Introduction to Landscape Architecture

What is Landscape Architecture?

The professional foundation of landscape architecture is multi-disciplinary, and emphasizes site analysis to arrive at design solutions that address projects and places holistically. The Caltrans Landscape Architecture Program includes dedicated professionals in every District who possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a landscape architecture university program.

Within the field of transportation, landscape architects contribute to many aspects and stages of a project during project planning, scoping, and design. As project managers, and as members of project delivery teams, landscape architects have expertise in the following areas:

  • Highway Planting
  • Site Revegetation
  • Contour Grading
  • Erosion Control
  • Mitigation design
  • Visual Impact Assessment (VIA)
  • Main Street and Complete Streets Needs
  • Design of Aesthetics for Built Features and the Roadside Environment.

Traveler Quality of Life

Caltrans landscape architects emphasize strategies that improve travel conditions for all modes. Through the design of aesthetic details on walls and infrastructure, attention to the quality of the public realm, landscaping that improves visual quality, and tree plantings that provide shade for bicyclists and pedestrians, landscape architects help deliver projects that improve quality of life for travelers.

Livable Communities

Landscape architects design roadside environments that improve the visual character of communities, support local place-making goals, and help integrate transportation facilities into the natural world. We strive for design details that make walking and bicycling appealing travel options. We help design main streets that are welcoming public spaces, while comfortably supporting all modes of travel. Landscape architects are dedicated to developing infrastructure that serves as the heart of the community, enabling people to comfortably live, work, and participate in their community.

Sustainable Environment

Landscape architects help deliver projects that improve the impact of the transportation system on the natural world. In keeping with the local context, our designs include native and climate appropriate trees and plants that: enhance ecological health, reduce heat island effects, minimize erosion, sequester carbon, improve air and water quality, and support pollinators. A key component of our work is designing green infrastructure which not only contributes ecological benefits, but also provides the visual appeal and seasonal beauty offered by trees and plants in the landscape.