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What is a Landscape Architect?


What is a Landscape Architect?

        The title “Landscape Architect” might conjure up the image of a scruffy individual who spends all their time working outside, digging in soil. They have “green thumbs” and go home with dirt under their nails. While there may be plenty of Landscape Architects that fit that profile, the truth is that they spend more time working with “blue thumbs” as they perfect the blueprints that outline their extensive landscaping designs. Landscape Architects must have considerable knowledge and skill to be able to successfully integrate the many varying factors that their projects require. From master planning, to community projects, to the promotion of environmental welfare, High West Landscape Architects take on highly complicated projects that work to connect the community in a physical and emotional way to the local environment. In fact, to legally be called a Landscape Architect, one must embark on a comprehensive licensure process that includes years of training.

        Landscape Architects do more just than place plants in strategic locations. They differ from Landscape Designers in that they are required to hold a Landscape Architect’s license, even though a designer may have just as much training and experience. They are licensed by the state and usually have advanced degrees. In California, a prospective landscape architect must have a minimum of 6 years training and educational experience in the field to even begin the licensing process. Landscape Architects are required to have an astute understand of ADA accessibility, slope grading and drainage, the process of working with and around watersheds, integrating roads and infrastructure, and the preservation of the natural environment. High West Landscape Architects oversee complicated and diverse community and commercial projects and participate in project management throughout the installation process. They work closely with other architects, engineers, planners, and developers to ensure structural soundness and fluidity of design. This is accomplished through Master Planning.         

        Master Planning is the macro-scale of design. It involves mapping out the flow of the natural environment to work well within large community centers such as universities, downtown hubs, hospital grounds, and neighborhoods. The goal is to connect the layout of pathways, buildings, and the natural surroundings in a way that is harmonious, economical, aesthetic, and interactive. This takes thoughtful research and planning to create a cohesive theme and to promote the best circulation, connection, and activity happening in a given space. High West Landscape Architects connect the natural and structural environment in a way that is seamless and natural. Community work and public designs top the list of projects that Landscape Architects undertake.

        Public and community projects are completed only through a licensed Landscape Architect. These projects influence how people interact with their environment and with others within a space. High West Landscape Architects have designed several public areas in the North Lake Tahoe area including the downtown Truckee Brickletown Streetscape, the Truckee Airport campus, park and playground, Glenshire Elementary School, and the Riverview Sports Park in Tahoe Vista. Their latest endeavor is the Community Arts Center on Church Street in downtown Truckee where they are working on redesigning the outdoor space to include a sensory garden, an amphitheater, a natural play structure, interactive learning and interpretive elements, and providing overall better pedestrian and ADA access. Truckee residents will look forward to visiting the center and it will be fun for adults and children of all ages and promote an understanding and appreciation of Lake Tahoe’s diverse mountain landscape.

        High West Landscape Architects have a solid understanding of the local flora which ensures sound environmental welfare. They work closely with several environmental agencies including The Tahoe Regional Planning Association to ensure scenic preservation. They have a solid understanding of Better Management Practices and incorporate them into every design. From understanding the native foliage and watershed routes to ensuring soil quality and slope stabilization measures, High West Landscape Architects embark on a thorough amount of research and understanding to comply to local regulations that support the protection of Lake Tahoe and Truckee’s unique habitat.

         From research to conceptual design to on-site project management, High West Landscape Architects are licensed and qualified to complete master planning and public projects with a focus on environmental welfare through all phases of the building and design process. They are passionate about creating sustainable, interactive, and beautiful spaces that allow Lake Tahoe and Truckee locals and visitors to appreciate the surrounding space in a way that is thoughtful and pure.