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What is Landscape Architecture ??

Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of botany, horticulture, the fine arts, architecture, industrial design, soil sciences, environmental psychology, geography, ecology, civil engineering and urban 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.

       Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic investigation of existing social, ecological, and soil conditions and processes in the landscape, and the design of interventions that will produce the desired outcome. The scope of the profession includes landscape design; site planning; storm water management; erosion control; environmental restoration; parks and recreation planning; visual resource management; green infrastructure planning and provision; and private estate and residence landscape master planning and design; all at varying scales of design, planning and management. A practitioner in the profession of landscape architecture is called a landscape architect.


     A lot of people just don't even know what landscape architecture is. They think it's something to do with bushes or adding planting to a project. But that would be like saying architecture is about brick sand adding glass to a project. Landscape architects have always been sort of defined as - maybe self-defined as generalists. There's so much we have to know about everything from civil engineering, botany and horticulture and architecture and urban planning and security design. We have been thought of at times as horticulturalists and, yes, we do know a lot about plants, but it isn't the only thing or even the most important thing that we can do. It's one of our tools. It's one of the things with which we shape space. But just like in architecture we do a lot more. And it is structural, it has to do with the arrangement of parts, it has to do with resource management. It has to do with the use of materials. But it also has to do with making places for people.  


    Landscape is this incredibly rich palette of materials and systems, and it really asks of us to go beyond the visual and to look at how we smell things, how we touch things and how those experiences shape our understanding of space. You're dealing with people's emotional responses to place as much as you're dealing with their physical responses to place. That comes with experience. That comes with modeling. That comes with watching people. That comes with paying attention to our environments. Identity is the key word. The identities are just not your appearance and how you experience it but also the identity of the people that actually occupy and use the site. A public space, a park, a garden is for people. You have to place yourself on the level of a user and figure out what it is that they relate to. It really is, the planning of space for human use, which includes buildings, roads, ponds, canals, that sort of thing, that's landscape architecture. We're a branch of a big spectrum of human activity that goes from designing small objects to planning regions. And we tend to work at the site scale quite often, but often work larger than that.  


    Planners look at large scale urban strategy, urban designers look at urban form, architects certainly look at the scale of a building or urban territory and detail. But landscape architects are doing that simultaneously. I don't think there's another profession that does that. When people approach a landscape, they're seeing a bigger picture. They're coming from a context. They're seeing a place that they're arriving at and it's part of something larger, but then they're occupying it at a very human scale. They're sitting on this bench and they're in the shade or they're not and they're in noise or they're not. So it's important to think about all those scales and I think that's one of the things that's unique about landscape architecture. I think that's what we bring to the table. It's terribly important for the landscape architect not only to be an integral part of the team but be involved from the very get go, before the building hits the ground. And when you look at an architectural project where it began with the site, you can feel it. You feel that there's a difference in the way that it's connected to its place. It's not oh, we need a park with benches, some shade, and some sculpture. Rather, this is actually an integral part of a living system connected to this building and the city.  


    So it becomes a sort of insurance for the preservation of these landscapes. It's actually stitched to the site and it becomes the connective tissue of building and civic realm. Interestingly enough as landscape architects we're very interested in cities...And the reason is because that's where most of the people are. One of the things we realized a few years ago is that many people think cities and nature are antithetical; they think they're different. But they forget that cities are part of nature. We're in nature all the time. Landscape architects are no longer kind of defending nature from humanity, that there is a understanding that everything is interwoven. The whole world, in a sense, is a landscape. It's just so much more than thinking just about that little boundary of the property line. it really needs to be connected so that it can live and thrive and inspire on a daily basis. The challenge of the everyday is that you have to keep it interesting for somebody who goes there 700 times a year...because the danger of landscape is that people stop seeing it. That's why they don't realize that it's everywhere. And what try to do in your work is to make it so that through the seasons, through the sculptural transformations, from night to day, from season to season, you see something new. And you are rewarded for being there 900, 1,000 times a year. 

Principles of Landscape Design :

    Plants in the landscape fill important psychological needs; for example, the color green has a calming effect on people. In large cities, no green spaces lead to stress in humans. Living plants promote human health and help to overcome the stress of everyday living, so the need for attractive landscapes is increasing continually. Landscaping’s most common use is to create an aesthetically pleasing outside environment for both homeowners and businesses. Landscaping definitely creates a more beautiful environment that can be enjoyed by homeowners and by the public in parks and horticultural gardens, but those are not the only purposes for landscaping. Landscaping can dramatically enhance the property value in a specific neighborhood. Landscaping can be used to reduce noise from factories, highways, and other sources because plants buffer noise. Landscaping helps buildings and other structures blend into the terrain. At many universities, any new building that goes up is not allowed to affect how the campus looks. Landscaping can be used to screen unsightly areas by providing a beautiful plant wall around dumpsters, storage areas, and other unsightly areas. Landscaping provides privacy in backyards of homes or shields private business locations from the general public.  

    Landscaping can be broken down into several categories: home landscaping; public area landscaping such as parks; commercial landscaping; and specialty site landscaping such as zoos. Home landscaping is typically up to the individual home owner; however, in some cases, developers establish a theme for a given development and landscape the area based on that particular theme. Landscaping public areas, such as parks, is done for a variety of reasons. For example, small parks can be put at strategic locations in the city to provide a place for workers to rest on their lunch hour. On a community level, parks are landscaped for specific purposes such as parks with baseball fields, tennis courts, running trails, and other recreational facilities. On national or state levels, parks may be used to preserve wildlife while providing recreation areas. Commercial landscaping is done at shopping malls, banks, churches, restaurants, and other places. Commercial landscaping should be functional and safe. Specialty landscaping includes gardens in zoos or botanical gardens, where special designs are used to establish a specific habitat, or at a golf course, where landscaping is used to provide obstacles for the game and aesthetic beauty. 

    For a landscape to be successful, it must start with a well-conceived design, followed by the proper installation and maintenance. The landscape architect establishes the design plan for plants and hardscaping features such as pools and patios. The landscape architect discusses the client’s desires; implements a site plan and planting plan for a given location, which provide detailed guidelines on how to install the landscape; and oversees the project until completion. A site plan is a drawing indicating the location of plants and hardscaping objects in the landscape. The planting plan is a drawing that uses symbols to specify the types and names of plants, their quantities, and their locations in the landscape. The landscape contractor implements the planting plan and maintains the landscape. For a landscape design to be successful, it must include considerations of the plants’ features. Color is a design element that people respond to in different ways and should be used carefully to produce a successful design. Different colors elicit different responses; for example, reds, yellows, and oranges give the feeling of warmth and the appearance of coming toward the viewer, whereas blues and greens give a cool feeling and appear to the viewer as if they are in the background.  

    Sources of color in the landscape are flowers; green, variegated, or seasonal leaves; and the bark on trees. These sources provide the landscape designer with a wide variety of options. Texture is another design element and refers to the visual and physical characteristics of a plant. The physical texture characteristics can be felt by the sense of touch, whereas the visual surface characteristics can project different images to the individual looking at the landscape because such characteristics can create a very smooth or a coarse feeling. When sea- sons change, so do a variety of textures; for example, when a deciduous tree has leaves, the tree provides a smooth texture, but when the leaves fall off, the tree provides a coarse texture. The bark of trees also varies in texture, with some being very smooth and others being very coarse, such as oak, or the bark may have a peeling appearance, such as birch. Different textures can be incorporated into the landscape by using inanimate objects such as mulch, stones, gravel, brick, and others. The distance of the viewer from the landscape can visually modify how coarse an object appears; the greater the distance, the less coarse an object will appear. There should be no abrupt changes from coarse to fine textures in a landscape.  

    Form is a three-dimensional element; for example, a tree shape can be round, weeping, horizontal, and a variety of other shapes. Form provides another element whereby the designer can produce an interesting landscape design. Line is the one-dimensional effect produced by arranging three-dimensional objects in a certain way. Line is a design tool that the landscape architect uses to create and control patterns in the landscape. Formal straight lines are found in pavement design, and to keep them from being monotonous, pavement elements such as bricks can be arranged to soften the effects of straight lines. The arrangement of landscape objects in a line can be used to direct viewers to the focal point in the design. Lines do not have to be straight, and when they are straight, they do not need to be continuous. The landscape designer can introduce breaks in the line to cause the viewer to either pause or change views. Lines can be contoured or curvilinear to slowdown viewing and manipulate the viewer to spend more time to appreciate a particular portion of the landscape. The principles of design help landscape architects develop good designs that are economical to install and easy to maintain. Simplicity is a landscape design principle that uses a number of strategies to reduce high levels of variation and general distractions in the landscape. The landscape architect should use simplicity, which basically means not being overly complex in a given design, thereby promoting overall unity 

    Balance is a landscape design principle that uses equal weight of the elements of design to show uniformity. Balance can be symmetrical balance, where the same number and type of plants are on both sides of a landscape. Another type of balance is asymmetrical balance, which is when different numbers of plants are on both sides of a landscape. Proportion is the landscape design principle that refers to the relationship between the sizes of the different types of plants used in a landscape design. Proportion is not only used with respect to the plants in the landscape, but also with respect to their relationship with inanimate objects in the landscape. For example, large trees should not over shadow a small house. Focalization is a landscape design principle that creates an accent in a particular arrangement. The landscape architect creates focal points in the landscape to direct where people look. Focalization is a very effective way to guide the viewer to areas in the landscape that the landscape architect does not want them to miss, such as fountains, sculptures, and exotic plants. Another reason for the use of focalization is to redirect the viewer’s attention from an unattractive location in the landscape. Rhythm and line is the landscape design principle that deals with flow throughout the landscape. Different sections in the landscape must be linked to create movement throughout the design. Planting bed shape, bed orientation, and heights and shapes of plant materials and inanimate objects in the landscape have a profound effect on rhythm and line. All parts of the landscape, including the landscape wall, ceiling, and floor, must fit together without being forced. In conclusion, you now have a basic knowledge of the elements and principles of landscape design. There are many practical reasons for landscaping in both corporate and residential settings. 


             The practice of landscape architecture spread from the Old to the New World. The term "landscape architect" was used as a professional title by Frederick Law Olmsted in the United States in 1863 and Andrew Jackson Downing, another early American landscape designer, was editor of The Horticulturist magazine (1846–52).

  • Sustainable development.
  • Storm water management including rain gardens, green roofs, groundwater recharge, green infrastructure, and constructed wetlands.
  • Landscape design for educational function and site design for public institutions and government facilities.
  • Parks, botanical gardens, arboretums, greenways, and nature preserves.
  • Recreation facilities, such as playgrounds, golf courses, theme parks and sports facilities.
  • Housing areas, industrial parks and commercial developments.
  • Estate and residence landscape planning and design.
  • Landscaping and accents on highways, transportation structures, bridges, and transit corridors.
  • Contributions to urban design, town and city squares, waterfronts, pedestrian schemes.
  • Natural park, tourist destination, and recreating historical landscapes, and historic garden appraisal and conservation studies.
  • Reservoirs, dams, power stations, reclamation of extractive industry applications or major industrial projects and mitigation.
  • Environmental assessment and landscape assessment, planning advice and land management proposals.

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