Saturday, March 8, 2014
I was called into this project last year to help dream up a new look for the privacy screen/railings that enclosed this "backyard". The space is approximately 20 x 20 and sits at the second floor level over top a parking area in the back of a townhouse complex. The clients asked me for something that kept the privacy, allowed for air flow and gave them a view to the surrounding tree tops, all the while keeping it stylish and appealing to the eye.
I came up with a combination of the privacy screens for the sides of the deck and the glass windows along the back with etched in window frames on the glass. The glass windows were placed strategically so that when seated on the deck, no one could see you from down below but you had all the pleasure of the green surrounding from the tree branches.
This effect makes the space feel larger and more connected to the landscape even though it is 9 feet off the ground. The deck carpenter for this project was Tony Fredericks of The Woodcrafters (416-420-3999).
The glass panels for the screens were supplied by Verrage Glass and Mirror Inc. (416-631-6500 or 905-738-6565)...they are a great group to work with and will customize any glass shapes, sizes, patterns and specifications for your project!
The very glossy, luxuriant deep green leaves are up to 2.5 x 1 inch in size. There foliage often remains green until Christmas.
The flowers are up to an inch across and resemble that of the native Buttonbush. The very showy, fragrant white blooms are borne early summer until mid autumn.
Hardy zone 7 to 9 though it survives north to zone 5 as a dieback perennial.
Prefers full sun to partial shade and is soil tolerant though preferring fertile, acidic and well drained. It is also tolerant of flooding.
* photos taken on 4th of July @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.
* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA
* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.
* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC
Friday, March 7, 2014
A shrub related to the Mint ( but not invasive ), it is one of 2 species in the Rostrinucula genus native to central China from Shaanxi Province, south to Yunnan.
It forms an attractive suckering mounding, arching shrub reaching up to 8 x 10 feet.
Mixing with Ephedra gerardiana forms an interesting combination.
The leaves are up to 4 x 1.6 inches in length. They are green in summer turning to dull yellow late in fall.
The flowers are borne in long, lavender weeping catkins up to 12 x 0.6 inches in mid to late autumn.
The stems are burgundy red.
Hardy zones 7b to 10. On the east coast it grows as far north as Washington D.C. in sheltered locations and on the west coast as far north as Seattle and Vancouver though not far inland. If it does freeze to the ground cut it back to a few inches above the ground before new growth begins in spring.
It loves hot sunny sites and light, well drained soil.
Propagation can be from offsets as well as cuttings taken in the first half of summer which root easily. It is very easy to grow from seed.
* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.
Publicity image for the Pennbury eco-town, Leicestershire
The Landscape Institute has recently published it’s response to the Government PPS on ‘Eco Towns’. As I had some comments on the subject, I’m quoted as an author of the report. I suspect the format of the response means that the LI has to come up with comments that fit particular statements. It kind of reminds me of the questionnaires that I had to fill in for the canteen when I lived in University Halls of Residence. They’d ask questions like “How would you rate the choice of vegetarian options?” or “How do you rate the variety of menu’s?”. When you really want to answer the questions, “How does the food taste?” - inevitably pretty vile, or “Is the food fit for human consumption?”- a simple no would suffice. Hence the PPS response deals with, ‘Are the locational principles for eco-towns sufficiently clear and workable?’, rather than the more straight forward, ‘Are the proposed eco-towns in good locations?’ Maybe this is the reason that I’m struggling to see much of my input! That said, I think the LI is right to push the whole ‘Green Infrastructure’ and ‘Place Making angle’, which seem to be gradually moving into the public conscienciousness. If you’re at all interested, I’ve put the press release and a link to the document below.
"8 May 2009
Landscape Institute verdict on Governments Planning Policy Statement for Ecotowns
The Landscape Institute has submitted its response to the Governments latest proposals for ecotowns. Over the past 6 months, a consultation has been underway on the content of the draft Planning Policy Statement for the new towns which sets out the standards that the developments are expected to achieve.
The Landscape Institute is particularly disappointed at the apparent failure of Government to grasp just how significant a role green infrastructure can play in meeting a wide range of standards to be achieved, ranging from water management to food production and biodiversity.
Another concern surrounds the lack of emphasis on the importance of place-making in the creation of ecotown communities. The Landscape Institute believes this is fundamental to the success of the ecotowns as places where people will want to live and where business will want to invest.
Read the full response here.
Find more information on the Governments ecotowns initiative here."
How To Choose The Right Plants
First of all, never choose your plants based on looks alone. You dont want to choose plants that need a lot of direct sunlight and then place them in an area that actually gets a lot of shade or filtered light. The first thing you need to think about is your landscaping environment. You should choose plants that will thrive in your specific environment. Consider the temperature in your region, the type of soil in your yard, and the relative amount of shade or sunlight each area of your yard receives. If you are creating a desert Landscape Design, for example, you should choose plants that love the sun and plants that are drought proof. In regard to plant placement, also remember to research plants to see how much space they need and how large they grow so that you can plant your Landscape Designs accordingly.
Cutting Back On Grass
Perhaps 50 years ago it was okay to have a large yard full of nothing but grass. Well kept grass was a vibrant achievement of the proud homeowner. But today, people like to have more character in their yards. Mix it up with flowers, shrubs, trees, and vines. Even if you dont want to create an entire hardscape Design, adding just a few hardscape elements can improve the look of a Landscape Design as well. An added tip when it comes to grass is not to cut it too short. This may cause bald spots which can be more susceptible to disease and insects.
Focal Points & Diversity
Today, homeowners want their Landscape Designs to look beautiful year round. To avoid having a barren lawn during certain seasons it is important to choose a variety of different plants that thrive at different times of the year. Many people also neglect to include focal points in their Landscape Designs. Focal points are important because they add power and majesty to the look of your Landscape and they immediately draw in eyes to the best parts of your Design. When choosing focal points be sure to pick plants that will look beautiful year round. You can also use hardscape elements as focal points. One example of a focal point might include using a stone stairway in your backyard that leads to a gorgeous pagoda. In many desert Landscape Designs, homeowners cover their entire yards with cacti. Instead of doing this, the homeowners can create a focal point using one or two large, majestic cacti, and then use other desert plants like colorful perennial flowers in other sections of the Landscape Design.
Whether you will creating a Landscape that is big or small, remember that you can always consult with a residential Landscape Designer. They can offer you professional advice about your desert Landscape Designs, as well as various other landscaping Designs.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A mother of teenager boys creatively writes of her experience with her backyard fire pit and how it creates a natural gathering place and even enhances family bonding as her two teenage boys cant resist sitting down next to the backyard fire pit which can "transform otherwise lame, hard-headed, despicable parental figures into bearable adults." I got a good chuckle as she relives the fall evenings with her teenage sons and revels in the notion that a fire pit can cross parental and natal bonding lines.
She talks about how the light bulb goes off in her sons head as hes getting ready to toast a marshmallow and instead of whittling a stick, he decides to tape a barbeque skewer to the end of it instead.
Not exactly an informational article, but rather a fun-loving, heartwarming and funny recollection of a family bonding experience. Its a good quick read and I recommend checking it out just for the sake of it. Oh, and for all of you mothers out there who are seeking some quality family time with your stubborn teenagers, think about installing a custom fire pit to create a natural gathering place for family, friends and entertainment.
The characteristic sub-tropical climate and the striking features are the perfect dimensions of the landscaping business. These features smoothens the services of landscaping firms which are flourishing these days. These companies are involved in providing services like landscape designing, its construction facility and many a times offering advice to the consumers through the professional landscapers.
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If like me you love to entertain dine cook unwind and just live inwards your own outdoor living area during the warm seasons you have in all likelihood pored ended completely the magazines that display the wide range of gorgeous options available creased the corners of pages and made plans in your head for the aspiration patio that will make up yours one and only day. All that is needed to achieve that stargaze is the appropriate blank space and sufficient money. However if also like me you do not experience that money yet you penury a plan for your outdoor support area that will keep your future options open just also play your lay out inevitably and desires. You need to know how to intention group A functional comfortable attractive patio on a pissed budget. Three cay considerations live Hoosier State the process of achieving this goal:
- Understand both the potential and the limitations of the sphere available.
- Determine how this place keister best take on your necessarily and desires.
- Assess what you already own and still need to furnish your sought after outdoor life
Recently my wife and I purchased a new family for our development family. later on the down payment the purchase of some much needful newly interior article of furniture and the installation of amp consortium in the backyard the available funds were used upwards and the ambition patio was slated for future consideration. We needed an lag patio design that would outfit our very tight budget; the task of designing and creating that patio barbarous to me.
My showtime tone in this process was to flesh out the potential and the limitations of the patio areas that came with the planetary house we had purchased. I had to begin away mensuration the dimensions and taking into account the logistical layout of the existing space. This space consisted of III distinct areas: one cedar tree deck XII ft. x 12 ft. with a lattice roof; a second open cedar deck 12 ft. x xvi ft. adjacent to and unrivalled step down from the first; and finally one flagstone patio field XII ft. cristal xviii ft. another step down from the second dump and working perpendicular to both decks. Both decks streamlet alongside the property line with a wooden wall border; the flagstone patio runs along the back of the house. The dimensions of these tercet spaces seem quite large and loaded with potential but their logistical layout puts meaning limitations on to each one one. The first deck is approached aside vitamin A matching 4 ft. broad true cedar adorn walkway that runs along the side of the menage to a doorway off the kitchen. Traffic flow dictates that this walk be carried on crossways the first deck to the secondment one reducing the usable area of the first knock down to 8ft. x 12 ft.; that same traffic flow rate and so turns and runs along the adjoin of the second deck where it turns hinder and steps down to the flagstone and turns back erstwhile again into the I. F. Stone stairs leading down to the pool. The sec deck therefore has at once become an 8 or IX ft. ten sixteen ft. living area. The flagstone patio besides loses 4 ft. along its integral length as a gate to the street astatine the far end leads to this area and the same steps to the pool; thus this patio blank space is today 8ft. x 18 ft.. The significant limitations of each area get unmistakable because to each one 8 ft. space bordered away traffic hang is not an expansive blank space to form with. My challenge was to know what single wanted extinct of my out-of-door living domain and how the available space could fit my desires.
Obviously my s step was to figure out how the patio areas one wanted could match into the usable space available to me. First I had to consider the problems. Dining areas need wide space because dining tables are gravid and chairs involve ample space to move in and out plus traffic flow of necessity to represent accommodated all approximately them. An outdoor kitchen or cooking arena needs less space simply still enough to fulfill the needs of the cook (in this case me) and it should wealthy person relatively easy access to both the indoor kitchen and the outdoor dining area. Ultimately ampere comfortable sitting orbit became my final condition inward terms of flow priorities. The first cedar adorn then with its 8 ft. hug drug xii ft. area became my outdoor kitchen as it was exactly great enough to fulfil my needs and it allowed Pine Tree State to set upwards a pose astir counter on the other incline of the railing down on the adjacent flagstone patio an choice that was highschool on my leaning of desires. The second deck I step drink down became the dining area because of its proximity to the cooking area and because its layout best allowed for ample traffic flow. The flagstone patio and so would contain the sit upward buffet iodin wanted and a small comfortable sitting area. forthwith all ane had to do was fill my trey areas with the article of furniture and appliances usable to me.
The final stage of my design litigate then was to occupy my various outdoor bread and butter areas with dining and patio furniture and with outdoor kitchen appliances. My budget needful me to wee-wee use of any ace already owned and had brought with me from my previous house. In the dining domain 1 pose astir an sure-enough cedar tree shelve salvaged from a workshop that one had refurbished and adapted to this purpose; it is type A bit small and showing its long time somewhat simply will do until I can purchase new. ampere put of inexpensive patio chairs ca-ca an adequate compliment to the table for the time being. The kitchen compulsory a bit Thomas More creativity. I have got amp upright gas barbecue that iodin set astatine the end of the first bedeck perpendicular style to the railing that borders the flagstone patio; this setup forms ampere wall of sorts between kitchen and dining areas and likewise allows Pine Tree State to aspect kayoed and down to the consortium field while atomic number 53 cook. atomic number 85 the end of the cook out opposite the railing I situated some other very old small wooden washing room put over with an enameled steel teetotum that atomic number 53 have owned for years. My camp kitchen range sits on this table to provide Maine with full cooking facilities out of doors; unmatched day I will have a more than elaborate organisation but again it is enough for now. polar this table against the railing I have type A wrought iron stand holding a right blade cooler arsenic a makeshift refrigerator. It keeps foods nerveless adequate spell waiting to be grilled and holds the beverages I enjoy piece cooking. Beside the cooler on the railing incline sits an extra workmate work bench (I dont call for deuce Indiana the garage) on top of which I get prominent wooden press cutting board; so I induce angstrom unit handy forge rejoinder on which to prepare food. Against the back wall the house wall for shelving purposes sits a bakers rack that could not come up a home in our fresh kitchen when we moved. Two chairs sit here arsenic substantially for the cook and a friend. totally these pieces of article of furniture thence variety a small U-shaped kitchen with a tight work trigon and with easy access to both the dining expanse and the indoor kitchen. Finally 1 needful to set up my seat up kitchen counter. For this purpose I ill-used an old heavy duty cedar potting table thrown-away from vitamin A friends greenhouse business. It is 72 x 30 and when butted up against the railing so that it runs perpendicular to it it provides rejoinder seats for five right beside my cooking sphere - antiophthalmic factor very popular spy when we are entertaining. The counter stools are as well leftovers from the previous house without vitamin A home here until now. The sitting area for now has been relegated to the far end of this counter table; it is comprised of antiophthalmic factor refurbished true cedar adirondack beloved posterior and antiophthalmic factor patio swing set that face each other summation allow for group A view tabu over the garden to the pool. There it is: troika areas created with no newly purchases until our budget is sound again.
Make no mistake: in the future when the budget allows I leave stool improvements. single will cap over maybe add on and screen in and emphatically grease ones palms fresh patio furniture. Never the less the outdoor living sphere that I have nowadays is useable and attractive and provides a bang-up dish out of enjoyment for myself my kinsperson and our friends. Having angstrom dream patio is type A good matter simply we completely must comprise able to relish what we birth spell we work hard to afford the dream.
Remember the deuce-ace key steps:
- Understand the blank space you have to work with.
- Know what you want and how it fits your space.
- Decide how to provide your space without overly many major purchases.
Keep inwards mind two important architectural adages: first kind follows function; second less is more. All that is actually required is a bit of mortal searching some deliberate measurements and observations a rival of creativity and most importantly type A fair stage of precaution and planning.
Relate Tag : Patio Design,Patio Design Pictures,Patio Ideas,Patio Pictures,Patio Design Software
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
|outdoor landscaping designs|
The outdoor landscaping of your property is considered as the most vital components in helping the overall good thing about your property. Excellent landscape design really helps to effectively produce the appeal that the home genuinely deserves. Should your home previously has some kind of basic landscaping set up, you may improve this by simply sprucing up your current homes fronts through cost-efficient approaches and procedures.
Have a Long-Term Attitude When Doing Outdoor Landscaping
We might deny that, but most people do not have a new long-term plan for landscaping tasks that we tackle. Generally, your outdoor landscaping we tackle are mostly influenced or activated by impulsive.
When we check out a home improvement center or even plant gardening shop for instance, all of us buy the kinds which we feel are hottest, and we usually do not take into account the natural shape and styles of our residences. The plant life or goods we purchase usually turn out looking both dull as well as out of place along with would fundamentally fall short of the expectations.
Expert landscape designers debate that a sizable most of homeowners are unsuccessful when they accomplish their landscaping tasks on impulse , nor take a closer look on the contours along with overall sense of their backyards.
Good Outdoor Landscaping Places Premium upon Design Harmony
Its without a doubt that a lot of people are able to generate wonderful outdoor landscaping tasks but most end up getting poorly-crafted designs. As you do not need to keep the burden involving designing or even creating a ineffective outdoor landscaping project, you actually should not just congratulate your self for striving as well.
Expert outdoor landscape artists point out most fall short because they dont have attention to your design. Competent landscape designers usually aid homeowners incorporate all sensible and cosmetic aspects within their overall outdoor landscaping strategies. If you just wish to win over your neighbors or even desire to develop a wonderful organic haven with regard to birds as well as insects, complementing this idea along with your landscape designer can aid in creating an outdoor landscaping strategy that is defined and is useful.
Most of us could imagine that task an outdoor landscaping undertaking would get spending genuinely large sums of income. Well, for a few it may include spending a large amount of cash, nonetheless that should not invariably be the case.
|outdoor fire pit landscaping designs|
If you have just purchased a new home or plan to add some character to your existing home, you know, establish the importance of Landscape ideas. Are you sure excited to add your personal touch home. So where do you want?
Landscaping can make a huge disagreement in your home. It adds character and makes your home a place that is more a reflection of your taste and personality. The first look of your home, whatleaves an impression on visitors and all that is over and then the Landscape, what to bring in desired effects you need to transform the house into a dream. Landscaping not appreciate the fact that professionals pay a huge mountain of payment as a sum of professional fees. With all the material available online and in book form, you might begin with your ideas on your own. There are in fact much more satisfying, thingsall alone together.
There is also an estimate of the software today that will create the Landscape system before they can start working effectively. Landscape projects is an area where good planning is required otherwise we would end up spending to get a lot of time and money, and yet the desired effects. Good planning and review the work would again ensure that you will be able to put your ideas into this convention and also within your budget.
Landscapingcan provide ideas for transforming the house that there is a personality and character that you fall in love. The coverage of the real needs of home care and color that you want to have a big impact on all-inclusive look of your home. To have a perfect plan before the campaign began. Check the possible colors, and all is important. There are also more coats for outdoor use that to withstand extreme weather conditions. Getting therethe next phase of the green, it is important to make the right choices when it comes to plants that you want to beautify your garden.
It important that the plants adapted to the specific weather conditions and regular maintenance and care are crucial in order to choose the happy and smiling. Wells, Platforms, a beautiful lawn and a couple of good lighting is to give some ideas that create a Landscape facelift may look all-encompassingYour home. Be sure to plan every detail and have all materials ready before starting work. It important to have harmony in my thoughts and ideas and a clear vision on the big picture.
Landscape Design ideas can transform the house because there is a personality and character that you fall in love. You know not to worry about this remarkable ideas? Take these ideas to create this scene
A house garden neednt be huge little bit of your lawn. Even if you are surviving in an apartment or perhaps a condo, you could have your minor piece of nirvana by making excellent use of your current creativity and also attention to particulars.
Small backyards can be used to place flowers, shrubbery, vegetables as well as herbs. When lucky enough, you may even plant any tree with your garden to get a nice center point. A small yard does not require lots of maintenance however you can still have the same sense of accomplishment while you would having a big backyard.
|garden design images|
Before you begin planting, contemplate which spot would be suitable for your plant life to grow. It ought to be a place exactly where theres lots of sunlight, adequate rainfall and also ample hue so that your plant life can flourish happily. A lot of or inadequate of those aspects can die your vegetation, so program strategically.
Equally as location is vital, you also should consider the form of your garden. You have to be able to accessibility your garden coming from all points. Your backyard should also be observed from virtually all parts of the home to provide a very interesting high light to your home program.
Think about the way your garden may blend in perfectly with the rest of your house. If youre contemplating of adding a garden inside a major action area, your current plants must not get in the way to move. Keep them faraway from way of visitors where they are often easily trampled.
For any small garden design, much less is definitely far more. As much as you like a burst of colours, you have to keep with some matched colors that can make your space seem larger. Nevertheless, you can nonetheless add 1 or 2 bold hues to put a component of surprise inside your garden.
Modest spaces mustnt be an issue in relation to creating the backyard of your dreams. A bit creativity will go a long way, thus make use of your effectiveness in making your perfect garden occur.
Guide to Design Theory - for students of garden and landscape design
Students of garden design and landscape architecture require:
design history and theory
skill in the composition of
good outdoor space.
Garden design is concerned with private space and landscape architecture with public space. With the design of public gardens, the two arts overlap.
familiarity with the
types of outdoor space
which have been found to satisfy human needs
a knowledge of landscape and garden
plants, products and materials
a range of art, craft and drawing skills, discussed below
Design studio craft
There is much for students to learn from working with other people, because the knowledge comes from watching designers and talking to them. Most things
can be written down but many things tend to be left out.
The craft skills of
design studio work
How to be a
which serve the needs of garden and landscape projects
How to make garden and landscape designs
respond to their context
The range of approaches to
The role of
metaphor in garden and landscape design projects
The use of
existing site, appraisal and concept drawings
The use of
in generating and explaining a project
The use of
in landscape and garden design
as the starting point in garden and landscape design
Why designers use
How to learn about
What is a
explain a project
Seven design principles
Twelve things to try if you get stuck with a design project
Thirteen ways to ruin a design project
A design theory is a procedure for how to set about a design project. The links below take you to an outline of a design approach for the twenty-first century
and to applications of this approach to garden design and then to landscape architecture (landscape design and landscape planning):
Garden and Landscape Design for the 21st Century: a Simple Approach
The SAD Design Method and Pattern Analysis
The Flowers of Garden Design Theory - and the flight of the honey bee
PAKILDA: a Pattern-Assisted-Knowledge-Intensive-Landscape-Design-Approach
HyperLandscapes: an approach linking landscape design to the wide world of information
Physically, gardens must have boundaries. Mentally, they can reach to the limits of the universe. The ideas which bestow such vast extent on gardens derive
from sun, earth, art, water, history, civilization, family, everything. This essay considers the inspiration that can come from sun, wind, materials, sculpture
and the conservation movement. They were chosen as examples because, in the arts, it is often necessary to look backwards before moving forwards.
Garden History Programme by Online Distance Learning (Home Study)
Garden history is an exceptionally interesting subject, bringing together art, architecture, horticulture, design and social history. It is essential knowledge
for those who manage historic gardens and valuable for professional garden designers and landscape architects whose education may not have covered design
history in sufficient depth. Garden history is the greatest repository of ideas for garden design and landscape architecture. To understand the particularity
of single garden it is helpful to have a broad knowledge of garden and landscape history.
Landform Design Guide
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Earthwork is ancient artform. In England, the prehistoric stone circle at Avebury is a composition of landform with vertical structures.
Landform remains one of the most dramatic elements available to garden and landscape designers.
At the landscape scale, landform is best treated as land sculpture (earthworks). The best design procedure is:
words -> drawing -> model -> sitework
decide what you want to achieve - and put it in words
sketch the design aim onto a rough diagram with a very soft pencil (or draw with your finger!)
make a clay model (using a spatula or block of wood, not your finger)
do not rely on the drawing to create the actual earthwork: it is necessary to be on site, directing the work, driving the machinery or working with barrow
At the garden scale, even the smallest changes of level can become significant aspects of the spatial design - perhaps a location for steps between two
It is traditional for landform designers to draw inspiration from natural forms: hills, valleys, plants and the human figure.
Here are 3 ways of doing a landform design:
1. By drawing contours and sections. The initial shaping should be done with a soft pencil (about 6B). One should "draw from the shoulder with a little
help from the elbow and a little more help from the wrist. Stretch the fingers before starting work. Think of the initial work as shaping a lump of wood,
as a carver would do. Then have a go at tracing the soft lines with a fine pencil, as a wood-carver uses honing and sanding tools after the saw and the
chisel (Figure 9). Unlike the carver, you can now take a fresh sheet of tracing paper and have another go at the shaping stage, then at the honing, then
again the shaping, the sanding and the polishing, until the job is done.
2. By clay modelling. It is unquestionably the case that the best landform designs I have seen started life as clay models. Clay is a better medium than
paper as a surrogate for land. Clay is also much better than plasticine. You can work it with knives, tools and blocks of wood. These tools encourage you
to "work from the shoulder, instead of with the fingers. The model should be made to scale and on a base plan. If you want to go on from day to day, then
wrap it with a wet towel and polythene. Dont expect to keep the model too long. The aim is to generate a set of contours, take some photographs (with
low light, from different viewpoints) and then return the clay to the pug mill. Contours should be drawn on the clay using a "traveller (a pencil fixed
to a bar and moving on two strips of wood) and then drawn them onto a sheet of glass or Perspex, supported on the same strips of wood. You can also find
the contours by placing the model in a tray and slowly filling it with water. Another advantage of clay is that you can use it to make a volumetric model.
At 1:100, each cubic centimetre of clay will represent 10@t000@tm3 of earth. Brian Clouston wrote a good article about this (Clouston, 1976).
3. By computer. The machine has two great advantages: it calculates the volumes for you and it shows you what the landform will look like from eye level
at defined viewpoints. The disadvantage of design by clay model is that you tend to be working with a "helicopter pilots view of the land. This produces
results that look beautiful to pilots but not to pedestrians. The computer also produces impressive wireline drawings and photorealistic models of landform.
Please do not forget two old University of Greenwich sayings: "No contours -- no marks; "No cross-sections -- no marks. The third dimension is crucial
return to student Design Guide index
Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Laumeier sculpture park
Water Design Guide
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Life on Earth depends on water. Therefore water is a more important element in landscape and garden design than plants.
In wet climates, water is taken for granted. Still falls the rain - and it is often sufficient for plant growth. But in dry climates irrigation is necessary
and the worlds oldest garden illustrations (of ancient Egyptian gardens) all have a pool as the central feature.
In China, houses and gardens have long been planned according to the geomantic principles of
The literal translation is wind and water.
In modern books on garden design, one frequently reads that a real garden must have water. The usual ways of obtaining wate are:
rainwater harvesting: all gardens should do this
excavation to the water table: this is the best way of making a pool
daming a natural watercourse
using a piped supply (note that a natural supply will be source of nutrients while a mains supply will be sterile and may contain chlorine - unless your
community practices sustainable water management and seperate supplies of purified and grey water
The chief modes for handling water are:
standing water (garden pools, ponds, lakes etc)
flowing water (garden streams, channels, rivers etc)
falling water (garden waterfalls, cascades, weirs etc)
a spray of water (garden fountains, sprays, jets etc)
Planting Design Guide
Most societies have loved flowers. But the art we know as planting design (ie planting for aesthetic objectives) is of comparatively recent origin.
The oldest records of plants used in garden design come from ancient Egypt. They show that plants were valued primarily for the food they provided but that
certain plants (eg the lotus and the sycomore fig) were also valued for sybolic reasons. Records of medieval gardens tell a similar story: plants were
grown to eat, to flavour food, for medicinal reasons and for their symbolic reasons. A red rose and a white lily could sybolise the blood of Christ and
the purity of the Virgin Mary.
The arrangement of flowering plants for aesthetic reasons became popular in the nineteenth century and was greatly advanced by the Arts and Crafts movement.
demonstrated through her life and work, this requires:
much trial and error
Structures & Outdoor Space
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Architects tend to place buildings in the middle of an outdoor space, like statues of policitians, so that they can be admired by all.
Garden and landscape designers should treat buildings as objects with which to define and contain space. Structures are often better on the edge of a site
than at its centre. Walls should also define and contain space, with gaps to let the light in and views out.
The range of structures which can and should be used to contain outdoor space includes: houses, sheds, pergolas, walls, fencing, screens. Planning and design
with these elements is often classed as landscape architecture and it home owners would do well to consult a book on residential landscape architecture.
The rule is: "design space before mass in outdoor design". When the outdoor space has been defined, mass (eg structures and plants) is used for containment.
return to student Design Guide indexPaving Design Guide
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Good paving is surprisingly difficult. The problems are:
it is as easy to make a paved area too small as to make it too large
most of the paving materials sold in garden centres are ghastly
making crude patterns with crude jointing takes no thought
sometimes it is best to align a path on the most direct route (the desire line); othertimes it is best to use the most circuitous route
The safest generalisation about paving is use only the best materials. These are not necessarily the most expensive materials:
a good aggregate (gravel) can be cheap but superb
precast concrete is almost always wrong in gardens: it looks fresh when first laid but deteriorates thereafter
sawn granite, though very expensive, rarely looks good in gardens: perhaps it is too closely associated with banks and tombstones.
Laying good paving is craftwork. It requires good selection of materials, sensitive jointing and well-judged patterning.
Another key point for the paving designer to consider is the use of local materials. They are often the best choice and do much to create local identity.
Design with Climate return to
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There are two major considerations:
design for comfort - to make outdoor space which is cool when it hot and warm when its not
design to celebrate the marvels of sun, wind, frost, rebirth and other climate-related phenomena
design for plants
Design with climate - for comfort
Domestic courtyards in China were planned according to climatic and symbolic criteria from the earliest times until the advent of modern functionalist
architecture with Marxism and Leninism. Traditional practice was to orient buildings and courtyards on a north-south axis. In North China, which is cold,
this caught the sun and gave protection from arctic winds. In South China, which is hot, this caught the breeze from the ocean. Deep porches were used,
as in Indian and American verandahs, to (1) give deep shade in summer (2) allow the low winter sun to enter.
In the temperate zone, gardens should be planned with sitting areas for as many climatic conditions and times of day as possible: winter afternoons, autumn
afternoons, summer afternoons, summer evenings.
Design with climate - for enchantment
The conditions of modern life require us to spend too much of our lives in climatically controlled buildings, detached from the natural world. For our leisure
time there is a joy in appreciating the wonders of wind, sun, frost, dew, mist, growth and decay.
Climatic design for plants
Gardeners often like to grow a wide range of plants from many parts of the world - which have different climatic requirements: wet/dry, hot/cool, boggy/well-drained,
full-sun/half-sun/shade. This requires consideration at an early stage of the design process.
The design of outdoor space can have many objectives. For garden and landscape design, the traditional summary is that a good outdoor space should be designed
The place should be comfortable, convenient, useful and functional.
The place should have structural stability, sound construction, sustainable technology, and good use of materials based on a knowledge of their ecological
The place should be beautiful, sublime, picturesque, inspiring, exciting, dramatic, calm, spiritual - or a selection from these properties.
The words Commodity, Firmness and Delight are translations, by Wotton, from the Roman author
Garden and Designed Landscape Types
Garden types relate to the purposes for which gardens are made. They are quite distinct from garden
as are vehicle types (car, tank, truck) from vehicle design styles. A distinction should also be made between design styles and national styles (such as
National styles exist but they have evolved over millennia. The distinction between designed gardens and designed landscapes is predominantly that between
private and public designed outdoor space.
National Nature Park
DIRECTORY OF PRODUCTS (+ 400 photos)
Guide to Design Theory
Water in garden design
Natural Swimming Ponds,
Hot Tub Spas,
Advice on water quality,
Electric lights ,
Use only the best materials
Garden sculpture and ornament
Sculpture & Ornament
Buddha in gardens,
Pets and wildlife,
Garden buildings, fences and other structures
Buildings & structures
Pot Luck Section
Plants and planting design
Birds and wildlife,
Historic garden tools,
Choosing software for garden design
Computers & Design
Visual effects software,
The six Grand Compositional Elements of garden design
UK Garden Designers,
The directory :rests on the principle: use only the best. This does not mean use the most expensive. Unbound gravel, if well chosen, is a material of
the highest quality. But precast concrete is almost always a trashy material: it can have the charm of fresh snow when laid but decays thereafter. Similarly:
grass is an excellent material and plastic is, usually, undesirable in gardens. This is not an issue of old materials vs modern materials. Laminated glass
and stainless steel, for example, are modern materials of high quality. It is more a question of durability and of the aging process. Lead and stone grow
old gracefully. Plastic and concrete merely decay: they do not develop an attractive patina.
Design as a craft
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Every craftsperson has a way of working, partly learned, partly invented. In a life drawing studio one is advised to: "Position the head above the standing
foot; "Look for the spaces; "Look for the relationships; "Start with the head; "Start with spine Do not start with the head (Figure 1). Comparable
advice is given in design studios - and ways of working influence the end product. One cannot proceed without a method, but different methods produce different
results. These notes derive from my time working at the University of Greenwich. They were written in response to points raised by students work and office
practice. They are reproduced here partly in case they are useful to other students and partly to record the craft of landscape design as it was conceived
during the period in question. Sturts notes on the wheelwrights craft were written as machine production began to replace handcraft. I see these notes
as being about the craft of landscape design at a time when computer screens were taking over from drawing-boards. How far they will succeed remains uncertain.
Already, it is perfectly clear that the process of computer-aided design (CAD) will influence the product. The machine is not a neutral design aid.
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Designers are often advised to view their plans upside down, back to front or from the far side of a room. This lets one see the design as an abstract composition.
But the individuals who will make your design real, and then use it, are not abstract people. Please consider your work from other points of view. Put
yourself into their frames of mind. Try to become a do-it-yourself (DIY) critic.
Financiers care deeply about the designed relationship between revenue and expenditure. They love the former and they hate the latter. You need to learn
something of their language and their concerns. Initial capital cost should be related to annual cost-in-use and revenue. High capital expenditure is viewed
as less unacceptable if it leads to high rental income and/or low maintenance costs. Income-generating facilities are more appreciated than general beautification
projects. Self-contained phases make schemes more fundable, especially if the first phases are the most profitable and there is a possibility of never
embarking upon the loss-making phases.
Contractors are practical folk. One day, they will arrive on site and start work. They will need a sequence for stripping topsoil, building haul routes
and site roads, implementing temporary drainage works etc. They prefer to carry out earthworks in summer and planting in winter. Equipment must be secure
at night, and workers must have a place to drink tea. All these operations become simpler and pleasanter if the designer has exercised forethought. Try
and think how you would plan them if you were the project manager. Perhaps you will be.
Users are the people you should really care about. I recommend the Peter Youngman method of evaluating a scheme from the users viewpoint. As a star critic
at the University of Greenwich, his practice was to trace round a students scheme with his right forefinger. How will I find the site? Where can I park
my car? What will I see as I walk towards the lake? Is there provision for cyclists? Are the toilets visible from here? Will I see through, or over, this
group of plants? Is it safe for children? Direct your finger along different paths and think about alternative scenarios for a visit: on your own; with
a car; on horseback; in a wheelchair; with a pram; without good vision.
Maintenance teams will never forget you. Even if you have moved on to other jobs, their repeated curses, or incantations of praise, will get through to
you in one way of another. How much hand-mowing, gang-mowing, hand-weeding, machine cultivation, hedge-cutting, chemical spraying, thinning, replanting
and bedding-out have you set them to do? Are there convenient tractor routes around the site? Will they just ignore your fancy drawings?
Photographers will make or break your reputation. Try to compose some spectacular viewpoints, where they cannot help taking good photographs, which the
best journals will yearn to publish.
Animals will always make up the largest group of site users. Please think about them, especially when writing specification clauses. How would you like
to be sprayed with herbicides in late spring and early autumn?
Lawyers will hope to see you in court, one day. Please work hard to deny them this pleasure. Negligence suits are much easier to defend if you have not
been negligent. Keeping good records helps, but did you take "all reasonable steps to survey the site and check on the safety aspects of your proposals?
If not, please redouble your professional indemnity insurance cover.
Whoever pays, the Local Community are your true clients for public projects. What should you be doing for the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the energetic
and the disabled? What kinds of drawing do they need? Most probably, they prefer realistic models, cartoon plans and birds eye views to any of the traditional
technical and presentational drawing types. See the webpage on
Types of graphic
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There is always a connection between what you wish to say and how you choose to say it. Children learn the correct tones of voice to distinguish "Please
can I have...?, "I do not like... and "I will not have.... Designers should also learn different ways of addressing various groups of people. "The medium
is the message. So choose your medium with the utmost care. In design and planning, the medium should be at the service of your ideas, never the other
Drawing teachers overemphasize the virtue of individualism. I recommend a close study of other peoples drawings. In due course, a personal style will develop,
as it did for your handwriting. Experience in copying drawings is valuable. Quality matters more than originality. But too many designs are still represented
with ink on tracing paper. Many too many. Try working on coloured paper, on cartridge paper, on wood, on glass, on watercolour paper, on canvas. Use the
medium with which you feel most at home and which is appropriate to the project upon which you are engaged.
Artists often settle on a few media that suit their approach, though these may change during their lives. Goya started with brush drawings and later used
black chalk; Durer used a silver point, which tarnished to a darker tone; Munch did woodcuts on planks; Degas changed from paint and pencil to charcoal
and pastel; Matisse cut into coloured paper; Picasso used many techniques, including cut newsprint; Braque used sand, cork and tobacco; Gaugin used oiled
charcoal; Klee could mix ink, wax, watercolour, pastel and paint in one drawing; Gris used wallpaper. Commercial artists need to be familiar with a range
of different media. An art store cannot measure your ideas, as a tailor measures your waist, and sell you something that fits your needs exactly. So you
must experiment. It may take years to find what suits both you and the type of work you undertake.
Traditionally, designers communicate with three different groups of people. Students engaged on projects should learn to produce drawings for the same three
Fellow professionals. Design team members will be able to understand all types of drawing, but they are most interested in ideas and principles. Accepting
that the pen is mightier than the sword, they hope that the idea can be mightier still. Conceptual diagrams, plans and models have a special appeal to
designers. If you do not bring appropriate drawings to a design team meeting, or studio jury, or exam board, expect to be treated as a singer without a
Clients. They are, of course, the people who matter. Although they are wickedly unrepresented in design studios and design offices, they are the ultimate
judges of each and every scheme. Some, finding plans incomprehensible, need realistic pictures of proposals. Others, lacking visual imagination, need spoken
descriptions. Others again are better at reading than at listening: they need verbal presentations. Yet others, bless them, have a keen interest in ideas
and drawings. Designers must learn to provide clients with all these types of information. Students must learn to draw, speak and write about their ideas.
Builders. They need clear instructions, conveyed with simple unambiguous drawings and precisely written specification clauses. Some designers will look
for a creative input from builders. Others will insist on exact conformity with drawings. Tolerances and methods of working have to be specified, and the
requisite technical information has to be provided. This will include setting-out dimensions, levels, ground preparation, choice of materials, fixings
and fastenings. There are many conventions for technical drawings, and governments like to publish standards. Where possible, they should be used. Just
think what would happen if composers all used their own musical notation.
Increasingly, designers also need to communicate with pressure groups and lobby groups. These tend to be single-purpose organizations, interested in nothing
but their own objectives. You should learn the skill of producing such drawings. For example, bird plans should be produced for ornithological societies.
Dont trouble them with aesthetics.
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The need to respond to local context is one of the great differences between landscape design and many other types of design (books, cars, refrigerators
etc). But it does not follow that a landscape design should be similar to its context. On different occasions a good case can be made for each or the three
logical alternatives, or they can be used in combination:
If the objective is Identity, the survey--analysis--design (SAD) method is likely to be appropriate, and the starting point is likely to be the natural
and human patterns that exist on site.
If the objective is Similarity, the designer must keep a balance between natural, human, aesthetic and archetypal patterns.
If the objective is Difference, the design process is likely to start with archetypal or aesthetic patterns.
Part of the landscape architects professional skill lies in analysing the essence of a locality and then making an appropriate design response.
Garden designers should also have this skill. Gardens made in different types of place should respond to the owners and designers Sense of Place.
Method of implementation
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Projects can be implemented in different ways:
A sequence of contracts over a long period of time.
When this method is used, and an overall unity is required, it is necessary to establish firm design principles at the outset. Normally, the skills of a
hunter-designer will be required for this task.
A single contract.
This is the traditional way of producing a building. It requires a balance between the approaches of the hunter and the nester.
A series of on-site decisions, without a written or drawn contract.
This is the way of the nester, and requires the skills of a craftsperson.
Metaphor and symbol
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"Art for arts sake is one definition of fine art. This can include land art, environmental art, site-related sculpture and other arts that border on landscape
design. But landscape design itself is an applied art, not a fine art. It aims to make places that are, in the ancient rubric, "both useful and beautiful,
taking account of functional, aesthetic and natural patterns. If you make a place that is beautiful but not useful, you are working as a fine artist. If
you make a place that is "neither of use nor ornament, as one of my colleagues grandmothers used to say, you are wasting time. I love art, but we have
come together in a design school, not an art school.
Artists have long been interested in metaphor and symbol. They can be devices of great power, emotional, artistic and psychological. But if your design
is only a metaphor or symbol, it may be a great work of art, but it will not be a landscape design. One of our critics describes symbols as "pegs on which
to hang schemes. This principle also applies to poems, stories, games, music, decorative patterns or anything else you choose to hang your schemes upon.
Dont let them become hangmens ropes. Since the Renaissance, most churches have been based on a plan of the cross, but imagine if a church designer came
up with a cruciform design for a solid glass structure. It could be the most wonderful thing on earth, but it would not satisfy a client who wanted a place
of shelter to accommodate an organ, a vestry and a congregation.
The practical consequence of the above point is that you cannot justify a landscape design as an interpretation of the Rolling Stones latest hit, Mahlers
Fourth Symphony, Kandinskys Sketch 1 for "Composition VII, or even T.S. Eliots Fourth Quartet. Believe me, if I had not listened to students attempting
these tasks, I would not be making this point. Works of fine art add layers of interest to a scheme. They can guide a composition and they can entrance
visitors, but they cannot, on their own, be landscape designs. Sorry, but thats it.
Existing site & concept drawings
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Garden and landscape design ideas are about the relationship between an existing place and a changed place. It is therefore necessary to define and appraise
the existing place before formulating ideas (concepts) for change. The concepts can be of several types: landform, landuse, spatial, circulation, materials
Existing site drawing
An artist can always start with a new canvas, a writer with a new sheet of paper. Landscape design is different. Inevitably, you start with an area of land
that has a unique character, which has been used before and which will be used again. Your landscape design is just a small step in a sequence of change
spread over an infinite period of time. Anyone who views your scheme, especially a client, will require a representation of the existing site. A good way
do to this is with a traditionally coloured drawing: blue for water, light green for grass, dark green for trees, layered colours for slopes, red for housing,
purple for industry and so forth. You might as well follow the colouring conventions of published maps. Alternatively, you can produce a plan "at the same
scale and coloured in the same manner as your main design plan. This will let clients and critics check the extent to which you have followed the Single
Agreed Law of Landscape Design: "Consult the genius of the place.
The purpose of this drawing is to define what is good about a site, what is not so good, and what is bad. Christopher Alexander describes them as "diagnostic
plans (Alexander, 1975). One attraction of the word "diagnostic is that it draws an analogy between the health of a place and the health of a body. Instead
of speaking personally ("I like it) Alexander believes that appraisals should be done in relation to specific patterns (e.g. positive open space). He
says you should colour the good part of the site red, the medium bits orange and the poor bits yellow. Then you should develop the yellow bits before developing
the red bits.
Whether or not you find Alexanders method helpful, you will find it difficult to proceed with a design until you have made an evaluation of its existing
characteristics and opportunities. Planners often talk of SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). The eternal sense behind this
approach is that good and bad are fundamental categories of human thought. It also reminds one that site characteristics can be strengths or weaknesses
only from defined points of view. The presence of rock is a strength for the foundation engineer and a weakness for the farmer.
This type of drawing was an old favourite of the landscape and planning professions (Figure 5). Drawings used to have big arrows for access points, phalanx
of arrows to show prevailing winds, clock arrows for views, zig-zag lines for noise, etc. I do not think they were very useful drawings and I was completely
put off them when I heard a client describe them as "tank battle plans. One must beware of analysis-paralysis while remembering that the process of analysis
is central to design, now and always. I think it is best carried out by means of single-topic diagrams, existing and proposed, as discussed below.
[FIG 14.5 ]
People often ask me "What is a concept sheet?, especially, and reasonably, because I am always demanding them. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the
Concept n idea of a class of objects; general notion; invention. [f.LL conceptus f. concept- (see conceive)
A concept drawing therefore shows what you have invented or conceived, usually in diagrammatic form. It embodies a simplified version of the general idea
that lies embedded in your plan. There are several different kinds of concept drawing, and I think it is better to do small diagrams for as many of them
as are necessary, instead of one large drawing for them all. Some of the main types of concept drawing are described below, but you may need other types
(e.g. ecological concept, hydrological concept, colour concept, planting concept) to bring out the essential characteristics of your scheme.
Drawing inspiration from the London Underground map, this sheet ought to reveal whatever is important about the circulation. This may include some or all
of: access points, vehicular routes, pedestrian routes, cycle routes, bridleways, modal segregation, etc. Where appropriate, the circulation concept should
show proposed routes as an addition to existing routes.
Separate diagrams are required for existing and proposed (Figure 6). They should show everything below eye level (paving, grass, herbaceous plants, seats
etc.) as white and everything above eye level as black (opaque vegetation, buildings, fences etc.). Trees should be shown in a special way if you can see
underneath them; there is a great spatial difference between trees with clear stems and trees with branches or shrubs at eye level. Sylvia Crowes practice
was to put cross-hatching on vegetation that made a visual screen. You might like to do separate diagrams for screening from sitting and standing positions.
These diagrams show the boundaries of space. They can be described as mass and space drawings or solid and void drawings. The Nolli plan of Rome is a famous
[FIG 14.6 ]
This is self-explanatory. It shows an idea for the landform, as distinct from the landform itself. Separate diagrams may be necessary for existing and proposed.
For an afforestation scheme, the "existing drawing might show a major ridge, three minor ridges, a hill and a valley. The "proposed drawing might show
tree belts to reinforce the major ridge and some clearance to open up the valley.
Land use concept
This will show land uses (housing, industry, recreation etc.). Separate diagrams may be necessary for existing and proposed. Although usage is one of the
fundamental ways in which we think about land, the record of town planners and designers in determining land use is inglorious. Where they have succeeded,
monocultural expanses of housing and industry have resulted. More often, they have succeeded only in producing neatly coloured or shaded maps.
This can be thought of as a diagrammatic version of the master plan. I think it is a very good idea to produce a "postcard plan, which may be defined as:
"a 100 @x 150@tmm plan, simply drawn and coloured in such an attractive manner that it could serve as a birthday card for your grandmother. It should
also show the key idea behind your scheme. If you are having difficulties with composition, it is often much easier to resolve them at the postcard scale.
One can produce ten alternative plans, rapidly, and show them to people to invite comments.
One can design a chair either before or after selecting the materials. But one cannot make a chair until decisions have been taken about the design and
the materials. Similarly with landscape work, the choice of materials is usually intrinsic to the design. Begin with a collage of materials and colours
collected from the existing site (Figure 7). Then put together a "materials concept by assembling illustrations (or samples) of the materials that you
intend to use. Display them with your design drawings.
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An interesting characteristic of outdoor design, which I have noted in listening to designers explanations, hearing critics comments, and reading planning
reports, is the use that is made of other places that the designer or critic has knowledge of. Bits of places are brought together in the designers mind
and assembled to make new places. It is a collage approach. As this is happening, it makes very good sense to assemble an "image sheet displaying visual
images of the places that the designer has in mind. One can then go further and put lines round parts of the plan to link them to the visual image (e.g.
a photograph from a magazine) that shows the kind of place one is seeking to make (Figure 8). Where no suitable images can be found, it is necessary to
sketch. You may think sketching is morally superior, but marketing folk will tell you that photographs have a better response rate than drawings. They
are more believable.
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This is one of the most underused techniques of landscape design. I cannot imagine why. Montage and digital image adjustments are fascinating to look at
and fun to produce. They are composite images, made by compiling several images of the same media type (montage means mounted). Montage can be used
in several ways:
1. You could assemble images to create a visualization of the concept. I have seen a wonderful montage of a park in a quarry, made entirely out of cut-outs
from colour supplements. The men were handsome and the girls beautiful.
2. You could take a panoramic photograph of the existing site and draw the design onto it. This technique has been highly developed by Britains Forestry
Commission (Lucas, 1991). Once the panorama has been drawn, you can work backwards to the plan. Repton would rather you produced the design on site: "the
design should not only be produced for the spot, it should be produced on the spot. Photographs are a substitute.
3. Take a panoramic photograph from a point you can identify on a plan (using a tripod, please, with the camera set to manual exposure). Then use the computer
to generate a perspective of your proposals, seen from exactly the spot from which your panorama was taken. Then superimpose the computer perspective onto
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As a design medium, collage has significant conceptual implications. It compares with photomontage but generally works in plan. The word collage comes
from the verb to glue and is associated with the asssmbly of different types of material (newsprint, fabrics, photographs etc) by Braque and Picasso.
The placing of patch upon patch implies a build-up of layers. They can be chronological, biological, territorial, functional or something else. Natural
landscape often has a collage aspect: water meets land; mountain meets plain; forest meets savannah; oasis meets desert. Town maps have some of these conjugations
and others that relate to the functional patterns of human settlements: nineteenth century housing meets twentieth century housing; industry meets housing;
housing meets school. As land has always developed in this way, there is much to be said for a design approach that employs collage instead of pen-drawing.
Colin Rowe argued along these lines in Collage City (Rowe, 1978). The book has inspiring illustrations but the text is impenetrable.
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Too much landscape design is done with plans. Much too much. I wish more schemes began with models. They are closer to real places than drawings. Models
can be made with clay, sand and steel, netting and plaster, wood, polystyrene, card, balsa, earth, anything.
Dont expect to keep the models you make. They may just survive until the client presentation (or the design jury). When you have a photographic record
of them, models can be ceremonially destroyed. Presentation models have their uses, but it is a great pity to think of model-making primarily as a presentation
Surface water design
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Taking further issue with those who see knowledge of plants as the central defining feature of landscape design, I like to emphasize the importance of surface
water design. Granted, life on earth would be impossible without plants, but plant growth is not possible without fresh water. So water comes first. Those
who live in arid countries know that water must be used as many times as possible before it returns from whence it came. Inhabitants of humid countries
habitually squander their watery wealth. It would be no bad thing if the public came to think of landscape architects as people with expertise in the organization
of landform and water.
When I was a student, the only aspect of surface water management that we learned was "drainage. Those cultural theorists who now debate the place of rationality
in public policy may be interested to learn that we were taught the Rational Method. It began with rainfall tables and indices of soil permeability (see
Essay 10). This gave a measure of what quantity of water would have to be accommodated in drains at certain time intervals ("the five-year storm). After
that, all we had to do was size the drains and position the gulleys. This approach should now be renamed: the Irrational Method. Today, we aim to detain,
infiltrate and evaporate rainwater before it ever gets near a drain. This approach is more sustainable. When designing outdoor space, please keep asking
yourself "Is this paving really necessary? If the answer is affirmative, ask the supplementary question: "Can the paving be porous? In Paris, most of
the footpaths in most of the parks are absorbent. In London, they are waterproof. The explanation, perhaps, lies with the French conception of rationality.
"All outdoor surfaces must be laid to falls. The way to learn about falls is to look at every hard surface your eye lights upon and discover what happens
to the rain that falls upon it. This is easiest in wet weather. It is a very interesting subject, but take care not to walk into lampposts when exercising
your new hobby.
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I am often asked "What is a planting strategy? A planting plan merely shows the location of proposed planting. A planting strategy explains the reasoning
behind the design decisions (Figure 10). It is a hybrid pattern diagram, to roll out when your clients, critics or examiners, say "Please tell me more
about the planting. There are aesthetic, technical and management dimensions to their request. They will probably want answers to the following questions:
What do you wish to achieve?
Planting design aims at a combination of spatial, textural, ecological, climatic, functional and symbolic objectives. Typical labels on planting strategy
drawings are: enclosure planting; garden planting; shelter planting; screen planting; existing oakwood; proposed oakwood; existing marsh; proposed marsh.
Parker and Bryan give the following management objectives: pleasant views; screening or shelter; nature conservation; horticultural excellence; botanical
variety; education; sport and recreation; job creation. The particular species will be listed on a planting plan. The planting strategy and management
plan should group them and give examples of the dominant species (e.g. shrub roses; oak--birch woodland).
How do you intend to achieve the objectives?
What ground preparation will be necessary? What species will be used? What size and type of stock will be used? Technical accounts of how planting objectives
will be obtained should include information on soil treatment; plant species; type and size of plant material. An oakwood, for example, might be established
by erecting a fence to keep out grazing animals, by sowing acorns, by planting one-year-old seedlings or by planting young trees. The soil may be kept
in its existing condition, ameliorated physically or ameliorated chemically. Or it may be necessary to import new topsoil. These are all design considerations
of considerable importance. Do you recommend whips? 2+1 transplants? Feathered standards? Full standards? Extra heavy nursery stock? Container-grown shrubs?
Direct seeding? Turf implantation? Topsoiling? Pit planting? Notch planting? Shrub bed preparation? Cultivation? Soil improvement? Consult price books
and specification books for clauses and prices.
How will the planting change in time?
Clients like to know what a place will look like immediately after planting has taken place and then what it will look like after, say, 5 years, 15 years
and 30 years. Sketches and diagrammatic cross-sections are helpful. When will the canopy close? When will it be above eye level? Will there be field layers
and shrub layers under the tree canopy? When will re-planting be necessary? An axonometric drawing, from which individual plants could be recognized, is
a very good way of conveying the design information. A French computer programme, Amap, produces growth models of plants.
What management operations are you committing the client to?
Fencing a grass sward and then waiting 50 years, for an oakwood to regenerate, is an inexpensive maintenance operation. Fencing another area of ground,
maintaining it free of weeds and irrigating the young oak trees in dry weather, is far more expensive, year after year after year. Clients need to know
which sequence of operations you are committing them to. So do your examiners. Will a small ride-on mower be required? Are the banks so steep they will
require a hover-mower or strimmer? Will the maintenance operatives need degrees in botany?
One way of producing a planting strategy is to take a print of the layout plan, apply textures to different types of area, and produce a key with the textures
down the left-hand column and headings, possibly drawn from the above questions, at the heads of the other columns. Then fill in the boxes. Another technique
is to use annotated transects. A good reference for the landscape management is John Parker and Peter Bryan Landscape Management and Maintenance (Parker
and Bryan, 1989). There are useful tables in Ralph Cobham (ed.) Amenity Landscape Management (Cobham, 1990). In future, landscape architects will have
to supply their clients with planting and management information on a GIS-type spatial database.
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In construction, as always, there is an important distinction between the design drawing and the builders drawing. The design drawing should show how things
fit together and what the completed work will look like. An axonometric drawing that "descends into a cross-section is a very simple way of conveying
this information. Examiners are unsurprisingly unimpressed, and unutterably bored, by the ability to copy construction details out of books or filch them
from a computer library. This would not matter, but for the fact that standard details produce standard places. I would be sorry if the streets of London
and Paris came to resemble those of California because that is where the computer-aided design software was written.
Here are five ways of learning about construction design.
1. Looking at built examples of good design.
2. Building things yourself.
3. Talking to craftsmen and watch them work.
3. Reading books on construction design.
4. Studying trade catalogues.
5. Listening to lectures on construction.
If, after doing all these things, you still find your knowledge of the subject woefully inadequate, do not be disheartened. It is impossible for students
of architecture and landscape design to learn all, or even much, about construction. At best, you can learn some principles and some examples of specific
techniques. On most construction jobs, it is necessary to read books and speak to manufacturers and, if you cannot learn to do the work yourself, to speak
to people who have practical experience of the techniques. This is the crucial skill.
the definition of master plan
suggests that the term is most commonly used in planning to mean an overall development concept but I think the term comes from engineering. Naval architects,
for example, need to produce drawings for each component and then an assembly drawing, or master plan, to show how all the components fit together. Used
in this way, landscape archtects also produce master plans, to show how the component drawings produced by the engineers and architects on a large project
fit together. But there are problems with the term:
A master plan implies the existence of a Master. Fellow professionals may dispute this role and, in our pluralistic age, clients may not wish to appoint
Landscape and garden design are subject to natural processes (which cannot be mastered) and have no single end-state in view.
Karl Popper raised profound objections to the whole notion of idealistic blueprint planning and persuaded many people that piecemeal change produces better
Christopher Alexander observed that master plans are incomplete for the first 25 years and obsolete thereafter
The term Vision Plan implies that the plan is no more than a vision for the future. It has the drawback that visionary is often used to mean unrealistically
This term takes some of its current meaning from the concept cars produced by automobile manufacturers to explain their idea of what they might make at
some point in the future.
If it could command public acceptance, this would be the best term. But its use rests on acceptance of the word landscape to mean a good place or, as
Tom Turner would put it a place where there is
between the people and the place.
The humility of piecemeal planning is attractive. But so is Daniel Burnhams advice: Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir mens blood and
probably themselves will not be realized, make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never
die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going
to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Evidently, Burnham had no hopes for his, or our, daughters and
Design by layers
If one accepts that design is a multi-layered procedure than the idea of Single Master Plan slips into the dust of history.
Design Guide for students of landscape and garden design
There was a single Master Plan for the Titanic - a bad precedent (Thomas Andrews was the designer - and went down with the ship).
The hands of the Master Planner
A concept car represents a possible future
Explaining a project
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Design organizations live and die by their ability to persuade clients to adopt recommended courses of action, as do non-governmental planning offices.
Explaining your scheme to a college jury is a similar activity. In both cases you have to convince your listeners that you have done a good job and are
recommending a sensible course of action, which makes good use of scarce resources that have alternative uses.
The boy scouts were right: "Be prepared. Preparing what to say is an intrinsic aspect of generating a scheme. As initial decisions are usually about what
sorts of place to make, express them in words and write them down, instead of just drawing. The words could express qualities, like peace, mystery and
adventure. Or they might describe character areas: "market square, "busy social space, "abstract visual space, "quiet retreat, "lush oasis, "outdoor
living room, "cottage garden. Adopt the same procedure as you subdivide the spaces: "swamp garden, "fountain court, "bamboo glade, "sheltered haven,
"rose walk. The labels will keep changing, and of course you should be inventing new types of space. But it must be possible to put the objectives into
words: shapes are never sufficient for clients and I doubt if they are sufficient for you either. Instead of producing traditional labelled plans, try
making typographic compositions with words. A word plan can be a superb starting point for a design project
Remember those plans your English and History teachers used to require. They are exactly what you need to coordinate the story-line for a set of drawings
into a beginning, a middle and an end. In the beginning, "say what you are going to say. In the middle, "say it. At the end, "say what you have said.
Here is an example:
Beginning: "I was asked to design a beach park.
Middle: "As mineral extraction has wrecked the place, we will have to heal the soil [point to the edaphic plan], the water system [point to the hydrological
plan] and the vegetation [point to the habitat creation plan]. This can be done on the pattern of a sand dune ecosystem, with both exposed and sheltered
places [point to the cross-sections and the earthmoving plans]. I think of it as a net and sail.
End: "This perspective is done from the proposed arrival point. It shows the beach and the car park, which are the two main features, linked by a path,
which runs through new habitats.
Producing the best drawings for a project is more like producing a childrens storybook than you might imagine. However deep the ramifications of your plans
and designs, the story itself should be sweetly simple:
Beginning: "The place is like this...
Middle: "It should change because...
End: "When the works are complete the place will be like this...
Once the story plan has been written, it will be easy to judge what drawings you require to illustrate the scheme. Without the story, you may produce a
few good pictures but you are most unlikely to produce a project of the type that makes clients reach for their credit cards.
Your English teacher may have asked you to prepare numbered points for an essay, or prompt cards for a speech. It is no bad thing to do likewise for design
presentations but, as you can see from the above examples, it is really better if the drawings themselves function as your prompt cards. Please dont read
from notes, ever.
Remember all the traditional principles of public speaking:
Maintain eye contact with those you are addressing: talk to the people, not to the drawings, the floor, the window, or the fire escape.
Vary your tone of voice and volume, to keep your listeners awake.
Emphasize the most important points with gestures and dramatic pauses.
When it comes to questions and comment, do not shout, do not abuse your listeners and do not threaten physical violence. If listeners do not understand
the scheme, thats your problem. If they do not like your scheme, console yourself that "you cant please all the people all of the time. If they have
any useful suggestions, listen carefully and make notes. If you have made a mistake, admit it. If the worst comes to the worst, use bromide: "Thats an
interesting point -- thank you for raising it.
Warning: Colouring can damage your plans!
Carefully thought-out well-drawn plans can be damaged, easily, by over-hasty and thoughtless colouring. Five minutes with a felt-tip pen can obliterate
five days work with a technical pen. Colours should be used to enhance the "message or a plan, not just for prettification.
Before reaching for your colour box, stand back and look at the plan, again, from a distance. Try asking yourself the following questions:
Who is this drawing aimed at?
What point should it persuade them of?
What information should it convey?
Depending upon the answers to these questions, you can use colours to achieve some or all of the following:
to bring out the proposed character of the whole place;
to give subsidiary spaces more definition;
to clarify the circulation pattern, pedestrian and vehicular;
to emphasize the landform;
to define the proposed habitat pattern;
to emphasize the planting design;
to show the surface water management proposals;
to explain the materials concept.
With presentation drawings, it is often best not to apply any colour until the end of the drawing-up period. Try to leave a few days for the purpose, and
do not begin colouring until you have assigned a role to each drawing. Then remember:
Always do a sample area before starting on the main drawing.
It is better to have too little colour than too much colour.
An overall colour scheme for a set of drawings can have a powerful effect (e.g. cool colours; warm colours; spring colours; autumn colours; vibrant colours;
jungle colours; pastel colours).
Alternatively you can use different-but-related colour schemes for different sections of the project. Interior design books may give you some ideas.
You can also use colour symbolically to represent the character of space (see Essay 16), or anything else you wish to symbolize.
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Public speaking can be intimidating - if you are not well prepared (with words and drawings).
A word plan - using words to summarize the character of the places which have been designed.
Seven principles for garden and landscape design
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Design, like most activities, has principles which can be ignored - at your peril.
1. "Consult the Genius of the Place is the first law of landscape planning and design. She helps those who work on site, gets cross with those who deny
her existence, and has some views on style. In areas of high landscape quality, whether urban or rural, she often prefers a conservation approach, which
makes new development similar to its surroundings. In areas of low landscape quality, she usually prefers an innovative approach, which creates a contrast
between new development and its surroundings.
2. Planners and designers should make places that are good from as many points of view as possible: social, functional, artistic, spiritual, economic, hydrological,
ecological, climatological, and others too. Use can be combined with beauty, pleasure with profit, work with contemplation. The garden can be the planners
crucible. Do not allow the specialist to grab even one petal from the six-lobed flower of life.
3. Work with your clients. But remember that plans and designs have many clients with divergent interests: those who pay your fees; users; builders; the
wider community; the natural world. Landscape planners and designers must look beyond the narrow technical limits and tight geographical boundaries that
constrain most of the built environment professions.
4. Precede good design with good planning. To work otherwise is to design castles upon sand. Sometimes, good planning occurs by accident. More often, it
takes longer than design.
5. Design space before mass. Buildings, trees, shrubs, walls and mounds are mere packaging. They contain space.
6. Use materials of only the best quality. They may be the cheapest materials. Water, grass and water-washed gravel, for example, are of the first quality.
Precast concrete slabs are a third-rate material. Sometimes, however, money must be spent with generosity. At the end of a long career, Thomas Mawson reflected
that clients always appreciate quality and soon forget expense. If you try to save them money, they forget what you have done and always resent the inferior
7. Learn from the work of painters, sculptors, architects, poets, musicians, philosophers, novelists and others. These interests can come together in what
Jellicoe has suggested may be the most comprehensive of the arts. The principles of art and design are wide and deep.
For the above principles, thanks are due to: Alexander Pope, Humphry Repton, Patrick Geddes, Paul Klee, Christopher Tunnard, Arnold Weddle, Siegfried Gideon
and Geoffrey Jellicoe.
Twelve things to try if you get stuck with a design
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Getting stuck is a very common experience for the designer. It can be distressing, frustrating and depressing too. When it happens, the worst course of
action is to sit worrying at the same sheet of ever-messier paper. Here are a few alternative courses of action:
1. Turn the plan upside down, pin it to the wall and look at it from the back of the room. This famous technique helps you to see the design in abstract
terms. You might also apply bright colours, and convert the plan to a poster, for the same purpose.
2. Switch to a different drawing. If you have been worrying a 1:500 marker pen plan, the different drawing could be: neater; messier; more coloured; more
diagrammatic; at a different scale; a cross-section; an axonometric; a perspective; a word plan; a painting; a soft-pencil drawing; a hard-pencil drawing;
a computer drawing; an image sheet. Alternating between drawing types (e.g. soft pencil and hard pencil) is very productive. Soft pencils are more liberating
than hard pencils; graphite sticks and graphite lumps set you freer still.
3. Use light upon dark. If you want a really fresh approach, draw with light on dark: white chalk on black paper or yellow ochre on brown paper. Draw the
spaces you wish to create before thinking about the enclosing elements. As space is void, it is better represented by light on dark. On a white background,
the water-colourist needs to decide where the highlights go first; the oil-colourist puts the highlights in last; spatial design is more like water-colour
painting. Wax-resist can also be used to draw highlights onto white paper.
4. Use process instead of product. Natural landscapes are created by interactions between the forces of nature. These processes can be simulated with smoke,
sand, water, bubbles, frost and such like. Take photographs of the simulations. Put them to work.
5. Start from a different base. Most of us design on a published map base. These maps were always made for a special purpose, not a general purpose. If
your site is vegetated, try designing on a landscape ecology map, showing habitat patterns, soil patterns, hydrology patterns and relief patterns. Or design
on aerial photographs, instead of plans. Computers have the potential to churn out different base maps for different purposes.
6. Stop drawing and make a model. It needs to be a design model, of course, rather than a presentation model, but models can release you from the stultifying
constraints of the "design-by-drawing procedure. Computer models can be the stuff of dreams.
7. Take Reptons advice. He advised that "The plan should be made not only to fit the spot, it ought actually to be made upon the spot. This is splendid
advice. Obtain an A4 version of your base plan, take it to the site and stay there until you have good ideas. If you had some ideas before reaching the
site, try pacing them out on the ground. If you arrived with a plan but no sketches, do sketches on site. In the best Reptonian tradition, you should overlay
a sketch of the existing site with a "flap showing your proposals (Figure 12). The studio equivalent of this procedure is designing on tracing paper over
elevational photographs, or on a photograph that has been scanned into a computer.
8. Take Jellicoes advice. When having difficulty with a design, he often sat thinking about it while looking through books of paintings, or even when watching
television. Visual images help in making unexpected connections. Amongst Jellicoes favourites are Klee, Kandinsky and Nicholson. They need not be your
9. Take Mies van der Rohes advice. He observed that "God is in the details. To find your schemes God, set the plan to one side and switch to working
on the details. Plant one good detail, as you would a seed. Help it to grow into a full-blown design.
10. Postcarding. A full-size design plan takes so long to draw that one can easily lose sight of the principles. Try working at postcard size instead (Figure
13). This helps you to be conceptual and diagrammatic. When a design problem has been reduced to its fundamentals, you can produce twelve alternatives
in no time at all. Then use the following method to help in choosing between them.
11. Assemble a brainstorming group. Invite some friends; sit them round a table; invite quick-fire comments; record what is said; think about it later.
As landscape design is a public art, it is of extreme importance to obtain other peoples opinions on your ideas. This will not compromise the originality
of your proposals. It is just that people can assist in viewing your scheme from different points of view. If you are working on drawings, opinions will
probably have to come from people who can understand drawings. If you are working with a model, ask anyone and everyone. Molière used to read his plays
to his cleaning lady. Anything she could not understand, he changed.
12. Soothe the mind by soothing the body. Go for a walk, take a bath, go to bed at noon, go for a train journey, swim, do yoga, lie on the floor, or whatever,
while encouraging your mind to keep spinning away at the problem in hand. Design depends on thought. Blank screens, and sheets of paper, are sworn enemies
of the imagination. The biographies of creative artists, it has to be admitted, show limited evidence of their hunt for the muse having been assisted by
an occasional bottle of wine.
Thirteen ways to ruin a project
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1. Remember that only nerds waste time reading studio programmes: always get others to tell you what is required.
2. Wait a few weeks before starting work. Never let tutors see a complete scheme before the final jury: it only gives them time to prepare gratuitous insults.
3. In the studio, draw as little as possible, look helpless, and wait for the tutors to do a design for you. Remember: thats what theyre paid for.
4. Try to complete the design before looking at the existing site or a relief map. Too much information confuses the mind.
5. Be a perfectionist: do not draw a single line until you are quite certain what to draw. Avoid wasting paper, and never use soft pencils.
6. On presentation drawings, use primary colours to distract critics attention from minor points. Avoid scales, north points, cross-sections and contours
at all costs: information can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
7. Keep your nose close to the drawing-board and be careful never to view your design from a distance. It can be alarming.
8. Leave all presentation work to the last minute, so that none of your valuable time is wasted and other students cant steal your ideas.
9. Decide to use either a thick black pen or a 0.1 technical pen for drawing up. Using lines of different width is a sign of weakness. If using CAD, also
use your machine to download pirate videos. Then you can use I caught a virus as an excuse.
10. If you must label your drawings, try to use that gay carefree style of writing and spelling that we all remember from our early schooldays. Cartoon
gothic script is very popular with critics.
11. When explaining your scheme, start off with a full and frank apology for the poor standard of your work. This will make the tutors sympathetic.
12. Never pay too much attention to what tutors say -- their criticism is generally based on ignorance, bad taste and envy of your talent. If they seem
puzzled by your designs, keep repeating yourself in ever-louder tones.
13. Always remember that maestro designers dont worry about costs, clients, practicalities, or the minutiae of construction: such details are entirely
beneath the dignity of a creative artist.
Garden and Landscape Design for the 21st Century: a Simple Approach
The Simple Approach aims:
to draw from the wisdom of the ages without being shackled by history
to encourage a response to the site without constraining the designers creativity
to manage the complexity of a multi-factorial design process
to facilitate design discussion with clients and design presentation to clients
to utilize the wealth of knowledge made available by information technology
The acronym PAKILDA summarizes the approach: It is a Pattern-Assisted-Knowledge-Intensive-Landscape-Design-Approach:
Pattern-Assisted: the approach makes use of diagrams to simplify the complexity of the design process
Knowledge-Intensive: the approach draws upon the expert knowledge and skills of artists, scientists, craftworkers, writers etc
Landscape-Design-Approach: the approach is suitable for both garden and landscape designers (the word landscape is used in the acronym because the method
encourages designers to respond to the local landscape in a more considered way than was common in the 20th century).
The Simple Approach was developed through visiting design sites and teaching students of garden and landscape design at the University of Greenwich in London.
The theoretical considerations underliing the approach are explained in three articles, on the
SAD Design Method,
and on the
of Garden Design. The approach has been further simplified and for the Gardenvisit.com website. It is presented as a linear sequence but should be thought
of as iterative (circular): one needs to go through the issues several times.
The approach begins with words because much of our thinking is done with words. We need shelter; That view is wonderful; We should keep that tree
Diagrams should be used in pairs: one to show the existing site and one to show the design idea. Each pair should relate to a specific aspect of interest
and knowledge (water, vegetation, circulation, spatial enclosure, etc). They can be hand-drawn or computer drawn. The reason for using diagrams is simplification.
3-D models should be used to bring together the issues analysed in the diagrams. They can be physical models or computer models. The reason for working
in 3 dimensions is that garden and landscape design sites are also three dimensional. Early models should be produced very quickly, using clay or paper
Plans are a way of specifying design proposals. They are drawn to scale and using conventional means of representation so that the information they supply
is unmistakable. Plans are of less use than models in fostering the creative process and of no use in explaining ideas to clients who are not accustomed
to reading plans.
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The design process is iterative
The designers progression from existing to proposed is more like the flight of a honey bee than a circle.
Ideas are at the heart of the design process.
Diagrams should be used to in pairs to simplify, analyse and explain ideas (this example explains an idea for changing the circulation pattern)
Patterns can be placed in four groups, relating to: (1) the natural world (2) society (3) the fine arts (4) design archetypes (patterns which have been
found to work over a long period of time)
The SAD Design Method vs Pattern Analysis
(This is an edited version of an an article by Tom Turner which appeared in Landscape Design October 1991)
The classical twentieth century approach to landscape design has been Survey-Analysis- Design (SAD). It has been elevated to the status of a design methodology
and cruelly overworked. The resultant places lacked clarity of intention. Too often, they were a muddy compromise between innovation and conservation.
The SAD method produced sad results. It should be put out to grass like a pool old tired horse.
In the late unlamented days of the Landscape Institute Part 3 Design Set Piece Examination, it was scarcely possible to succeed without adopting a SAD approach.
Examiners were issued with pre-printed mark sheets. Boxes assigned percentages to
‘Survey’, ‘Analysis’ and ‘Design’. Students felt compelled to use what became known as the ‘Three Sheet Method’, or the supercharged ‘Five Sheet Variant’
(with two additional sheets, named ‘Appraisal’ and ‘Concept’).
This article, which arises from work at University of Greenwich (then Thames Polytechnic), puts forward one of
the alternatives to the SAD method. Since the Diploma with Honours Course was re-planned in 1990, half of the time has been given to landscape planning,
in the belief that a lack of good landscape planning in the UK is the crucial obstacle to better landscape design. Work with the European Education Exchange
(ELEE) programme indicates that the dominance of the SAD method is primarily in the Anglo- Saxon countries.
I spoke to an artist last year who had employed a landscape architect to design a garden. The client felt alarmed and threatened by an ‘analysis drawing’
which, he said, had arrows stabbing into the garden from different directions, ‘like a co-ordinated panzer attack’. The conversation reminded me of some
diagrams which I once prepared (c 1980) to illustrate the SAD method (Fig 1). I guess that:
the origins of the SAD method lie in eighteenth century England.
the SAD method reached the present day profession via twentieth century Scotland, through the work of Patrick Geddes and Ian McHarg.
The chief flaw in the SAD method is the endeavour to derive values from facts. This is scientific determinism with totalitarian implications. Any person
or machine using deterministic methods ‘should’ reach the same conclusion. Ian McHarg, the leading landscape planner of the l970s, specifically stated
that when using his Ecological
Method: ‘any man, assembling the same evidence, would come to the same conclusion”. To escape the inherent determinism of the method, some proponents allowed
a ‘creative leap’ between Analysis and Design, but the circumstances were not propitious. As Peter Youngman often noted at Thames, ‘a great lion of a survey
leads to a little mouse of a design’. This is not to criticise the single agreen law of landscape design: ‘consult the genius of the place’; surveys must
The leading planning theorist of the 1970s (J Brian McLouglin) summarised the SAD method as follows, with regard to planning and to Patrick Geddes: ‘His
message was very clearly stated in the now-famous cycle of ‘survey, analysis and plan’. The approach revolved around simultaneous awareness, or ‘synoptic
vision’ of ‘Place, Work and Folk’. His influence has been extremely powerful both for good and ill. The great benefit of the Geddesian heritage is a very
healthy concern for his principle of diagnosis before treatment, understanding before action. But on the debit side, misunderstanding and unimaginative
interpretation of his message has led to a tendency towards collecting information for its own sake... Worst of all, many plans seem to bear little if
any relationship to these great catalogues of information; it is almost as if survey or information-collecting was a kind of ritual behaviour, an appeasement
of some planning god to ensure his blessing on the plan itself.’ Geddes, it should be remembered, was the first British citizen to describe himself as
a ‘landscape architect’, in 1904.
One alternative to the SAD method, with which the Diploma students experimented in the 1990-91 session, is inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander.
The Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language arrived in the library some 12 years ago. I re-read them in 1986, when writing a book on Landscape
Planning, and noticed that they had hardly been borrowed. But in the last two years the Pattern Language has become the most sought after book in the library,
by architects, landscape architects and surveyors alike. I do not think the recommendation has come from staff.
When a child opens its eyes for the first time, a bewildering array of sensory data comes to view. Pattern recognition was vital to man’s success as a hunter.
As the child grows, it learns to recognise different kinds of pattern: food, mother, house, friend, heat, fear, work, play, speed, and so forth. The child
then learns a language to describe the patterns. Some pans of the language depend on words, others on gestures and actions —a raised hand, a kiss, or a
certain sitting position. ‘Leaving home’ implies entering into a new web of physical and social patterns.
If that child becomes a landscape designer, he or she must learn how places are made, what makes them ‘good’ or ‘bad’, from various standpoints, and how
they may be changed. All this requires knowledge of new patterns and of a new language with which to handle them. The language is more than words. It embraces
actions, habits, models, numbers, diagrams and drawings. They are used to describe complex processes: erosion, growth, transport, energy, diversity, security,
enclosure, circulation, proportion, texture and grain. Some parts of the language will be shared with the general population. Others will be unique to
planners and landscape designers; others to the individual. In talking of landscape design, many general ideas can be described as patterns. The word provides
a common currency to exchange the different ways of analysing places.
We can speak of Crowe Patterns, Alexander Patterns, Day Patterns and others too (Fig 2).
In Alexander’s usage, a ‘pattern’ is an archetype for a special kind of good place.
In Crowe’s usage, it is a physical or biological pattern which results from the evolutionary forces which have created the landscape. She explains in The
Pattern of Landscape that she ‘tried to trace the links between the physical functioning of the earth’s surface and the response it evokes from men”.
In Day’s usage, pattern means ornament. He wrote that the artist regards the structure of pattern ‘as a source of inspiration even, which to neglect would
seem to him wasteful of artistic opportunity”.
An Alexander Pattern is a three-part rule, which expresses a relation between a certain context, a problem, and a solution. For example, his Pattern No.
112, ENTRANCE TRANSITION, describes first the context and problem that ‘Buildings, and especially houses, with a graceful transition between the street
and the inside, are more tranquil than those which open directly off the street’, and then the solution that designers should ‘make a transition between
the street and the front door. Bring the path which connects street and entrance through this transition space, and mark it with a change of light, a change
of sound, a change of direction, a change of surface, a change of level, perhaps by gateways which make a change of enclosure, and above all with a change
The approach to landscape planning which derives from the Alexander and Crowe uses of ‘pattern’ proceeds as follows:
analyse the Crowe Patterns which underlie the existing landscape
analyse the Alexander Patterns which could satisfy the requirements of client groups
overlay and integrate the existing and proposed patterns to formulate a landscape plan.
When extending the method into design, ‘pattern’ can also be used, as in Day’s book, to provide a third category of input: geometrical patterns from nature,
the fine arts, decoration, or visual design. ‘Patterns’ can also come from history, theatre, poetry, philosophy and elsewhere. Bernard Tschumi used overlain
geometrical patterns to generate the most innovatory park design of the 1980s: Parc de la Villette. His plan is visually and philosophically dynamic. But
it is shallow: function is made to follow form; the urban ecosystem is disregarded. Architectural theory is deconstructed. Verily, this is architecture
against itself. La Villette is a folly et une folie. Geometrical patterns are an insufficient basis for design.
1. McHarg, I Design with Nature (1971 edn.) p35. Setting its deterministic implications to one side, the McHarg method has undoubted value as a way of relating
2. Turner, T ‘Scottish origins of “Landscape Architecture” Landscape Architecture May 1982.
3. Alexander, C et al. A Pattern Language:
Towns, Buildings, Construction (1977) Alexander, C The Tuneless Way of Building
4. I have argued for ten years that the goal of urban design and landscape planning is to make ‘good places’. See Turner, T Landscape Planning (1987) p2
5. Crowe, S. Mitchell, M The Pattern of Landscape (1988) p7. For ecological patterns see: Forman, RTT Godron, M Landscape Ecology (1986).
6. Day, LF Pattern Design (1903) p3. Day is perhaps not the best citation for this use of ‘pattern’, because of his special concern with repeating patterns,
but it is a delightful book. The author was inspired by natural patterns: ‘The daisies make a pattern on the lawn, the pebbles on the path, the dead leaves
in the lane... the clouds that mottle the blue heavens by day, the stars that diaper their depths by night, all make perpetual pattern’.
Compositional ideas can also come from the fine arts. See: Moore, K ‘Towards creative landscape design’ Landscape Design No. 201, June 1991, pp11-14 and
Tomlinson, D ‘Design in the twentieth century: start with art’ Landscape Architecture May 1982 Vol. 72 No. 3 pp56-59. Arguably, three dimensional patterns
are more important than two dimensional patterns.
Tschumi, B Cinegramme Folie (1987).
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The SAD (Survey-Analysis-Design) design method
An alternative metaphorical design method (drawing by Rob Shakespeare)
Three types of pattern to guide the design process:
Alexander Patterns are archetypes (named after Christopher Alexander)
Crowe Patterns are the patterns found in the natural landscape (named after Dame Sylvia Crowe)
Day Patterns are patterns of the kind produced by artists (named after Day, LFs book on Pattern Design, 1903)
An Alexander Pattern (above)
A Crowe Pattern (above)
A Day Pattern (above)
Design Theory: a Pattern-Assisted-Knowledge-Intensive-Landscape-Design-Approach
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This article by Tom Turner, which has been amended, was published in the May 2001 edition of Landscape Design (#300 pp37-40). It followed a 1991 article
For two centuries the art of landscape design has failed to realize its potential, in Europe and America. A few glorious moments are dispersed in a wasteland
of kitsch, slabs and grass (
To make this point, Peter Walker and Melanie
chose the title Invisible gardens for their survey of American landscape architecture in the twentieth century. With a wondrous natural environment, expert
professionals, brilliant leadership and immense wealth, America junked its urban opportunities. We have a profession which needs to ask ‘What went wrong’
and then ‘How can it be put right?’ In short, my answer is that ‘Modernism caused the problem and a pattern-analysis-knowledge-intensive-approach (PAKILDA)
can put it right’. This proposition will be addressed from the standpoints of art theory, landscape theory, design history and design methods. As
John Dixon Hunt
observes, the problem arose
with his Theory of Forms, argued that universals, like Beauty, Truth, Squareness and Roundness, exist in a world which is ontologically apart from our own
world. Humans see imperfect copies of the perfect Forms after which our world was shaped .
The artist’s task, therefore, is to represent the ideal world, not the transitory scenes of everyday life. Encapsulated in the axiom ‘art should imitate
nature’ this proposition dominates the history of Western art. It influenced Greek, Roman, Christian and Renaissance art. It led to formal gardens and
to the representation of ideal figures and landscapes during the Neoclassical era. When the predominant understanding of ‘nature’ shifted from rationally
perceived ideals to an empirically perceived everyday world, it led to genre painting, romanticism and impressionism. Abstract art, in the twentieth century
was founded on a revived interest in the Platonic Forms and a desire to analyse nature. Cezanne saw his work as ‘doing Poussin entirely from nature’ and
treating nature ‘by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone’. Cubism, Constructivism, Minimalism and Land Art grew from the same rich earth. Postmodernism,
being pluralist, looks for many natures.
When nature was used to mean ‘essence’, the axiom ‘art should imitate nature’ led to the making of geometrical gardens. With the onset of rational and empirical
methods in the first centuries of the modern era (c1400- c1700), ‘nature’ came to mean ‘the everyday world’. The ancient axiom of western art then led
to the design of serpentine and irregular estate layouts. By 1800, under the influence of Repton, Price and Knight, a ‘landscape garden’ had become one
with a transition from a geometrical area near the house, through a serpentine park to an irregular background. Hunt describes these regions as Three Natures.
Classical landscape theory lost its way when a ‘landscape’ became a geographical entity, rather than a goal for the design process. In 1996 I represented
this state of affairs with three stakes driven into the heart of landscape theory (Fig 2).
We need to re-affirm that ‘landscape’, the profession’s keyword, refers to ‘a good outdoor place’. We do not use the word, like geographers, to mean ‘the
end product of shaping processes or agents’. Semantic precision is crucial to the regeneration of landscape theory.
A design theory is a system of ideas explaining how to conduct a design procedure. Landscape theory is concerned with how to design with the five key elements
of outdoor space: landform, buildings, water, vegetation and paving. Vitruvius and Alberti wrote on the subject. Repton became the pre-eminent landscape
theorist writing in English and his most notable successors were Olmsted, Geddes, Jellicoe, McHarg, Spirn and Hough. Let us take an overview of their work.
Repton was mainly involved with country estates but his sons, working with John Nash, transmitted his ideas into what became known as picturesque town planning.
The first great example (Fig 3)
was the ‘processional route’ from St James’s Park via Regent Street and Portland Place to Regent’s Park. At that time Regent’s Park was a green lung and
green belt segment on the edge of London. The description of London’s parks as ‘lungs’ came from Repton’s patron, William Wyndham. William Light admired
the plan and the idea was taken up by Ebenezeer Howard. The biographical links are tenuous but the development of the idea is well-documented.
Repton belonged to the eighteenth century, Olmsted to the nineteenth. Both were small-time farmers with liberal inclinations. Olmsted was an urban Repton.
In conceptual terms, Central Park NY is not far removed from Woburn Abbey and Regent’s Park, though it forms the centerpiece of the most remarkable twentieth
century city. Olmsted used serpentine boulevards (parkways) to link Prospect Park to the sea and went on to design the world-famous Emerald Necklace in
Boston as a major example of picturesque town planning.
has been strangely neglected by landscape theorists. He was: a park designer, the author of a brilliant comment on park planning, the first UK citizen to
use ‘landscape architect’ as a professional title and the most influential planning author of the twentieth century. From a background in evolutionary
biology Geddes developed an approach to landscape planning and design which is encapsulated in the adage ‘Place-Work-Folk’ (Fig 4).
Familiar with the work of Repton and Olmsted, it was Geddes who introduced the full range of geographical considerations into landscape architecture and
town planning. Geddes may also have been responsible, inadvertently, for the Survey-Analysis-Design (SAD) method which dominated landscape design in the
second half of the twentieth century. The method was modernist and technocratic.
In the landscape profession,
McHarg is the chief inheritor of Geddes. The Scots firebrands who dominate modern landscape theory were born on the Highland Line, 50 miles and 60 years
apart. One was the child of a minister. Both were well-suited to the cloth. The origins of McHarg’s overlay method have been traced by Steinitz and include
other landscape planners who, like Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, were inspired by Geddes. McHarg may have been less-imaginative than Geddes but he had greater logical
clarity and better graphics. McHarg inspired Spirn and Hough to apply his environmental vision at the design scale. McHarg also has a key place in the
development of the
Geographical Information Systems
(GIS) which are set to become the landscape profession’s primary software tool (Fig 5).
For landscape architects, the attraction of
McHarg’s overlay procedure
is the way it brings a wide range of scientific knowledge and design considerations into relationship with one another. The overlays are environmental pattern
a disciple of Geddes, wrote of McHarg that ‘It is in this mixture of scientific insight and constructive environmental design, that this book makes its
unique contribution’. Jellicoe was interested in a different type of overlay, which he described as
For the four centuries after 1000 AD, gardens were predominantly the work of monks, nuns and high-born ladies (except in the South of Spain). Gardeners
kept few records and seem to have been uninterested gardens as a works of art. It was an Age of Faith. From 1400 to 1700 renaissance ideals, traceable
to Plato’s Theory of Forms, resulted in what are customarily described as ‘formal gardens’. Since all gardens have form, the term ‘formal’ makes sense
only in relation to Plato’s conceptual theory. The enclosed garden (hortus conclusus) nestled behind protective walls. Baroque gardens reached out and
took advantage of the natural landscape, long before Kent leaped his fence. Many formal gardens were great works of art. Between 1700 and 1800 the landscape
movement produced one unchallenged work of art, many great estates and a profusion of pathetic layouts. Stourhead ranks with the Alhambra, the Villa d’Este,
the Villa Lante, Vaux and Chantilly. Other designers, guided by Repton after 1800, it must be said, wasted their energy on eclectic re-creations in what
Edward Kemp incisively named The Mixed Style. At best, the results were sentimental. European colonization of the Americas permitted, and may have induced,
a break with sentiment. In the work of Burle Marx, Luis Barragan, Thomas Church and Dan Kiley we can savor the fresh spirit of abstract modernism. These
men were artists, though Church is included in this group mainly for his work on the Dewey-Donnell garden at Sonoma with Lawrence Halprin.
Relationships between design philosophy, design achievement and the types of people attracted to outdoor design can be further examined by considering design
methods. They are reviewed chronologically but can be regarded as a set of postmodern alternatives, amongst which we can exercise our tastes and preferences.
Craft evolution was the predominant design method during the Middle Ages. Men and women looked on the work of their ancestors and considered what improvements
might be effected. Mud huts evolved into brick dwellings. Flights of steps gained good proportions and adequate foundations. The craft of making steel
evolved out of iron-making. Horse-drawn carts became horseless carriages and then automobiles.
From the Renaissance onwards there was a steady application of drawing and calculation to the design process. Designers with clean hands and school knowledge
showed design skills distinct from those of craftsmen. By 1950 the drawing board reigned supreme and our new masters had university degrees. Craftspeople
had become ‘blue collar’ wage-slaves. This was the heyday of mass production. Fordism ruled the world’s factories, building sites, horticultural nurseries
and landscape design studios.
The Japanese dented Fordism with an approach to decision-making which is more consensual than hierarchical. Workers at each stage in the production line
became involved in the design process. Those who fitted door-handles suggested improvements to their design and manufacture. More knowledge was brought
into the design process. This effected great changes in the automotive industry – and much better cars. The construction industry is comparatively unaffected
as yet. One lives in hope. The Egan Report tends in this direction.
Digital design methods
will bring about change. But their use between 1980 and 2000 was disappointing and resembles the state of car design between 1880 and 1900 (when designers
made motor vehicles resemble horse-drawn carriages). The failings of the first CAD age were caused, in part, by the dominance of AutoCad. It began as a
draughtsman’s package and, though more used by designers, retains this characteristic. Image-editing, solid-modeling, terrain-modeling and animation programmes
herald new opportunities. For pattern analysis, the most valuable computer programmes may be web-based
Geographical Information Systems
(GIS). They facilitate the complementation of design-by-drawing with design-by-database. Analysis of patterns can be linked to the analysis of attributes,
revealing new patterns and surprising opportunities. A GIS can hold historical data, current data, ideas and future projections, helping designers to deal
with the fourth and fifth dimensions (Fig 6) .
The problems with post-1800 landscape design may be summarised as follows:
The classical design axiom ran aground (c 1800) when ‘imitating nature’ came to mean no more than the design of gardens along the lines of empirically interpreted
natural forms. Art became artifact. Nature became irregularity. Gardens became concrete.
Without idealism, garden and landscape design lost their appeal to artists and craftsmen of the first rank. This is a sociological point.
When landscape theory began to revive, at the end of the nineteenth century, it attracted reformers (eg Geddes) concerned with social functions and ecological
processes. This separated landscape planning and design from the fine arts.
After 1945, landscape designers allied themselves, ruinously, with the functional aspect of dogmatized architectural modernism. Trying to make ‘form follow
function’ they were blocked by a poor appreciation of landscape functions.
Design-by-Drawing, like the Survey-Analysis-Design method itself, encouraged designers to view landscapes in two dimensions and from too few standpoints.
During the twentieth century, the social, ecological, political, literary and artistic concerns of landscape design remained in separate compartments. Planting
became known as ‘landscaping’. Designers lost their integrative role with regard to the five key elements of outdoor design: Landform, Habitat, Building,
The public, our clients, have been without professional designers able to create places which look good, meet social demands and have desirable ecological
How can we resolve these problems? By looking to our history, drawing more knowledge into the design process and utilizing pattern analysis and hyperlinking
as design tools. This approach can be described as the design of HyperLandscapes.
Go to article on HyperLandscapes
Pattern analysis Landscape Design No 204 October 1991
The point is eloquently made by the cover photograph and introductory text of:
Trancik, Roger Finding lost space New York; Wokingham : Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986
Simo, M., Invisible gardens: the search for modernism in the American landscape MIT Press 1994
It would be an onerous task to supply full references for this article but many of the ideas can be pursued through hyperlinks from the LIH Landscape Information
Hub (at http://www.lih.gre.ac.uk)
Hunt, J.D Gardens and the Picturesque: Studies in the History of Landscape Architecture MIT Press 1992
There is a diagram of this idea at p. 91 Turner, T.,
Landscape planning and environmental impact design.
Hunt, J.D Greater perfections: the practice of garden theory Thames & Hudson 2000
I have discussed these points at greater length in the first chapter of
English garden design (1986), re-published at www.gardenvisit.com, and in an essay on ‘The blood of philosopher-kings’, City as landscape (1996)
Geddes comment on parks is reproduced at www.lih.gre.ac.uk/plan/geddes.htm
This is my assessment of
Geddes – one might award top place to Howard, Unwin or Mumford. The assessment of McHarg comes from a recent survey of American town planners.
Steinitz, C. et al ‘Hand-drawn overlays: their history and prospective uses’ Landscape Architecture September 1976 pp 444-455
Mumford, L, Introduction to McHarg, I.L., Design with nature
Turner, T., ‘Jellicoe and the subconscious’ In
Harvey, S (ed) Geoffrey Jellicoe: a monograph Landscape Design Trust, 1998 (text of ‘Jellicoe and the subsconscious’ also available at www.gardenvisit.com/t/gaj.htm
Watson, D., ‘Dead masterplans and digital creativity’ Paper delivered at the Greenwich 2000 Digital Creativity Symposium, published in the conference proceedings
and also on the LIH website at www.lih.gre.ac.uk/compute/digital.htm
There is an example of a
GIS application to park planning in Public Open Space: planning and management with GIS (Greenwich University Press, 1998) ISBN 1 86166 100 2
Fig 1 Plato believed the primary geometrical forms give shape give to the visible world, and that knowledge of the forms is necessary for a good society.
Fig 2 Three stakes (Empiricism, Geography and Functionalism) driven into the heart of landscape theory (p 144, Turner, T. City as landscape)
Fig 3 Waterloo Steps. The start of John Nash’s picturesque route from St James’s Park to Regent’s Park, in London.
Fig 4 Patrick Geddes used his Place-Work-Folk diagram to show that knowledge of these inter-relationships s necessary for the re-creation of city-regions.
(reproduced from p. 161 of Kitchen, P, A most unsettling person (Golanz, London, 1975)
Fig 5 GIS can help to answer What? Where? and What If? questions (p. 106 Turner, T., Landscape planning and environmental impact design).
Fig 6 GIS allows information and ideas about the past, the present and the future to be inter-related. (p. 25 Turner, T., Landscape planning and environmental
Return to index to Design Theory Guide
[This article, by Tom Turner was first published in the October 2001 edition of Landscape Design (#304 pp28-32)]
John Dixon Hunt
makes positive and negative remarks about landscape theory in a recent book. He believes that:
‘landscape architecture is a fundamental mode of human expression and experience’
‘landscape architecture, locked into a false historiography, is unable to understand the principles of its own practice as an art of place-making’.
I warm to both points but Hunt makes a curious blunder. He states that no classical author wrote ‘specifically for what we have come to call landscape architecture,
did for architecture’. Yet the first and most famous of the Ten Books in Vitruvius’ De Architectura deals with the heart and soul of landscape architecture:
the relationship between structures and places. Book One reviews: the principles of design (Order, Eurythmy, Symmetry, Propriety, and Economy); the aims
of design (Commodity, Firmness and Delight); site planning in relation to climate; site planning for security; site planning for public buildings and public
open space. Books Two to Ten then deal with various building types and with Roman engineering, including harbours, site planning, clocks, aqueducts, pumps
and siege engines. Most of these topics lie outside what we now call architecture but it is worth remembering the etymology of ‘architect’ from ‘chief
of techniques’. Having to many techniques, we now require many specialists.
Vitruvius summarized the aims of design as Commodity, Firmness and Delight. I suggested re-classifying these aims for landscape planning as Natural, Social
and Visual aims.
has reformulated them for landscape design as Ecology, Community and Delight. Each summarizes a set of objectives with broad information requirements and
scope to benefit from a knowledge-intensive approach. We can learn from 2,000 years of history and use digital approaches to renew the ancient art of design
on the land. Several recent books have dealt with the 3 key areas of knowledge identified by Thompson.
The developing science of landscape ecology is showing the importance of habitat patterns to landscape design.
takes a broad view. His, Landscape pattern, perception and process, examines the role of landscape ecological patterns, the aesthetics of nature and the
patterns of human use. He writes that ‘We tend to look for patterns which seem to make sense in the knowledge that we have about our world, as well as
being aesthetically satisfying in the relationship of each part to the whole. Humans have been making patterns from time immemorial, as decoration, as
symbols or for religious purposes. Some patterns can be connected with certain cultures whilst others are more universal. People, by their settlements,
fields, roads, village layouts and towns have subconsciously evolved the landscape to suit their purposes, although they may not have been fully aware
of the patterns being created. Pattern recognition is important to help us understand and relate to the world around us’ (Fig 1).
Some landscape patterns were better understood by our ancestors than ourselves; others are being identified and explained by modern science.
The functionalist approach to landscape design was hindered by inadequate data on the social use of outdoor space. Such knowledge was lost when design-by-drawing
W H Whyte
have assembled valuable information on the social aspects of outdoor design. As Thompson’s use of the word ‘community’ reminds us, landscape design is concerned
as much with people as with the physical aspects of outdoor space. The patterns in Alexander’s Pattern Language are design archetypes which communities
have found valuable over an endless period of time. Alexander asserts that ‘if you can’t draw a diagram, it isn’t a pattern’. It is interesting to note
that the pattern language approach is also popular with object-oriented
Good programming objects become re-usable patterns. The
working with the landscape architect Robert Ryan, have made a significant contribution to the integration of Alexander patterns with ecological patterns
in their book With people in mind: design and management of everyday nature. They explain that ‘We began doing research in this area with two hopes, namely,
that there would be orderly enough patterns to make scientific research possible, and that the results would have a beneficial effect on the design and
management of the natural landscape’ (Fig 2).
Landscape design is deeply concerned with the group of design aims which Vitruvius categorised as ‘delight’. For many centuries this was interpreted as
‘beauty’. Abstract art began a change and conceptual art has further weakened the link between ‘art’ and ‘beauty’. Ideas are regaining their importance.
Van Doesburg, a pioneer modernist, exhorted us to ‘leave the repetition of stories, tales etc., to poets and writers’. In the post-modern era there is
a burgeoning interest in narrative. Mark Francis’ Meanings of the garden was a key book in turning landscape architects away from the sterility of abstract
modernism. It was followed by
Potteiger and Purinton’
s Landscape narratives and Anne Whiston Spirn’s Language and landscape (Fig 3).
These authors abjure Doesburg’s exhortation and point to the brilliant use of symbolic narratives at the Villa Lante, Stourhead and elsewhere. The underlying
pattern of stories, known as narrative structure, is studied by structuralist literary theorists. For the future, we must keep our minds and eyes open.
‘Delightful’ ideas could come from music, dance, astronomy, geological sections, Mandelbrot patterns, or anywhere.
The injunction of my student days, to use a SAD approach (Survey-Analysis-Design), was open-ended. One never knew when the Survey work should stop. Nor
was there useful guidance on how to conduct an Analysis. Design became a creative leap into murky waters, disappointing everyone. Complex information handling
problems require a focus on values to guide the selection of data and a method to help with the integration of knowledge from diverse fields.
The analysis stage of landscape design can be assisted by pattern diagrams and models. It is a method with a distinguished history. Patrick Geddes proposed
the use of ‘thinking machines’. They were pieces of paper, folded and unfolded to discover relationships between sectors of knowledge (Fig 4).
His successors, as charted by Steinitz, used maps and diagrams to organise data and an overlay technique to examine relationships between data sets. McHarg
advanced this method by overlaying evaluative maps derived from descriptive maps. In his Richmond Parkway project, for example, McHarg mapped the different
types of value (recreation, scenery, wildlife etc) which should guide route selection. It was a pattern-based approach to planning, though the patterns
dealt with Ecology and Community rather than Delight (Fig 5) .
The reach of the method can be extended by using hyperlinks to inter-relate categories of knowledge. Hence the acronym PAKILDA: a Pattern Assisted Knowledge
Intensive Landscape Design Approach. The resulting design process is neither linear nor circular nor random. The flight of the honey bee provides a useful
The bee’s progress from hive to meadow appears random but is known to be structured. Bees memorize a set of landmarks and use loose-fit maps when moving
from point to point. Similarly, landscape designers follow a long journey from existing to proposed, with many unpredictable diversions. The flowers on
the route will be reached in no particular order but may be classified as Natural Process Patterns, Social Patterns and Aesthetic Patterns. A key feature
of the method is the use of models, or drawings, of the existing and proposed situations. They should be presented in a similar manner and at similar scales
to display the five compositional elements of landscape design: landform, habitat, water, buildings and paving. Pattern diagrams represent ideas and explain
the principles with which we seek to influence landscape change. The ideational diagrams ‘come between’ the models or drawings, facilitating and then explaining
the planning and design process. A small domestic example of how this approach operates was published in the Garden Design Journal (Fig 6).
Pattern analysis diagrams, 2D and 3D, should always be used in pairs: one to represent the existing situation (pedestrian circulation, vehicular circulation,
urban grain, texture, colour, Isovist lines, microclimate, figure-ground, narrative, space syntax, landscape ecology, etc) and one to represent the proposed
’s characterization of her own approach as Words – Diagrams – Models’ implies a non-digital version of this method.
discusses the role of conceptual diagrams in design. Launching a design project with words accords a central place to ideas, or forms, as Plato conceived
them. Representing ideas with diagrams translates them into a shorthand language for designers. Models encourage multi-dimensional thinking. Gustafson’s
approach is worlds away from the SAD ‘Three Sheet Method’ required for the ILA Part 3 Design Set Piece Examination which I took in 1971. Each sheet was
a dyeline print reeking of ammonia and coloured with Magic Markers. The Analysis Sheet resembled a plan for a tank battle.
A profusion of inputs and outputs is characteristic of the PAKILDA approach. Instead of producing Design with a capital D, as one does for an architectural
project, the approach yields a series of outputs to be achieved over various periods of time. Some ideas, like paths and walls, can be implemented in a
week. Others, like new woods, take a century. Still others, like the grand axis in Paris, or London’s open space system, exert their influence over many
centuries. Patterns relate differentially to the natural environment, the human environment and the world of ideas. It is a complex information-handling
situation which can be informed and supported by a modern version of Geddes’ thinking machines. Hyperlinking is not intrinsic to the approach may contribute
to its success.
in 1945, dreamed of a computer network which would ‘give man access to and command over the inherited knowledge of the ages’.
used the term hypertext to mean ‘a space of more than three dimensions’ and sought to write a computer programme, Xanadu, which would enable ‘new writing
and movies to be interactive and interlinked’.
Tim Berners Lee,
an English physicist then working at CERN, made this possible with his HyperText Transfer Protocol (the http:// of web addresses). The prefix ‘hyper’ means
‘over, beyond, above’. Hypertext interlinks topics and facilitates non-linear thinking. When sound and image are included, the term HyperMedia is used.
It is a CAD technique which can generate HyperLandscapes.
If, for example, Geoffrey Jellicoe had created a virtual Water Garden, to parallel his real Water Garden in Hemel Hempstead, visitors would be able to trace
the roots and branches of his ideas. They could hyperlink to biographical information, books, future projects, Carl Jung, symbolism, modern art, maps,
Dacorum District Council and other places in the landscapes of man and civilisation. I have attempted
a partial sketch of such a facility.
It has links to Encyclopaedia Britannica articles, because this was the source for much of Jellicoe’s information. Readable landscapes interest the public
and, since mobile internet devices will soon be common, I recommend landscape designers to get into the habit of creating websites of this type for the
generation and explication of their landscape projects. Much could be done to popularize our art and science if visitors could read landscapes with PDAs
(Portable Digital Assistants). URLs should be engraved in stone. Landscape design history might become a wildly popular subject if it could be researched
in situ. The Landscape Institute might host project websites and maintain them beyond their designers’ lifetimes.
Models have a key role in landscape design. They should be used to represent both the existing situation and the proposed situation. Physical models, using
such materials as clay, polystyrene, paper and card, are cheap to make and easy to change. They also benefit from a natural carry-over from the art and
craft tradition of hand working, not to say dirty-hand working. Physical models can be 3d-scanned to produce digital models. Or one can build accurate
digital models using imported elevation data on landform and structures, though CAD models tend to be less tactile and less expressive. Digital models
can be 3d-printed, modified and re-scanned. Animation and modeling programmes enable walk-throughs to be generated and rendered. GIS programmes allow the
fourth dimension of landscape change to be simulated. 2d overlays can be draped over 3d models. WebGIS allows hyperlinking to attribute data and images.
A project like McHarg’s Plan for the Valleys could be presented as a
type simulation, displaying the consequences of alternative landscape planning decisions.
Having begun these articles by castigating Modernism I would like to conclude with a word in its favour. Modernism has the capacity to inspire great works
of art, as Peter Walker demonstrates in his book on Minimalist Gardens and as Beardlsey shows in Earthworks and beyond. Modernism is reductionist. Landscape
design normally rests on synthesis. Yet Thompson’s diagram (Fig 7)
shows that there are places for uni-, bi- and tri-valent design approaches. Each requires a distinct set of knowledge inputs. Where the design intention
is a uni-valent focus on ‘delight’, to induce awe, sublimity or spiritual adventure, the relevant knowledge and skill will be of the type possessed by
artists and visionaries. A PAKILDA approach should make it clear that there are occasions when one or more of the pattern groups can be set aside. Hyperlinking
can be used to create virtual landscapes, paralleling real landscapes, explaining design intentions and restoring ideas to that central place in the creative
process, from which they were displaced by the impact of three sharp stakes c1800. Landscape design theory can be regenerated by going back to its Platonic
and Vitruvian origins.
For the practicing designer, a PAKILDA approach might take the following form:
Represent the existing situation (5d, 4d, 3d, 2d)
Formulate the project aims (Social/Functional/Aesthetic/Natural Process)
Identify the key ideas and sources of knowledge, relating to the project aims
Create pairs of existing/proposed pattern diagrams to inter-connect and explain the proposals for improving aspects of the place
Represent the proposed situation (5d, 4d, 3d, 2d)
The approach is non-linear. Before the invention of hypermedia I used to remark that one should ‘think forwards and draw backwards’, meaning that the brain
should buzz but that a presentation should be logical and sequential. When drawing a tree, children often begin with an outline. Experienced artists work
from a knowledge of structure and mass. Landscape designers should use traditional and digital media to support their perceptive, reasoning and imaginative
I coined this word from adjective ‘dogmatic’ and the Word 2000 spell-checker suggests ‘womanized’ as an alternative spelling, possibly revealing a misogynist
streak in the King of Nerds.
Hunt, J.D., Greater perfections: the practice of garden theory (Thames & Hudson London 2000) p 8
ibid p 207
ibid p 3
The term ‘landscape architecture’ was coined, by Gilbert Laing
Meason in 1828, to mean the type of architecure found in landscape paintings. See www.lih.gre.ac.uk/histhe/larch.htm.
An online version of Vitruvius’ Book 1, on landscape architecture, is available on the LIH Landscape Information Hub www.lih.gre.ac.uk.
Landscape planning and environmental impact design 2nd Edition UCL Press 1998. p. 35
Thompson, I.H Ecology, Community and Delight. E&F Spon 2000
Bell, S., Landscape pattern, perception and process E&FN Spon 1999
Alexander, C. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction Oxford University Press New York 1977. Links to Alexander’s work, and further discussion
of archetypes and other patterns, can be found at www.lih.gre.ac.uk/resource/resource.htm.
Whyte, W.H. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces The Conservation Foundation Washington 1980
‘Alexander’s definition of a pattern fits perfectly into object oriented software design, where each pattern incorporates one aspect of the problem analysis
into the design (elucidating, at the same time, the use of the framework of classes that are the elements of the architecture)’. P 92
Coplien, J.O. (ed) Pattern languages of program design Addison-Wesley, 1995)
Kaplan, R, Kaplan, S., Ryan, R.L., With people in mind: design and management of everyday nature Island Press Washington DC 1998
Potteiger, M., Purinton, J., Landscape narratives: design practices for telling stories John Wiley & Sons 1998
Tom La Dell and Alexandra Pocock have proposed including Creativity in the SAD rubric so that becomes SACreD. Landscape Design #287 pp 42-5.
Steinitz, C. et al Hand-drawn overlays: their history and prospective uses Landscape Architecture September 1976 pp 444-455
Turner, T., Garden Design Journal Autumn 1999 pp 28-31
Young, Chris Landscape Design #277, February 1999 pages 42-43
Moore, K., ‘Drawing and the mechanics of design’, Landscape Design #289 pp 30-34.
Bush, V., ‘As we may think’ Atlantic Monthly July 1945 (see Atlantic’s area of America Online)
See Wolf, G., ‘The curse of Xanadu’ Wired June 1995 p 137. Xanadu is the title of a Coleridge’s poem and, before reading about
Nelson, I had occasion to quote the poem in the monograph on Geoffrey Jellicoe published by the Landscape Design Trust in 1998. Jellicoe and Nelson were
men of comprehensive imagination and vision.
Berners-Lee, T., ‘WorldWide Web: Proposal for a HyperText Project’ November 12 1990. See www.w3.org/pub/WWW/Proposal
The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is http://www.gardenvisit.com/r/hh/hemel.htm
Turner, T., ‘Jellicoe and the subconscious’ In
Harvey, S (ed) Geoffrey Jellicoe: a monograph Landscape Design Trust, 1998
Sim City is a GIS-based computer game which simulates the way in which cities respond to different sets of decisions.
Fig 1 Landscape ecology identifies patterns of patches, corridors and pathways (p 215 Bell, S., Landscape pattern, perception and process)
Fig 2 Ground texture pattern analysis (p. 42 Kaplan, R, Kaplan, S., Ryan, R.L., With people in mind: design and management of everyday nature)
Fig 3 Narrative structure of the Villa Lante (p. 47 Potteiger, M., Purinton, J., Landscape narratives: design practices for telling stories)
Fig 4 Patrick Geddes’ thinking machine. The circle in a mandala symbolizes the development of a town into an ideal city (p. 324 of Kitchen, P, A most unsettling
person (Golanz, London, 1975)
Fig 5 McHarg used Ecological and Community pattern diagrams to select a route for the Richmond Parkway (McHarg, I Design with nature)
Fig 6 The flight of the honeybee. One could also think of the bee as landing on the rectangles of Geddes’ thinking machine. (p. 39 Turner, T., City as landscape)
Fig 7 Nine permutations of pluralistic design (p 179 Thompson, I.H Ecology, Community and Delight)
The Flowers of Garden Design Theory - and the flight of the honey bee
Return to index to Design Theory Guide
By Tom Turner [This essay was first published in the Garden Design Journal Autumn 1999 with the regrettable title Timeless with delight. It is a suggestion
for how garden designs can respond to local context]
Often, one must look backwards to move forwards. So let us return to the first western author to comment on the design of gardens:
(circa 27 BC). His remarks on the particulars of gardens were too specific for our purposes. But his general principles are of great relevance. He summarised
the guiding principles of the design process as being "commodity, firmness and delight". We can employ them in taking backward and forward perspectives
on the art of garden design.
Commodity. This quality stands for the functional aspects of gardens. I see them as associated with the body: shelter for when it is cold, shade for when
it is hot; paths which lead from origins to destinations, other paths for the joy of perambulation; fruits to pluck, herbs to rub, vegetables to dig; spaces
which accommodate the expected range of outdoor activities.
Firmness. This can include soils which favour plant growth, walls which do not fall over, pools which retain water and steps upon which one does not trip.
Delight. This is more difficult because tastes change and whole categories of art fall from favour, yet the qualities associated with the fine arts, beauty,
awe and religion are central to garden design.
Acceptance of the Vitruvian principles need not entail the corollary that each principle must be satisfied in each garden. The front gardens of suburban
houses, for example, have traditionally lacked a function, though they require firmness and, according to the tastes of their owners, delight. Vegetable
gardens, on the other hand, frequently lack delight. A photographer might discover aesthetic quality in allotment gardens but few see them as works of
art. One could make a case for gardens which embrace only one of the Vitruvian objectives, though I am tempted to aim for them all.
Vitruvian principles provide a framework for the evaluation of historical styles. One of the English eighteenth century complaints against Baroque gardens
was that they over-emphasised delight (‘show’ or ‘display’) as a design objective. By contrast, the space in a Brownian park was productive agricultural
land, and therefore functional. Vitruvian objectives were valued during the nineteenth century, but the results were troubling. I remain unconvinced by
Brent Elliott’s assertion that it was a most glorious period in the history of British gardens. Rather, I see it as a time when limitless resources produced
unsatisfactory results. Commodity was perhaps the leading virtue of Victorian Gardens. Construction standards were lower than they need have been. Scale,
composition and proportion were often ill-judged. When these problems were corrected, under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, we saw the creation
of the best gardens ever to have been made in the British Isles. Jekyll, assisted by Lutyens, was a Vitruvian of the first rank. Yet in the middle years
of the twentieth century, standards declined. While modernist principles yielded rich fruit in the Americas and parts of Continental Europe, their produce
in Britain was shrivelled and dry.
During the 1970s the Chelsea Flower Shows were almost the only occasions where, in Britain, one could see interesting garden designs. In the 1980s, one
found comparable work in the National Garden Festivals and their TV coverage appears to have resulted in the current wave of gardening programmes. We see
vibrant energy and invention, but little quality. Gimmickry rules. This state of affairs can be explained, in part, by the fact that many of the featured
designers do not come from a design background. It is also due to a failing in design theory.
My desk dictionary states that a theory is ‘a system of ideas explaining something’. In this article, the matter to be explained is ‘how to design a good
garden’. Having written a book on the general theme of ‘how to design a good place’, I will draw upon the content and explore how the principles relate
to gardens. The principles were described in the book’s subtitle as ‘post-postmodern’: accepting the insights of postmodernism but constraining pluralism
with personal belief. Jane Porter, in asking me to write this article, said that it might form part of a series. If this proves to be the case, I would
ask other contributors to set forth the principles on which they work. To prescribe for others in a period of high innovation and indifferent quality might
be regarded as presumptuous. Yet little good work arises in the absence of principles.
shows a diagram in which the design process is represented by the flight of a honey-bee: seemingly chaotic, but purposeful. The bee takes a route which
visits many flowers to collect nectar. The start- and end-points are shown as pictures, fastened to a wall. The design process involves ‘taking a landskip’
of an existing place, generating ideas and then formulating a landskip of a proposed place. I use the archaic spelling of landskip to recover its early
eighteenth century sense, meaning ‘a view of a place’ - not the place itself. Ideas are shown at the heart of the design process. The ‘flowers’ from which
designers may draw sustenance are placed in four groups, which may be described as Social Patterns, Natural Patterns, Aesthetic Patterns and Archetypal
Patterns. ‘Pattern’ is used in the gestalt sense (‘a perceived whole which is more than the sum of its parts’) – rather than in the everyday sense (‘a
decorative design’). Three of the groups relate to Vitruvius:
Social Patterns yield commodity
Natural Patterns yield firmness
Aesthetic Patterns yield delight
The fourth group, Archetypal Patterns, is used in the manner explained by the leading design theorist of the twentieth century: Christopher Alexander. They
are the subject of his marvellous book A pattern language for towns, buildings and construction. Alexander’s patterns are design archetypes which have
proved their worth over an endless period of time. He described their use as a Timeless way of building. Before losing my readers’ attention, let us move
to a small example of a garden which adopts Alexander’s ‘Timeless’ approach and also uses Time as a design theme.
It is in Scotland. Compared to most of Europe, winters are long and summers short. The site is windswept, to say the least, but sunny and with some 600mm
annual rainfall. Geologically, the garden is near to a classical unconformity between Silurian and Devonian strata. For the section of the garden which
will be taken as a example, the aim was to create a Timeless and Time-filled Seat Place. An archetypal pattern (
was the First Flower touched in the design process. It suggested that a good sitting place should have sun, backing, a view and a nearby tree. This arrangement
provides commodity. The Second Flower was the natural patterns which prevail in the locality. Local materials were the inspiration. Old red sandstone is
worn by greywacke pebbles (
I admire the tradition of using sandstone as framing because it is workable, and greywacke, which is unworkable, for infill (
This, our Third Flower, gives firmness. Stability comes from the sandstone and durability from the greywacke. Remembering the pre-postmodern idea of deriving
form from function, one can enjoy the abstract aesthetic relationship of pebbly-grey with sand-red.
Viewers with an enthusiasm for science, religion and conceptual art, can take a philosophical interest in their interplay. Stonehenge was orientated with
regard to the angle of the sun at dawn on midsummer’s day. It revealed, one presumes, a great truth about nature and pointed to the existence of unseen
forces regulating life on earth. In the nineteenth century, geomorphological science revealed profound truths which changed the nature of religious belief.
John Ruskin spoke of those ‘terrible hammers’ chipping away at the bedrock of his faith. One of the great moments in the history of geology was Hutton
and Playfair’s observation of the classical unconformity between red sandstone and greywacke. They saw it as decisive evidence for geological evolution
and proof that the world was not created in six days. Professor John Playfair wrote:
The palpable evidence presented to us, of one of the most extraordinary and important facts in the natural history of the earth, gave a reality and substance
to those theoretical speculations, which, however probable, had never till now been directly authenticated by the testimony of the senses.
The theory and the uniformitarian principle, as described in Hutton’s Theory of the Earth, became the cornerstone of geological science. Today, most churchmen
accept geology as one of the mysterious ways in which God operates. Geological time has become an all-pervading belief with an immense capacity to inspire
awe. It is a concept which, as the Fourth Flower, makes the Timeless Seat Place a contribution to Conceptual Art.
There was a surprising lack of interest in the garden as a work of art during the Middle Ages. Art was predominantly religious. Paintings were closely related
to contexts and underlying ideas were of greater importance than painted images. From 1400 to 1900 art was progressively severed from these roots, with
abstract art cutting the last link. Marcel Duchamp almost detached art from artists, by placing found objects in galleries. But the old links are re-growing.
Garden design can be viewed as site-related-sculpture, installation art or conceptual art. For the conceptual artist, ideas are paramount. The Seat Place
is Timeless, in Alexander’s sense, but with a deep consciousness of geological time and its influence on Christianity. With security, comfort and a framed
view, here is an idea which merits contemplation.
Silurian greywacke was formed from volcanic ash deposited in the Iapetus Ocean. Immense pressure during the Caledonian Orogeny folded the strata. Following
the unconformity in the geological series (approximately 70 million years), which Hutton and Playfair observed, Old Red Sandstone was laid down above the
greywacke under flood conditions. Continental drift shifted the strata to their present location. God knows how long this took. Coastal erosion fragmented
the greywacke and, rolling the chips on the sea shore for centuries, they became beautifully striated ‘soft’ pebbles. Workmen carried the stones up the
cliff and developed the craft of using their particular characteristics in building construction. One can read a history of the modern world in this small
corner of a Scots garden, just as one can read a history of the medieval world from the west façade of Notre Dame in Paris. Ovid’s Metamorphosis, which
influenced garden designers for two millennia is revealed as an example of fiction being less strange than fact.
There is also a place for what the young Geoffrey Jellicoe called Fancy in gardens. This was the design’s Fifth Flower (
Three dimensional designs can draw upon literature, art, mythology and music. Since the greywacke pebbles were placed with the help of young children, it
seemed best to enlist their help in contriving a mythological tale. One can think of the design as having one level for grown-ups and one for children:
One night when the moon was new, a boulder whizzed out of a crater. After circling the moon, twice, it noticed a green and blue planet shimmering in the
distance. "Ha Ha, thought the Moonboulder, "theres a pretty sight. On its way to Earth, the boulder spun round and round. Its colours swirled, ran together,
and set. After six days it reached the Earths atmosphere. Suddenly it met a fearful pressure and burst. Four million coloured stones fell into the sea.
Fish took them as jewels. Moonstones were carried far and wide across the ocean. Some washed ashore, to become beautifully smooth as the waves rolled them
back and forth. One stone, shaped like a heart, was carried up the hill by some children. It was called The Moonstone and placed at the centre of a path.
Neat grey stones took their place in serried ranks. A troll came from Norway, made his home in the garden, and smiled every time he saw the Moonstone.
So there we have it: a design procedure founded on a design theory, which pleases the designer. One can offer no more.
Flowers, wall and barley
Fig 1 Four groups of gestalt pattern, with those touched by the flight of the bee coloured (adapted from the diagram on page 39 of City as landscape)
Fig 2 An archetypal pattern for a seat place. It is an adapted version of Alexander’s Pattern No 176 Garden Seat, about which he writes ‘Make a quiet place
in the garden – a private enclosure with a comfortable seat, thick planting, sun. Pick the place for the seat carefully; pick the place that will give
you the most intense kind of solitude’ (the diagram is reproduced and further discussed on page 23 of City as landscape).
Fig 3 Sandstone and greywacke in the locality.
Fig 4 Traditional building construction in the locality, with sandstone framing and greywacke infill.
Fig 5 A child in the Timeless and Time-filled Seat Place.
Fig 6 The Moonstone, with neat grey stones in serried ranks
Fig 7 A Troll, smiling at the Moonstone (and a cat watching the Troll)
Fig 7 Aerial view of the Seat Place
Sundials: the art of shadows
Orbital movement of the Earth causes the gradual and predictable travel of a shadow across the face of a sundial. Each sundial must be designed for an exact
location, otherwise it will only reveal the dialer’s ignorance (Figure 1). Adaptation to a precise location is a good principle in all garden design. The
length of the shadow cast by a sundials gnomon depends on the time of year, the latitude of the dial, and the position of the earth on its daily rotation.
No two identical dials, in different gardens, will cast shadows in the same position at the same time. Sunlight itself is produced by the conversion of
hydrogen to helium and takes 8 minutes to travel the 149.6 million kilometers from sun to earth. It is little wonder that dials induce contemplation. They
were placed on church towers, because "time is a sacred thing. When mechanical clocks became available, the demand for dials increased: they were needed
to set the clocks. When other ways of setting clocks became available, many old dials were moved into vicarage gardens.
English sundials have been inscribed with mottoes since the beginning of the sixteenth century. Mrs Alfred Gatty, a parson’s wife, gave the reason:
What could be more natural to a scholarly and reflecting mind than to point the moral of passing time in a brief sentence which arouses thought. (Gatty,
She produced a book of sundial mottoes and wrote that
The great Creator, who made the sun to rule the day and the moon and the stars to govern the night, has adapted our nature to these intermitting changes,
and implanted in us an immediate desire to count how, drop by drop, or grain by grain, time and life are passing away.
The oldest mottoes are in Latin and have a religious theme, often imbued with northern gloom:
HORA FUGIT, MORS VENIT: Time passes, death advances.
FERT OMNIA AETAS: Time bears all away.
DOCET UMBRA: The shadow teaches.
MANEO NEMINI: I wait for no one.
MEMENTO FINIS: Remember the end.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDIS: So passes the glory of the world.
The best-known motto, TEMPUS FUGIT, has become trite, but Thomas a Kempis line from Imitatio Christi, the last example in the above list, has a majesty
that is undimmed by repetition. So does St Pauls advice to the Ephesians:
SOL NON OCCIDAT SUPER IRACUNDIAM VESTRAM: Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
Other mottoes are humorous, though most wit dulls after a few centuries in a damp garden:
Time wastes us all, our bodies and our wits;
But we waste time, so time and we are quits.
What is the time? come, why do you ask?
Is it to start, or to end your task?
Love of riddles and puns has touched the sundial. WE SHALL ____ is proclaimed by a number of dials. Should the possessor of a lively mind pass by, the words
"dial or "die all will come to her.
The idea of a dial engaging in conservation with the viewer is not uncommon. Dials generally have the best of it:
SOL ME VOS UMBRA REGIT: The sun guides me, the shadow you.
SENESCIS ASPICIENDO: Thou growest older whilst thou lookest.
REDIBO, TO NUNQUAM: I shall return, thou never.
I AM A SHADOW, SO ART THOU.
I MARK TIME, DOST THOU?
HORAS NON NUMERO NISI SERENAS: I count the bright hours only.
It has been noted that the last motto in the list is "either totally useless or utterly false.
Sundials can stimulate a childs interest in science and life. Mrs Gatty herself became interested in dials as a girl. Her father, the chaplain in whose
arms Nelson died at the battle of Trafalgar, was the vicar of Catterick. It was a dial over the church door that awakened his daughters interest in the
subject. One can imagine the awe that the Latin inspired in the childs heart:
FUGIT HORA, ORA: The hour flies, pray.
The sentiment reminds one of W.H. Audens lines, which could grace a sundial:
IN THE TWILIGHT OF HIS DAYS, TEACH THE FREEMAN HOW TO PRAISE.
Clocks measure Mean Time, which is averaged to produce hours and days of equal length. Sundials measure solar time, which is equal to clock time only four
times a year, on 16 April, 14 June, 2 September and 25 December, with slight adjustments for leap years. In between these dates, solar time will be up
to 16 minutes before clock time or 14 minutes after. This is because the Earth follows an elliptical orbit and moves faster as it nears the sun. When the
earth moves faster, solar time is ahead of clock time. To me, this is a fact worth knowing. Garden dials should be calibrated to reveal astronomical information.
When slowing down, towards the end of a days gardening, I would like to know whether the Earth is accelerating or decelerating. An adjustment table on
the dial face would facilitate conversions from solar time to clock time.
Because clocks are also adjusted for Standard Time Zones and perhaps for Daylight Saving Time, they do not often tell the true noon. I like to know when
the sun has reached its zenith and the garden is at its brightest on a particular day. A noon mark is the simplest way of telling the suns zenith. It
can be a straight line on a level surface, along which the shadow of a vertical pole falls at noon. Such marks were once drawn on window sills, to catch
the shadow of a glazing bar. They were also placed on level lawns, utilizing the shadow of a flag pole. A noon line could be an awesome starting point
for a garden layout. It can be marked by recording the shadow of a plumb-line at the instant of local noon, or by using a compass and making an adjustment
to find true north. If a horizontal pole with a small plate at the end is fixed to a vertical wall, it can mark the local noon and be read from a distance.
Weather vanes and weather gardens
Links between an enclosed garden and the wide world can be observed in other ways: the effect of a hard frost; a midwinter spring; a drought; the rich downpour
after an electric storm (Figure 2). Some plants need a position where their leaves dry quickly and roots can grow into peaty soil, as happens on an alpine
ledge. The weather can lead one into a design.
Winds come from afar, light from an immense distance. Careful observation yields information that is both useful and interesting. In the south of England,
I like to know that a particular wind comes from the steppes of Central Asia, from the western Channel approaches or from Southern Europe. Wind vanes,
like sundials, give a perspective on the planet. The smallest garden becomes a vantage point from which to contemplate the world. The vast dimensions of
weather are surely one explanation of why "When two Englishmen meet, they first talk about the weather, as Dr Johnson observed. Gardeners need to be weather-wise.
Seeds can be sown when warm damp weather is forecast. Plants that have been moved like a heavy shower after planting. The hoe works best when hot dry weather
is coming. Tender plants need protection from icy winds. Gardeners have, therefore, been avid collectors of weather lore.
Pliny advised us not to "sow in a north wind, or graft when the wind is in the south. Francis Bacon believed "wet weather with an east wind continues longer
than with a west. Most of the advice is anonymous:
When the wind is in the south, the rain is in its mouth.
In April, if there be a north wind, expect rain.
If the wind blow from north east in winter, expect frost.
If the north wind remains steady for two or three days, it is a sign of fine weather.
Theophrastus had the caution of modern forecasters:
If there be within four, five, or six days two or three changes of wind from the north, through east without much rain and wind, and thence again through
the west to the north with rain or wind, expect continued showery weather.
The "vane in weathervane derives from the Greek penos, meaning cloth. Sailors fastened cloths to masts to show the wind direction. Soldiers, not wanting
to charge into wind and dust, fixed coloured cloths to tall spears. Before the days of military uniform, the cloth also served as a regimental sign, sometimes
emblazoned with the commanders coat of arms. Crusader tents were topped with pennants. Knights were honoured with the right to place heraldic vanes on
their castles. French commoners were not granted the right to put up weathervanes until 1659.
The three classic vane designs are the arrow, the pennant and the cockerel. It is said that a ninth century papal bull required a weathercock to be fixed
to every church and monastery. The cock was the emblem of St Peter and a symbolic reminder of the need for vigilance. St Mark (xiv 30) relates that:
And Jesus saith unto him, Verily
I say unto thee, That this day, even
in this night, before the cock crow
twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
As well as being places of worship, the churches of the Middle Ages were concert halls, art galleries, museums, meeting houses, and weather stations too.
Every church had a sundial and a weathervane. For farmers and gardeners, weathervanes were meteorological instruments. This is why they are often called
"weather rather than "wind vanes. Since The Times began publishing them in 1860, weather forecasts have been freely available. Information is now passed
from satellite to televisions in every home, and the vane is regarded as an obsolete decoration. But they still have a role. Even when the forecasters
are correct that "a south westerly airflow will bring rain to most areas, it is useful for the gardener to see when the wind veers into the west. A vane
makes the satellite picture of planetary airflows specific to your garden.
The oldest written description of a weathervane is that of the Tower of Winds in Athens. Vitruvius describes it as follows:
On the several sides of the octagon he [Andronicus of Cyrrhus] executed reliefs representing the several winds, each facing the point from which it blows;
and on top of the tower he set a conical shaped piece of marble and on this a bronze Triton with a rod outstretched in its right hand. It was so contrived
as to go round with the wind, always stopping to face the breeze and holding its rod as a pointer directly over the representation of the wind that was
blowing. (Vitruvius, 1914 edn)
In the Middle Ages, weathervanes were influenced by religious and military associations. But as the world became less governed by Church and Sword, the
symbolic potential of weathervanes came to be used for other purposes. Gresham had a grasshopper vane erected on Londons Royal Exchange, to commemorate
the grasshopper that drew an old ladys attention to his ancestor, a foundling babe. The Accountants Hall used a model of the Golden Hind in the design
of a weathervane. Billingsgate Fish Market put up a fish vane. Paston School put a model of the Victory on their weathervane to commemorate their most
famous pupil, Admiral Lord Nelson. Another ship was placed on the observatory in Greenwich, to mark the importance of Greenwich Meridian for world shipping.
A railway company, in York, used a steam engine on the vane on its headquarters. Following these secular precedents, weathervanes took on something of
the role of inn signs and trade signs during the nineteenth century. They also became domesticated. The owners of a sheep farm, a racing stable or the
Dog and Fox Inn had little difficulty in thinking of emblems for their weathervanes. Countrymen used vanes to advertise their trade (Figure 3). Such emblems
enriched the environment. Buildings are more interesting when you have an idea of what takes place inside them, or of the purpose for which they were originally
built. Long may the tradition continue, to help us read the environment.
Gardening with water
Life depends on water and gardens depend on water. The search for water on the Moon and Mars reminds us that water is Earths most valuable asset. Fresh
water is more precious:
over 97 percent of the earth’s water is salt water
over 90 percent of the fresh water is either underground or frozen.
only 0.2 per cent of the earth’s water is fresh and of easy access.
Water deserves to be celebrated in gardens:
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (now thought to have been in Nineveh
were on a hill in a near-rainless country. This is what made them so famous. Plant growth was made possible by an ingenious screw device which pumped water
up from the River Tigris. It then splashed down Kuyunjik Hill irrigating the fruit trees as it passed.
Modern gardners appear to have an easier time of it. They either accept water from the sky or turn on the tap. But:
tap water is likely to become more expensive, because of water pricing
tap water is less nutritious than rainwater,
tap water is often too chalky - or chlorinated
The more appealing policy is to design for Zero Runoff. As much water as possible should be retained within the garden boundary:
on vegetated roofs (see r
in tanks and tubs
in ponds and swamps
Then one can start thinking about
But take care! Fountains are at their best on hot sunny days. On cold windy days in northern countries the splashing of a fountain can add to the gloom.
The spray looks like rain and sounds like rain. The inhabitants of these lands should give serious thought to mountain streams. Bubbling and swirling have
the energy to remind us that winters come to an end and summers follow.
Note on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens, famed as one of the world’s Seven Wonders, no longer exist. But, in 1993, they were identified as the subject of a West Asian relief
in London’s British Museum (exhibit No WA124939, displayed in Room 89). Stephanie Dalley argues that the gardens were in Nineva, not Babylon, and they
belonged to Sennacherib, not Nebuchadnezzar. The BM relief shows a garden with an aqueduct, a columned pavilion, a royal stella and an alter. Sennacherib’s
palace was on the south-west section of the hill at Kuyunjic, opposite modern Mosul.[Stephanie Dalley, ‘Ancient Mesopotamian gardens and the identification
of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon resolved’ Garden History Summer 1993 Vol 21 No 1 pp 1-13; Dalley, Stephanie ‘Nineveh, Babylon and the Hanging Gardens:
cuneiform and classical sources reconciled’ Iraq Vol LVI 1994 pp. 45-58]
Technical considerations are important when choosing garden materials, but so are ideas and associations. Consider the concrete slab. It has wreaked havoc
in modern gardens, because concrete is such a faithless material: it has the crispness of fresh snow when first laid, but deteriorates thereafter. Snow
symbolizes virginal purity. Stained concrete symbolizes the ersatz horror of the "concrete jungle. Out of sight is the only proper place for concrete
in gardens. Stone, by contrast, symbolizes strength, unity and eternity. During the animistic era, stones were worshipped, with meteorites held in the
highest regard. The Black Stone of Kaaba, kissed by pilgrims who visit the Great Mosque in Mecca, is believed to have fallen from heaven as a white stone
and turned black on encountering the sins of man.
Old garden walls were built with lime mortar, which is softer and kinder to plants than cold grey Portland cement. Hydraulic lime is made by heating chalk
or limestone to drive off the carbon dioxide. When it is re-mixed with water and exposed to the air, it recombines with carbon dioxide and reverts to its
original chemical state. Carbon dioxide reaches the outside of the mortar first, and it may be a century before full bond strength is achieved. This has
made lime mortar unpopular with builders, but it can still be used by gardeners. Twenty years after completing a wall, one can be thinking that "its gaining
strength now, as one does with a tree of the same age.
"You are a perfect brick is now an old fashioned compliment. It told of a personality that was strong, warm and kind. These remain the qualities of good
bricks. Mud bricks, of the type used for the walls of Babylon, were made by shaping wet mud into blocks. They were dried in the sun and placed in position,
sometimes with pitch in the joints. About 3000 BC it was discovered that when mud bricks are fired they become hard, as when clay is made into pots. The
Romans became expert at brick making and brought the skill to Northern Europe. When they left, brick manufacture virtually ceased. Hard Roman bricks were
salvaged throughout the Middle Ages to build chimney stacks and church spires. It is not easy to achieve high temperatures in a primitive kiln. Brick manufacture
recommenced in England after AD 1200, but good-quality bricks were imported from the Low Countries for many centuries. Small hard Dutch bricks can still
be found in the south of England (Figure 4). It is only in recent times that brick sizes have been standardized, and it has not been a benefit for garden
Hand made bricks have a varied surface texture, which cannot be reproduced by machines. They can also be made in any size. Lutyens liked 50mm (2in) thick
bricks, instead of the standard 75mm (3in). Hand made bricks may seem a luxury, but few gardens require a large quantity, and the cost of the raw materials
is not a large proportion of the brickwork cost. One soon forgets the cost, and the pleasure endures. If one is doing the work oneself, the cost of first
rate materials is easily justified. And it is very therapeutic to do ones own brickwork, as Winston Churchill found in the 1930s.
Terracotta is an ancient material, which remains of great value in gardens. It is just clay that has been shaped and fired, usually to a lower temperature
than bricks, to achieve that gorgeous red colour. It is used to make tiles and pots. The word "terracotta means "fired earth. Given its high quality,
it is astonishing that some manufacturers offer terracotta substitutes in concrete and plastic. In the Mediterranean countries, the manufacture of terracotta
pots has continued since ancient times. They are illustrated on wall paintings of Egyptian and Roman gardens, and some of the shapes are still available.
These pots are a link with the classical gardens of antiquity, with Plato and Aristotle, Bacchus and the Maenads, Pliny, Virgil and the Medici gardens
of Tuscany. The festoon and swag patterns on classical pots derive from the garlands of vine leaves that were used to decorate gardens at festival times.
Tuscany remains a great centre of terracotta manufacture. Spanish, Greek and Portuguese pots are also beautiful. The pots of Northern Europe have a different
kind of refinement.
Baron Waldstein visited the grove at Nonsuch Palace in 1600 and admired the polychrome statues of three naked goddesses spraying Actaeon with water (Strong,
1979). The Baron remarked that "nature was "imitated with the greatest skill. He thought the grove "natural because it was the kind of scene that the
ancients would have appreciated. So too have the moderns. Themes from classical mythology have reminded gardeners of what Sir Kenneth Clark described as
the myth of "a golden age when men lived on the fruits of the earth in peace and simplicity (Clark, 1976). Gardens, antique shops, and garden centres
are filled with casts of Diana, Venus and other classical figures. The Gods of Antiquity dominate the history of western garden sculpture.
Since Varro, the Roman poet, hailed Venus as the presiding deity of gardens, she has been blessed with a long and prosperous reign. Other gods have jostled
for power but Venus still rules in a multitude of verdant kingdoms. Diana also has an honoured place. Having seen her mother suffer in childbirth, Diana
obtained permission from her father to live in celibacy, and became a symbol of purity and virtue. Some males, like Mercury and the heroic gladiator, have
challenged her ascendancy. None will triumph.
The gardens of Renaissance Italy were outdoor "museums, in the original sense of "homes for the muses. Classical learning was rediscovered from ancient
books and manuscripts. Music was played. Poetry was read. Classical sculptures, excavated from the ruins of Greece and Rome, were displayed in gardens.
The Belvedere Garden in the Vatican was adorned with the most famous statues from ancient times. Princely families, like the Medici, the Estes and the
Ludovisi, obtained what statues they could from the ruins. When Lorenzo de Medici discussed the philosophy of Plato, in his garden, classical statuary
was an aid to contemplation.
A taste for placing classical statuary in gardens spread with the Renaissance to northern Europe. The first great set of casts was made for the garden that
Francois I began at Fontainebleau in 1528. Garden design became a royal art, and collecting sculpture became a competitive hobby. Francois rival, Henry
VIII of England, placed sculpture in his garden at Nonsuch, started in 1538. Louis XIV assembled a vast collection at Versailles, and his admirer, Charles
II, had casts of antique statues made for his London gardens.
When Inigo Jones and Lord Arundel returned from Italy in 1614, they had acquired a love of classical sculpture. A magnificent collection was assembled in
the garden of Arundel House. It was the first museum garden in England. Unfortunately, the marble statues could not withstand the English climate. They
now reside in Oxfords Ashmolean museum.
Garden sculpture fell into disrepute during the English Civil War. A biblical injunction not to worship graven images was remembered. Pagan gods were despised.
Symbols of monarchy were destroyed. The Cheapside Cross in London was melted down "with ringing of Bells, and a great acclamation as part of a campaign
to rid London of "leaden Popes. Lead garden statuary was made into musket shot. Thus were graven images made to serve the puritan cause. A few musket
balls have found their way back into garden ornaments, one may speculate.
The use of sculpture in English gardens revived after the restoration of Charles II in 1660. From this point until the end of the eighteenth century, "English
garden sculpture is largely the story of north European migrants making copies of Greek statues, Roman statues, and Italian Renaissance statues. Classical
goddesses were given key positions on terraces, where paths meet and where avenues terminate. Statues of nymphs, cherubs and animals had less formal positions.
Lions stood guard on steps. Dolphins leapt in ponds.
Roman gladiators played a part in the development of English gardens. Pope mocked them in his 1731 Epistle to Lord Burlington:
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as Trees,
With here a Fountain, never to be playd ...
When Gladiators fight, or die, in flowrs;
Un waterd see the drooping Sea horse mourn.
The victim of Popes satire may have been the Borghese Gladiator, though he was in the best of health, or the Dying Gladiator, who was to be seen dying
amid the flower gardens of the 1720s. Popes attack had deadly consequences for the Enclosed Style of garden design, but no immediate effect on Englands
population of gladiators. There is a stone copy of the Dying Gladiator at Rousham (Figure 5). It was made by Peter Sheemakers, who was born in Flanders
and, after some years in Rome, spent the remainder of his life in England. Rousham also has a collection of work by Henry Cheere, of French descent, and
by the Dutchman John van Nost. There are copies of the Dancing Faun, Venus, Apollo, Ceres, Pan, and Mercury. It may seem surprising that there is so much
classical statuary in this ancestor of all the worlds landscape gardens, but in its Augustan phase the English landscape garden was a concerted attempt
to re create the landscape of antiquity.
The pantomime diversity of late eighteenth century garden statuary is revealed by Cheeres advertisement. He offered "the Gods of Athens, and of Rome with
"Punch, Harlequin, Columbine and other pantomimical characters; mowers whetting their scythes, haymakers resting on their rakes, gamekeepers in the act
of shooting and Roman soldiers with firelocks. They were painted in bright colours, more reminiscent of The Rakes Progress than the austere eighteenth
century gardens we see today. Nor did Cheere neglect the slave trade. A popular model, which is still being made, has a Nubian on bended knee supporting
a bird table or sundial. War with Napoleon led to the closure of Londons lead-casting yards, as another war had done in Cromwells time. It was reported
that, once again, "whole regiments of leaden Venuses, Moors, Jupiters, angels, saints, nymphs, and fauns were converted into bullets.
It is regrettable that so little original sculpture was produced for gardens, but there is no reason whatsoever to despise the use of copies. Statues look
marvellous out of doors, and it would often be vandalism to expose an original work to the elements. One tends to be further away from garden statues than
from museum statues, and it is the garden rather than the statue that is the original work of art. A copy will give a better impression of a statues three-dimensional
quality than a book illustration, which might be the only other way of knowing a famous work.
A refreshing trend, in the second half of the nineteenth century, is that new sculpture began to be commissioned for special locations. Waterhouse Hawkins,
an artist and anatomist, made a lead bull for the Chinese section of the garden at Biddulph Grange, and a series of prehistoric monsters for the Crystal
Palace at Sydenham. John Thomas carved 26 statues representing different countries for the upper terrace at Sydenham. Thomas also made neoclassical works
for the splendid water feature in Kensington Gardens. Their character is "Italian rather than "classical. All these projects arose from the Victorians
thirst for knowledge about foreign lands, past times and exotic cultures.
The Victorians also had a passion for ideal works, representing subjects from mythology and literature. Ideal works were usually placed in the home but,
as in the case of John Thomas Night and Day at Somerlyton Hall, were sometimes placed in gardens. Excellent examples of ideal works survive in the Palm
House at Sefton Park, including Highland Mary and Angels Whisper by Benjamin Edward Spence, modelled on characters from Robert Burns and Thomas Moore.
Highland Mary, inspired by Burns song, is an lovely example of an ideal work:
How sweetly bloomd the gay green birk!
How rich the hawthorns blossom!
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I claspd her to my bosom!
The golden hours, on angel wings,
Flew oer me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life,
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
The New Sculpture of the late nineteenth century was concerned with the representation of ideas, and was well suited to outdoor display. Disappointingly
little was placed in private gardens, but there are some successful examples in public parks, including George Framptons Peter Pan (Figure 6) and G.F.
Watts Physical Energy in Kensington Gardens, and William Hamo Thornycrofts Sower in Kew Gardens. Reginald Blomfield and F. Inigo Thomas, both closely
associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, published a book on The Formal Garden in England. The terraces and courtyards that they advocated led to
many opportunities for the display of garden sculpture. One of the most interesting projects was Barrow Court. Inigo Thomas designed the gardens and introduced
Alfred Drury. Drury was a brilliant sculptor and made twelve busts, one for each pier of the railings round the semicircular entrance court. They represented
the twelve months of the year by showing the life cycle of a girl from infancy to old age. Arts and Crafts sculptors were attracted to animal sculpture,
and many examples found their way into gardens.
A new generation of sculptors and garden designers came to the fore in the 1930s. They were influenced by the Modern Movement in art and design, and hoped
to create a startlingly new abstract art. English sculptors, led by Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson, became leaders in this new art. But English garden designers
had scant success in attracting the public to the abstract style of garden design, though it was widely adopted in continental Europe and the Americas.
In England it remained a style for architects and their more avant garde clients. At Bentley Wood in Sussex, the purest example of a Modern Movement garden
in England, the house was designed by Serge Chermayef, an architect, for himself, and the garden by Christopher Tunnard, who wrote an influential book
on the future of garden design. The plan of the garden was influenced by a Henry Moore sculpture, his Recumbent Figure, which stood in the garden.
Modern sculpture can be difficult to place in gardens, because it is less well understood than classical sculpture. The shock of the new persists. But much
can be learned from the ideas of leading sculptors. The Japanese -American sculptor Isamu Nogucci hardly distinguished between the two arts. His courtyard
for the library at Yale University can be regarded either as sculpture or as a sculpture garden. Nogucci wrote that "I like to think of gardens as [the]
sculpturing of space. So should we.
Henry Moore, at the start of his career, felt uneasy about placing sculpture in gardens. He felt that a sculpture lost its independence by becoming part
of a garden design, and he remembered the old days when sculptors had worked to the dictat of architects. But he loved to place sculpture in the landscape
and, towards the end of his life, placed a considerable number of works in his own garden (Figure 7). Anthony Caro remarked that "sculpture... more often
than not spoils the landscape. This may be because his own constructions represent abstract space, which can conflict with an existing space. In gardens,
it is likely to be the space itself, rather than a sculpture, which is the primary work of art.
Modern sculpture makes use of a great range of materials, which behave in different ways out of doors. Coloured fibreglass tends to fade, and the fibreglass
itself is gradually decayed by ultraviolet light. Wood is a natural material for outdoor use. It must be expected to change and decay, but this can be
regarded as part of the sculptures nature. Mild steel, as used by Anthony Caro and others, is prone to rust unless painted or galvanized. Stainless steel,
if it is of the best quality, will retain its high polish indefinitely. Ceramic sculpture is extremely durable. Fresh materials can certainly be placed
in gardens. A new marriage between sculpture and garden design would inject vitality into both arts.
The sculpture garden and the art gallery are similar ideas.
For millennia, art was the handmaiden of religion. The idea of building a separate gallery in which to collect works of art is modern, in the sence of post-renaissance.
When art freed itself from religion, it became an adjunct to interior design. Pictures were placed on walls to please the owner, while also displying his
wealth and taste. Sculptures were placed in gardens for similar reasons - and as an adjunct to garden design.
Abstract art, in the twentieth century, marked a further liberation of art from its context. White box galleries were built to make context free locations
for works of art. The advent of Installation Art is reversing this trend: artists and sculptors now wish to contextualize their art by installing it
in a specific location.
Sculpture Gardens and Sculpture Parks developed as the outbox equivalents of White Box galleries - and are also being affected by the advent of Installation
The happiest outcome might be if the Sculpture Gardens disappeared - and sculpture returned to its roots, as a component of garden design.
Few will deny the charm of a perfect rosebed. Even if the owner does have to apply regular dressings of fertilizer, insecticide, fungicide and herbicide,
the effect on the global environment will not be excessive. But there is another way of gardening, which could improve the global environment were it widely
adopted. Some may think it a style for sandal wearing vegetarians, but the gardens it produces have a sweet charm that escapes the high tech gardener.
Conservation is an inspiring theme. Like the sundial, it gives a sense of perspective. Unlike the sundial, it provides an opportunity to influence the
future of the world.
"When are you going to cut the grass, darling? is the question that disturbs the peace of too many summer afternoons. So do the whines and grumbles of
motor mowers. Next time the question is asked may be a good time to sit back and consider how much of your grass really has to be "cut, how often, and
by what means. To judge from the books, being a "lawn expert is a matter of cutting, rolling, fertilizing, spiking, scarifying, watering, and applying
selective weedkillers. The story is told of an American who asked the old gardener in an English stately home about the secret of his success. "Well Guv,
came the reply, "yer mows it once a day, and yer rolls it once a week. And after yrve done that for a undred years - yer does it regular. No doubt he
used a sharp, well oiled, hand-mower. It is still possible to purchase a high-quality hand machine and enjoy something of Old Adams delight in a perfect
lawn. The exercise is good, and must be regular. The sound of a hand mower is a counterpoint to the owners breathing. It conserves fossil fuels and saves
one from the indignity of an exercise bicycle.
The poetic alternative to the experts lawn (Figure 8) is the wildflower meadow (Figure 9). There, as Swinburn put it, "tides of grass break into foam of
flowers. The grand old man of wild gardening, William Robinson, once asked "Who would not rather see the waving grass with countless flowers than a close
shaven surface without a bloom?. As the possessor of a fine Victorian beard, he was fond of remarking that shaving your face is as foolish as shaving
your grass. Meadows are undoubtedly good for conservation. However small the area, it is pleasant to look out on a habitat for birds and bees, caterpillars
and butterflies, cow parsley, mallow and knapweed. One of the most beautiful effects in gardens is the contrast between mown and unmown grass.
It is a wonder that more people do not devote larger areas of their gardens to fruit. The crop is unlikely to look as perfect as supermarket fruit but the
flavour should be better, and one can be sure that no dangerous chemicals will have been applied. Fruiting plants are very good at making green leaves,
and ornamental plants often look best with a backdrop of green. There is something unsettling about a garden where a majority of the leaves are yellow,
purple, grey, light green, or dark green, instead of classic "leaf green. If one doesnt succeed in harvesting all the fruit, it will be more popular
with birds and insects than berries from the cotoneaster and berberis, as recommended in some books on wildlife gardening.
"Thou shalt make compost unceasingly was the first commandment of environmental gardening. The cry went up long before "pollution and "conservation became
vogue words, and the humble compost heap remains the best example of a recycling project. The world would be a better place if cities could find ways of
recycling a larger proportion of their organic wastes. Compost contains both organic matter, which provides good physical conditions for plant growth,
and a better range of nutrients than any chemical fertilizer.
The substitutes that garden centres offer for well made compost too often cause environmental damage. Artificial fertilizers are washed out of the soil
and find their way into rivers, lakes and water supplies. Nitrates are particularly harmful. In rivers, they cause an excess growth of algae, fatal to
other wildlife. In water supplies, nitrates are accused of aggravating various diseases. Peat is an off the shelf solution to a lack of soil organic matter.
It does no particular harm to the place where it is applied, but considerable harm to the places from which it is removed. Gardeners who like to conserve
their bank balances might also reflect that peat is an expensive commodity, which lasts for a very short time in the soil.
Ethical considerations affect another material that is common in gardens: timber. In the eighteenth century, most good-quality garden furniture was made
of oak. It was the only durable hardwood, and it acquires a soft silvery sheen out of doors. Where it is rubbed, oak takes on a faint polish, redolent
of peace and tranquility. Tropical hardwoods have now taken the place of oak in the manufacture of garden furniture. Many are of excellent quality, even
more durable than oak, but their use has provoked an avalanche of protest from the environmental lobby. It is objected that tropical timbers come from
rainforest clearance, which is unjust to the native Indian populations and will cause permanent harm to the global ecosystem. If this were the case, I
certainly would not want the booty in my garden.
The climax vegetation of most town gardens is deciduous forest. Other plants require special management to survive, using physical and chemical techniques.
It is the chemicals that are suspect from an environmental point of view. There are other ways. One alternative is to become knowledgeable about the natural
history of garden pests. It is an absorbing subject and adds another layer of interest to gardens. Without this knowledge, flower borders may become killing
fields for insects and small mammals. The infamous agent orange, which was once used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam, was developed for agricultural
and horticultural purposes. Many gardeners practice chemical warfare on a proportionately larger scale in their back gardens. Snails and aphids are a case
in point. In the countryside, insecticides have make great inroads into the butterfly population. In gardens, insecticides kill the aphids chief predator,
ladybirds. Another way of controlling aphids is to encourage the ladybird population. If particular plants remain infested, possibly because ants are using
them as aphid farms, one can resort to an old fashioned aphid brush or a modern high pressure hose.
A new neighbour once asked, with shambling apologies, if I would mind if he asked a question about my wife. My consent was given: "Well, er, could you tell
me why she crawls around the garden in the dark with a torch?. "Thinking of the plants and collecting snails, I told him. While good gardeners keep their
knees on the earth, ideas can link them to the great universe.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardeners work is done upon his knees
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden, it shall never pass away!
Abstract Style 1920
See Thumbnail diagrams
Use: The Abstract Style , like the Modern Movement itself, grew out of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Corbusier said the house should be a machine for living.
The garden became a place for outdoor life - and an exercise ground for machinery: motor mowers, concrete mixers, electric pumps, cultivators, sprays and
other gadgets. This enabled owners to undertake as much of the maintenance work as they pleased, even in large gardens.
: The lines of the machine age became apparent. Twentieth century garden designes have been inspired by the shapes and patterns of Abstract Art. The rectilinear
geometry of the de Stijl movement, of Mondrian and of Nicholson has influenced the design of paving and walls, while the curvilinear geometry of paving
and planting has been influenced by Moore, Miro, Brancusi and Arp. Steel, concrete, glass and white-painted wood.
Hyeres Parc St Bernard (Jardin de la villa Noailles),
Jac P Thijsse Park,
Jardines del Rio Turia,
La Defense Paris,
Louisiana Art Museum,
Mien Ruys Tuinen,
Oakland Museum of California and Gardens,
Parc de Bercy,
Parque do Museu Calouste Gulbenkian,
Parque Guell Barcelona,
Stockholm Park System,
Stuttgarts Green U,
Postmodern Style 1972
See Thumbnail diagrams
: Postmodern ideas encourage garden owners to deconstruct their preconceptions and think in fresh ways. The garden is used to experiment with new materials
and new geometries, to site concrete poetry, to place a steaming tub, to build a glass room, to grow non-traditional plants, to transform a pavement into
a fountain. Above all, it can be used to overlay uses and ideas in a multi-faceted postmodern structural composition. Towards the end of the twentieth
century, the style was used to win design competitions.
: Geometrically, postmodernism is associated with a layered and deconstructive geometry. Rectangles clash with circles and are interscected by hapazard
diagonals, as in a Russian constructivist painting. Steel and concrete structures are painted in bright colours. Glass and other reflective surfaces help
create illusions and startling visual effects.
Duisburg Nord Landschaftspark,
Jardin Albert Kahn,
Jardin Atlantique Paris,
Jardin des Halles,
Parc Andre Citroen Paris,
Parc de la Villette Paris,