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What Is Landscape Architecture?

Sep 22

Landscape architecture is the profession which applies artistic and scientific principles to the design, planning, development and stewardship of the natural and built environment. Landscape architects work with land forms, climates, plants, trees, water, lighting, land use and a host of other elements to produce beautiful, sustainable and functional outdoor spaces.


The History Of Landscape Architecture

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 site analysis, land planning, site design, construction specification and management.

The history of landscape architecture can be traced back to ancient times. One of the earliest examples is The Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily (4th century BCE). The Villa Romana del Casale is a large rural villa that was probably used for agricultural purposes. It is notable for its extensive use of mosaics to decorate the floors and walls of its many rooms.

In China, landscape architecture dates back to at least the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). The famous scholar Xu Xiake (1587-1641) wrote extensively on the subject and his work Geographical Notes on Famous Mountains and Waters is still considered a classic in the field.

During the Renaissance in Europe (15th-16th centuries), landscape architecture began to be treated as a distinct discipline separate from architecture and gardening. A number of architects including Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) and Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554) wrote treatises on the subject. In England, John Evelyn's (1620-1706) book Elysium Britannicum or histories pastorate Prothesisque future artis sitaque habitationibus was influential in spreading ideas about harmonious proportions in landscapes.

During the 18th century, British landscape architects such as William Kent (1685-1748), Humphry Repton (1752-1818), Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783), and Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824) were influenced by Classical ideas about proportions and symmetry. They advocated for extensive naturalistic landscapes that incorporated principles from Picturesque theory such as irregularity and contrast.

In America during the 19th century, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852) was one of the most influential landscape architects. He popularized many European ideas in his books including A Treatise on Fruit Trees (1845), The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America (1845),and The Architecture of Country Houses(1850). He also helped found an annual horticultural exhibition called The New York Crystal Palace Flower Show which ran from 1857 until 1861.

During the 20th century, landscape architecture continued to evolve as new theories and movements arose. Modernist ideas about simplicity and functionality became popular in Europe and America during the first half of the century while postmodernism began to emerge in the 1970s. Landscape architects such as Mies van der Rohe(1886–1969), Frank Lloyd Wright(1867–1959), Le Corbusier(1887–1965), Buckminster Fuller(1895–1983), Aldo Rossi(1931–1997),and James Wines(1932-) have all made significant contributions to the field.


The Different Types Of Landscape Architecture

There are different types of landscape architecture, but the three main types are residential, commercial, and industrial.

Residential landscape architecture is when homes and other private residences are designed. This type of landscape architecture includes pools, gardens, patios, and other outdoor features.

Commercial landscape architecture is when businesses such as shopping malls, office parks, and hotels are designed. This type of landscape architecture includes features such as water features, seating areas, and lighting.

Industrial landscape architecture is when things such as factories, power plants, and mine sites are designed. This type of landscape architecture includes features such as grading, drainage, and lighting.


The Landscape Architecture Process

Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes. The process of designing a landscape may involve the development of site plans, planting plans, and master plans. A site plan is typically a 1:12 scale drawing that shows the existing features of a property and the proposed features for a landscape design. A planting plan is a drawing that shows what types of plants will be used in a landscape design and where they will be located. A master plan is a large-scale planning document that may be prepared for an entire community or region.

The landscape architecture profession encompasses a diverse range of activities, from site analysis and feasibility studies to construction administration and plant selection. Landscape architects may work in private practice, in government agencies, or in the corporate sector. They may also be involved in planning and urban design, environmental restoration, parks and recreation management, historic preservation, or teaching.


The Benefits Of Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is the profession that applies artistic and scientific principles to the planning, design, development and stewardship of land areas. Typically, these land areas include:

  • -Parks
  • -Gardens
  • -Residential and commercial properties
  • -Institutional grounds
  • -Cemeteries
  • -Highway medians
  • -Nature preserves
  • -Botanical gardens

We work closely with other professionals, including:

  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Urban planners
  • Interior designers

to ensure that the physical environment meets the needs of the people who live, work and play there.