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You may have heard the terms urban design and landscape architecture used interchangeably but they are different. There’s quite a controversy over this difference in the landscaping community and even when I try to explain the differences to potential clients, they may think they want one when really they want the other. So what is it and what’s the difference?

Urban Design

Urban design is technically more expensive than landscape architecture and is usually used on a larger scale such as discussing highway infrastructure, roadways, or master-planned communities.

Urban design can have a slight collaborative process as there several designers and planners put in place to achieve the design goal. Each team member does something different. Some urban designs for larger layouts such as developments and subdivisions can have dozens of team members all doing different things to create a common goal. There are usually multiple urban designers and architects on the team.

Urban design focuses on the urban context as it pertains to the neighboring towns and communities. It’s a much larger infrastructure and the goals will usually be different and involve more households. Urban design is used to create a vibrant and welcoming environment, typically on a larger scale.

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When it comes to urban design, First Fruits Landscaping is just one piece of the puzzle creating an urban design for an entire subdivision or development. Other parties involved could be community consultation experts, urban revitalization experts, community modeling and framework as well as strategic master planning.

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Landscape ArchitectureThe Difference Between Urban Design and Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture is more local and focused and can mean the difference between working on a master-planned community versus one homesite.

Landscape architects and architecture can include certain lighting, site planning, water feature design, rooftop or ground-level gardens, playground design, landscape restoration, planting and irrigation, cleanup and maintenance.

While I technically do both, each is geared for the homeowner or development owner or builder. We can work within a larger committee planning out an entire neighborhood or with each individual homeowner creating the landscape design and architecture they desire. This could mean anywhere from building fences and retaining walls, to seeding a yard or building a platform for a playground. From gravel and patios, and from flagstone and plantings, landscape architecture is built on a smaller scale than urban design.

As a landscape architecture, I can analyze, plan, design, manage, and nurture both built and natural environments of the landscape. Residential design is usually the largest market sector for landscape architects. I can work with single-family homes as well as multi-family and retirement communities. While I am not licensed as a landscape architect, I do perform a lot of landscape architecture in the general design, layout, execution, and maintenance of each home. While I may not have the degree behind the title, my experiences definitely landscape architecture.

The design is really key here. At First Fruits Landscaping, we collaborate with you using our experience and education to design a landscape that works for your zone, your typography, your level of maintenance, and the beauty that you want to enjoy. Landscaping comes down to enjoying nature around you and whether you want to be the talk of the neighborhood or just have a beautiful, quiet space to enjoy outside, our experience in landscape architecture can help you achieve your goals.

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