4. Planning, design, management, maintenance and monitoring functional and aesthetic layouts of built environment in urban, suburban, and rural areas including private and public open spaces, parks, gardens, streetscapes, plazas, housing developments, burial grounds, memorials; tourist, commercial, industrial and educational complexes; sports grounds, zoos, botanic gardens, recreation areas and farms.
5. Contributing to the planning, aesthetic and functional design, location, management and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, dams, wind farms and other energy and major development projects.
6. Undertaking landscape assessments including environmental and visual impact assessments to prepare policies or inform new developments.
7. Inspecting sites, analysing factors such as climate, soil, flora, fauna, surface and subsurface water and drainage; and consulting with clients and making recommendations regarding methods of work and sequences of operations for projects related to the landscape and built environment.
8. Identifying and developing appropriate solutions regarding the quality and use of the built environment in urban, suburban and rural areas and making designs, plans and working drawings, specifications of work, cost estimates and time schedules.
9. Monitoring the realisation and inspecting the construction of proposals to ensure compliance with plans, specifications of work, cost estimates and time schedules.
10. Conducting research, preparing scientific papers and technical reports, developing policy, teaching, and advising on aspects regarding landscape architecture such as the application of geographic information systems, remote sensing, law, landscape communication, interpretation and landscape ecology.
11. Project management of large scale landscape planning and design projects including management of other consultants such as engineers, architects and planners.
12. Acting as an expert witness in Development and Environment Courts