Roles and responsibilities: Landscape architects

General areas of responsibility

A practicing professional landscape architect:

  • Must hold a valid license issued by the state where they provide services
  • Safeguards health, safety, property, and the public’s welfare with the enhancement of both the natural and built environment.
  • Consults, investigates, evaluates, researches, plans, and develops design and/or construction documents, and administers construction contracts in connection with the development of outdoor spaces for the preservation or enhancement of land features for cultural, environmental, and aesthetic value.

Subjects typically addressed by landscape architects

The following examples are general guidelines, and shouldn’t be considered all inclusive. Some subjects may also be addressed by other professions and specialties as well as Landscape Architects. See the exempt services section.

Design area Subjects addressed by landscape architects
  • Site analysis and planning
  • Visual assessment
  • Environmental assessment
  • Parks and recreation planning
  • Vegetation management
  • Regional, urban and town planning
  • Historic/cultural preservation and reclamation
  • Barrier free access
  • Landscape and tree code development
  • Site design guidelines and standards
  • Landscape maintenance manuals
  • Site design, grading and drainage
  • Soil preparation and planting
  • Paving and site structures
  • Irrigation
  • Circulation of pedestrians, bicycles, equestrians, and vehicles
  • Site furnishings
  • Recreational facilities
  • Wetland and wildlife habitat mitigation and restoration
  • Soil stabilization
  • Bio-retention and rain gardens
  • Tree protection and transplanting
  • Water features
  • Site construction management and administration
Project Management
  • Project coordination
  • Project scheduling
  • Permitting
  • Project submittals
  • Application of design standards


Exempt services: Landscape Architects

State laws recognize that certain areas of expertise are common to professionals other than landscape architects. For a list of the exemptions, see RCW 18.96.220: Application — Professions and activities not affected.

Licensed and recognized professions

Application of the law does not prevent the practice of architecture, naval architecture, land surveying, engineering, geology, or any recognized profession by individuals not licensed as landscape architect.

Contractors and technical specialists

Application of the law does not prevent registered contractors from engaging individuals who are not landscape architects to provide plans where a stamped plan is not required. The construction, alteration, or supervision of sites by contractors or superintendents employed by contractors or the preparation of connected shop drawings is exempt.

The law does not restrict biologists from doing biological work on natural site areas. Other unlicensed technical specialists may be allowed to perform design work that does not require a licensed professional to stamp the plans.

Residential design work

Application of the law does not prevent owners or any other persons from doing design work or preparing construction documents or shop drawings on a residential project that does not fall under the jurisdiction of a local permitting agency or otherwise affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Health and safety is affected if the work included has the potential to put the public or landowner at risk.


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