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Sustainable landscape architecture is a category of sustainable design concerned with the planning and design of outdoor space.[1]

This can include ecological, politically correct, social and economic aspects of sustainability. For example, the design of a sustainable urban drainage system can: improve habitats for fauna and flora; improve recreational facilities, because people love to be beside water; save money, because building culverts is expensive and floods cause severe financial harm.

The design of a green roof or a roof garden can also contribute to the sustainability of a landscape architecture project. The roof will help manage surface water, provide for wildlife and provide for recreation.

Sustainability appears to be a new addition to the traditional Vitruvian objectives of the design process: a structure must be solid, useful, and beautiful (firmitas, utilitas, venustas). But it can be seen as an aspect of both solidity and usefulness: an outdoor space is likely to last longer and give more usefulness to its owners if it requires low inputs of energy, water, fertiliser etc., and if it produces fewer outputs of noise, pollution, surface water runoff etc.

Professional practice


The American Society of Landscape Architects' sustainable design guidelines include the following:[2]

  • Public Health + Landscape Architecture: Health benefits of nature
  • Community Design: Climate change, green infrastructure, healthy and livable communities, resilient design, sustainable transportation, sustainable urban development.
  • Residential Design: Improving water management, increasing water efficiency, applying ecological design, using low impact materials.

The American Society of Landscape Architects also provide a sustainability toolkit that includes economic, environmental, and social models, for projects of different scales, that can be used in practicing landscape architecture.[3]

The scales includes:

Sustainable Regional Planning [10]

Sustainable Cities & Community Planning [11]

Sustainable Neighborhood Planning [12]

Sustainable Landscapes [13]

Green Buildings [14]

Professional Certifications


  • The Sustainable Sites Initiative Accredited Professional (SITES AP) [15] by The Sustainable Sites Initiative
  • Envision Sustainability Professional (Env SP) [16] by The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) [17] by The United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

See also


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