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What You Should Know About Landscape Architects and Their Services
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A New York licensed landscape architect provides services related to the development of land areas. This includes preparing drawings and specifications in conformance with governing codes and regulations to ensure that land use, plant materials, grading, drainage, and the location and settings for structures and other improvements are appropriate.

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Generally, a New York licensed landscape architect has earned licensure by completing a four-year professional landscape architecture degree and four years of experience. Other combinations of education and experience may also be acceptable for licensure. These professionals have also passed the national landscape architecture licensing examination.

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Many municipalities require a landscape architect to place a seal on portions of land use plans submitted for approval.

You might retain a landscape architect to provide the following:

  • Advice on development of a parcel of land, whether for residential, commercial or institutional/public use, including preservation and conservation projects
  • Plans for site improvements around new or existing residential or commercial structures
  • Environmental impact statements and the processing of zoning and planning applications through government agencies
  • Designs for parks, public spaces and recreational facilities
  • Neighborhood, community, or regional land use plans
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To use the title "Landscape Architect" in New York State, an individual must be licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department.

Landscape architectural services may only be provided by licensees practicing alone as a sole proprietor, partnership, professional service corporation (PC), design professional service corporation (DPC), professional service limited liability company (PLLC), or a registered limited liability partnership (RLLP). With limited exceptions, no other types of businesses may offer landscape architectural services.

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You should expect to be provided with the following:

  • proof of the landscape architect's qualifications
  • names of former clients as references
  • a clear and complete description of the services to be provided
  • a schedule of work and the related fees
  • courteous and professional services, tailored to your needs
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Work with your landscape architect from the inception of the project. Make your requirements known as clearly and as thoroughly as possible, so your landscape architect can design to suit both your budget and your needs.

If you are uncertain about anything, ask questions. Always insist on a written contract that accurately reflects the following:

  • a description of the work to be done
  • a work schedule
  • the amount and terms of payments of the landscape architect's fees
  • the responsibilities of the parties to the contract
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Check with friends and colleagues who have used a landscape architect's services; you may also look under "Landscape Architects" in the yellow pages of your phone book. In addition, professional organizations may be able to identify their members who specialize in your area of need.

The State Board for Landscape Architecture cannot refer you to a particular licensee.

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Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities. You may also ask if the practitioner makes house calls.

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New York landscape architects must display a current New York registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional's name, address, and dates of the registration period. Landscape architects must reregister every three years to practice in New York. Some professionals also display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates.