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Thapathali Campus

Department of Architecture
Introduction to Landscape Architecture

Ar. Yam Rai

What is Landscape Architecture?
• Landscape architecture is concerned with the design
of outdoor space using three basic elements.
1. Landform
2. Water
3. Vegetation

• The term Landscape Architecture was first used in a

book published by Gilbert Laing Meason in 1828.
• In 1863, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux,
the designers of New York’s Central Park, established
a new profession in America- Landscape Architect
What is Landscape Architecture?
• In 1970, Harvard became the 1st university to offer a
professional training program in landscape architecture.
• Later in 1971, Norman T. Newton, wrote in “Design on
the land” that landscape architecture is “the art or
science of arranging land, together with the spaces and
objects upon it for safe, efficient, healthful, pleasant
human use”.
• The International Federation of Landscape Architecture
(IFLA) defines the landscape architect as one who: plans
and designs the aesthetic layout of land areas for
projects such as parks and other recreational facilities,
roads, commercial, industrial, residential sites and
public buildings with site conditions being studied.
What is Landscape Architecture?
"Landscape architecture is the profession which
applies artistic and scientific principles to the
research, planning, design and management of both
natural and built environments. Practitioners of this
profession apply creative and technical skills and
scientific, cultural and political knowledge in the
planned arrangement of natural and constructed
elements on the land with a concern for the
stewardship and conservation of natural, constructed
and human resources. The resulting environments
shall serve useful, aesthetic, safe and enjoyable
- The American Society of Landscape Architects
What is Landscape Architecture?
• Landscape Architects design outdoor spaces to serve
specific purposes and meet certain needs of the users.
Garden of Dreams
Centennial Olympic Park – Atlanta, US
Difference between Gardening and Landscape
• Gardening is an ancient art
• Landscape architect is a modern profession
• Both gardening and landscaping are mainly concerned
with the design of outdoor spaces
• However, gardening can be done by anyone but
landscaping is practiced mostly by professionals and
landscape architects (Can also be done by anyone with
a keen interest and basic knowledge)
• Gardening is usually hobby or interest but landscaping is
designed to achieve a desired aesthetic – purpose built
Scope of the Profession
It includes:
1. Urban Design
2. Site Planning
3. Storm water management
4. Town or urban planning
5. Environmental restoration
6. Parks and recreational planning
7. Visual resource management
8. Green infrastructure planning and provision
9. Private estate and residence landscape master
planning and design
All at varying scales of design, planning and management
Multi-disciplinary field
It incorporates aspects of:
• Botany
• Horticulture
• The fine arts
• Architecture
• Industrial design
• Geology
• The earth sciences
• Environmental Psychology
• Geography
• Ecology
Scope of work
• Creation of public parks and parkways to site planning
for campuses and corporate office parks
• Design of residential estates to the design of civil
• Management of large wilderness areas or reclamation
of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills
• Landscape architects work on all types of structures
and external space - large or small, urban, suburban
and rural, and with "hard" (built) and "soft" (planted)
materials, while integrating ecological sustainability
Scope of work
Scope of work
• The most valuable contribution can be made at the first
stage of a project to generate ideas with technical
understanding and creative flair for the design,
organization, and use of spaces.
• The landscape architect can conceive
 the overall concept and prepare the master plan,
from which detailed design drawings and technical
specifications are prepared
• Other skills include preparing design impact assessments,
conducting environmental assessments and audits, and
serving as an expert witness at inquiries on land use
Value of Landscape Design
• Designing exterior areas to improve visual appeal and
Value of Landscape Design
• Quality landscape architectural design and
implementation also improve the quality of life for our
people and visitors.
Value of Landscape Design
• Landscape design can become an element in increasing
the values of the house
Landscape Elements
1. Hard landscape Elements
2. Soft landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
• Civil work component of landscape architecture such as
pavement, walkways, roads, retaining walls, sculpture,
street amenities, fountains and other built environment
• The importance of soft landscaping is well recognised but
yet it can be the hard landscaping (the walls, fences and
surfaces) which dictates the character of the spaces we
• Usually, hard landscape is employed in an earlier stage of
landscaping in order to get the form and space for soft
landscaping later on.
Hard Landscape Elements
• Create links between buildings
• Enclose space
• Create a ‘theme’ within a development
• Define private areas
• Give security to private areas
• Cater for pedestrian or vehicular movement
• Deter pedestrian or vehicular movement
• Assist people with disabilities
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements

Westin Awaji Hotel (Tadao Ando)

Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
Choosing Materials
• Materials to be selected not only for their appearance
but also for their ability to withstand the use to which they
are being put.
• Use of appropriate, good quality and durable materials
will frequently reduce long-term maintenance costs
whereas the use of an inappropriate material (low initial
cost) is often a false economy.
• Materials should enhance the surrounding buildings
• Is it appropriate for the proposed use?
Hard Landscape Elements
• Appropriately designed walls can greatly enhance the
appearance of new developments by physically and
visually linking them to the established street scene.
• Serpentine walls which comprise a series of curves on
plan can provide visual interest as well as structural ability
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
• Closed fences provide more effective screening and
security but can become visually obtrusive unless
combined with substantial soft landscaping
• Simple timber fences used around gardens in rural areas,
though do not provide a complete visual or security
barrier, they do mark boundaries and deter encroachment
in a very pleasing manner.
Hard Landscape Elements
• Piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or
jets it into the air to supply drinking water and/or for a
decorative or dramatic effect
• Used to beautify and coordinate public squares in cities
• One of the attractive elements of coordination in the
Hard Landscape Elements
• Selecting the right size for your fountain so it will be
proportionate to its surroundings and your building
Hard Landscape Elements
• Factors to consider when choosing the best location for a
fountain includes the style of your garden, want to use
fountain as a focal point
• Proximity to electricity for operating a water pump
Hard Landscape Elements
• Most popular fountain materials include cast stone, fiber
glass, ceramic and metal
• Fountain along the centre of the park or close to the end
of the original axis placed
Hard Landscape Elements
Stone Benches
• Are available in 3 piece construction to add interest and
functionality to your park, garden or yard
• Stone garden furniture is alluring which can add aesthetic
charm and functionality to an outdoor space
• Suits any purpose as they are available in classic and
contemporary styles
Hard Landscape Elements
Stone Benches
Hard Landscape Elements
• They are a vertical structure in a landscape or garden
that can provide shelter, privacy, shade and serve as an
• They can be constructed from wood or wrought iron &
can be a do-it-yourself project
• Consists of two or four posts with a simple slatted roof
• The side of an arbor can be open or covered with lattice
or trellis work for more enclosed effect & to help vines
better attach
• Serve many functions from providing shade, to anchoring
paths and gate ways and for adding height to the garden
Hard Landscape Elements
• When designing an arbor consider repeating
architectural details of your building. This will help tie
together the building with the landscape
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
• Main function of gate is to divide, separating the inside
from the outside
• On the other hand, it is also the only connecting
element, guiding people to a certain point, where the
inside & outside gets unified.
• The design is not just about the link of the inside with the
outside, but also about the connection of its visitors – the
gate as an area of gathering, instead of a point of passing
Hard Landscape Elements
Hard Landscape Elements
Textures and Colours
• Textures and colours of materials should be carefully
selected to create a desired effect rather than being used
at random
• For eg: Garden walls built in the same colour brick as the
dwellings can give consistency to an area.
• Changes in texture and colours can be used to good
effect to denote changes of function
Hard Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
• The natural elements in landscape design, such as plant
materials and the soil itself.
• Process of designing the elements of a landscape that do
not involve construction.
• These elements include trees, shrubs, and flowers, as
well as container gardens, potted plants, and hanging
Soft Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
1. Functional and structural characteristics- Plants create
landscape structure which both defines spaces and
serves their function
2. Visual and other sensory- Plants create an enormous
wealth of aesthetic characteristics, the appearance of
their twigs, bark, flower and fruit, fragrance of flower
and aromatic foliage, the physical texture of bark and
3. Plant growth habit and cultural requirement- planting
design can help us make the best use of our
environment, restore balance between people, nature
and in some extent to the wild life
Soft Landscape Elements
4. Trees- Barriers formed with plants are needed in
landscape for screening unpleasant views, for dividing up
the landscape into spaces, for providing shelter from wind,
for protection against pollution, for defining boundaries
5. Shrubs- impenetrability is essential unless the barrier is
for visual purpose, thus the twigs or thorns are considered
as an advantage, to create line effects
6. Ground covers and grasses- Provide variety of texture
and colour, reduce soil erosion and serve as a transition
between grass areas and shrub or flower beds
Soft Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
Soft Landscape Elements
Hard & soft Landscape
• The design is not complete without the presence of
elements of both categories
• Through design one must demonstrate the harmony and
balance between them in highlighting all of them and in
most cases this is a measure of the success of the design
and the idea put forward
• The objective is to combine both hardscape and
softscape features to give the yard the right balance.
• Harmony is key, as you don’t want a yard with plenty of
walkways but no vegetation to complement it.