McHarg would give every qualitative aspect of the site a layer, such as the history, hydrology, topography, vegetation, etc. Landscape engineering is the interdisciplinary application of engineering and other applied sciences to the design and creation of anthropogenic landscapes. The term landscape architecture was invented by Gilbert Laing Meason in 1828, and John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843) was instrumental in the adoption of the term landscape architecture by the modern profession. It is often divided into hardscape design and softscape design. The activities of a landscape architect can range from the creation of public parks and parkways to site planning for campuses and corporate office parks, from the design of residential estates to the design of civil infrastructure and the management of large wilderness areas or reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills.
GIS software is ubiquitously used in the landscape architecture profession today to analyze materials in and on the Earth's surface and is similarly used by Urban Planners, Geographers, Forestry and Natural Resources professionals, etc. Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of botany, horticulture, the fine arts, architecture, industrial design, soil sciences, environmental psychology, geography, and ecology. Aquascape hobbyists trade plants, conduct contests, and share photographs and information via the Internet. The United States-based Aquatic Gardeners Association has about 1,200 members.
Landscape design focuses on both the integrated master landscape planning of a property and the specific garden design of landscape elements and plants within it. Landscape architecture continues to develop as a design discipline, and to respond to the various movements in architecture and design throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It can also be described as green engineering, but the design professionals best known for landscape engineering are landscape architects. Landscape engineering builds on the engineering strengths of declaring goals, determining initial conditions, iteratively designing, predicting performance based on knowledge of the design, monitoring performance, and adjusting designs to meet the declared goals. Ian McHarg was known for introducing environmental concerns in landscape architecture. He popularized a system of analyzing the layers of a site in order to compile a complete understanding of the qualitative attributes of a place. One of the original ten founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and the only woman, was Beatrix Farrand. The combination of the tradition of landscape gardening and emerging city planning that gave Landscape Architecture its unique focus to serve these needs. GIS software is ubiquitously used in the landscape architecture profession today to analyze materials in and on the Earth's surface and is similarly used by Urban Planners, Geographers, Forestry and Natural Resources professionals, etc. Other skills include preparing design impact assessments, conducting environmental assessments and audits, and serving as an expert witness at inquiries on land use issues.