The History of Landscape Design

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Evolution of Landscape Design

Landscape design is one part science and two parts art form. Landscape architects and contractors fully understand that their mission is to create an appealing exterior for clients to enjoy while outside, and to admire when inside. Eye-catching features and flowing harmony should be on display during any season.

Centuries ago, people began to realize the inherent beauty, value, and tranquility of developing and tending gardens. No longer growing vegetation simply for food, new landscapers recognized that plant cultivation was a cooperation with Nature that allowed individuals to observe nature, animals, and insects close up. Gardens provided a place to relax, reflect and entertain

Landscape Design: The Challenge

As landscape designers and contractors are well aware, many factors affect the planning of a landscape project. Elements such as soil types, climate, topography, drainage, groundwater, native plants, and irrigation are the fundamental considerations. Other human related issues include traffic patterns, “fixed” elements, fences, lighting, and, of course, permit and zoning issues.

Landscape Design Over the Centuries: The Art

Gardenvisit.com’s The Landscape Guide offers a historical view of the development of landscaping design that has changed over the last centuries. Here’s a brief review.

Pre-1800s: Naturally, before the ages of more advanced technology, landscaping was simply a manual process with little advance “drawing board” planning. With few exceptions, landscapers tended to allow their creations to evolve, adding and removing as they deemed necessary. Of course, many classic and historic gardens evolved over centuries in such places as China, Japan, England, Egypt, and even Babylon among others.

1800-1900: Around 1800, the idea of a preliminary sketch using a drawing board or “clean hands” planning approach began. Master plans and 2-dimensional drawings became the norm with other artists and craftsmen, creators of new devices and more elaborate food presentations. Landscape designers used this pre-design approach well before picking up a shovel.

1900-1972: During this period, landscaping’s era of “modernism” evolved to encompass more than gardens and lawns. Vast projects like office parks, retail malls, and massive housing developments sprung up that involved geometric designs for carefully placed trees and shrubs surrounded by megatons of concrete and asphalt.

Post-1972: The computer age has moved landscape design from 2-dimensional planning to 3-dimensional visualization. In fact, the 4th-dimension, time, can simulate changing seasons in a landscape design. Computer simulations also create a range of perspectives to envision how elements appear from any vantage point.

 

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