Landscape indicators are becoming increasingly common and there is much on-going research within the field of landscape sciences. These indicators are used to explore a range of landscape functions including visual qualities. However, ecology and aesthetics have widely different theoretical foundations and research traditions. Combining the research approaches in aesthetics and ecology remains one of the greatest challenges in integrative approaches, especially in the development of indicators that can be used to monitor a range of environmental qualities. Nevertheless, recent research has provided several exciting interchanges between disciplines and even different knowledge cultures within disciplines. This contribution explores the conceptual common ground between visual preference and ecological functions in four hierarchical levels from abstract concepts to operational indicators. We provide an overview of key concepts used in ecology and aesthetics and assess the overlap between the two at the conceptual as well as the indicator level. The result shows that there is considerable overlap between currently used indicators for the two interests, ecology and aesthetics. However, the visual relevance of some indicators adopted from landscape ecology remains uncertain. Some indicators may be equally relevant for both ecology and visual quality, but have different significance or interpretation (e.g. positive interpretation of indicator values for ecology and negative for visual quality). The four hierarchical levels linking indicators back to the theoretical base of their respective fields, landscape aesthetics and landscape ecology, facilitates the interpretation of indicator values in different contexts. This contribution gives a transparent and consistent approach to the application and interpretation of indicators that will strengthen their usefulness in multifunctional landscape management, planning and monitoring, and the assessment of impacts of landscape change.