garden and landscape design

garden and landscape design


      the development and decorative planting of gardens, yards, grounds, parks, and other types of areas. Gardening and landscape design is used to enhance the settings for buildings and public areas and in recreational areas and parks. It is one of the decorative arts and is allied to architecture, city planning, and horticulture.

      The vegetated landscape that covered most of the Earth's continents before humans began to build still surrounds and penetrates even the largest metropolises. Efforts to design gardens and to preserve and develop green open space in and around cities are efforts to maintain contact with the original pastoral, rural landscape. Gardens and designed landscapes, by filling the open areas in cities, create a continuity in space between structural urban landscapes and the open rural landscapes beyond. Moreover, gardens and designed landscapes have a special type of continuity in time. Buildings, paintings, and sculpture may survive longer than specific plants, but the constant cyclical growth and change in plants provide a continuous time dimension that static structures and sculpture can never achieve.

      This article discusses the functional aspects of landscaping, the aesthetic and physical components of design, the various kinds of private and public design, and the role and development of gardening in human history.

Functions and concerns of garden and landscape design

Aspects of landscape architecture
      Garden and landscape design is a substantial part but by no means all of the work of the profession of landscape architecture. Defined as “the art of arranging land and the objects upon it for human use and enjoyment,” landscape architecture includes also site planning, land planning, master planning, urban design, and environmental planning. Site planning involves plans for specific developments in which precise arrangements of buildings, roadways, utilities, landscape elements, topography, water features, and vegetation are shown. Land planning is for larger scale developments involving subdivision into several or many parcels, including analyses of land and landscape, feasibility studies for economic, social, political, technical, and ecological constraints, and detailed site plans as needed. Master planning is for land use, conservation, and development at still larger scales, involving comprehensive areas or units of landscape topography or comprehensive systems such as open space, park-recreation, water and drainage, transportation, or utilities. Urban design (urban planning) is the planning and designing of the open-space components of urbanized areas; it involves working with architects on the building patterns, engineers on the traffic and utility patterns, graphic and industrial designers on street furniture, signs, and lighting, planners on overall land use and circulation, economists on economic feasibility, and sociologists on social feasibility, needs, and desires. Environmental (environment) planning is for natural or urbanized regions or substantial areas within them, in which the impact of development upon land and natural systems, their capacity to carry and sustain development, or their needs for preservation and conservation are analyzed exhaustively and developed as constraints upon urban design and master, land, and site planning. Within this framework of comprehensive survey, study, analysis, planning, and design of the continuous environment, garden and landscape design represents the final, detailed, precise, intensive refinement and implementation of all previous plans.

      Ideally all of these planning and design phases follow one another closely in a continuous sequential process, but this rarely happens. Various levels of planning and design are performed by different people at different times; often the more comprehensive phases are not performed at all or are performed in an oversimplified manner. The wise gardener or landscape architect, therefore, always begins with a careful analysis of conditions surrounding his project.

      Garden and landscape design deals with the treatment of land areas not covered by buildings, when those areas are considered important to visual experience, with or without utilitarian function. Typically, these land areas are of four types: those closely related to single buildings, such as front yards, side yards, and backyards, or more extensive grounds; those around and between groups of buildings such as campuses, civic and cultural centres, commercial and industrial complexes; those bordering and paralleling transportation and utility corridors such as parkways, freeways, waterways, power easements; and park-recreation open-space areas and systems. These areas may be of any size, from small urban courtyards and suburban gardens to many thousands of acres of regional, state, or national parks. Although usually conceived as vegetated green spaces on natural ground, they can include also playgrounds, urban plazas, covered malls, roof gardens, and decks, which may be almost entirely formed by construction and paving.

      Garden and landscape design, therefore, works with a wide range of natural and processed materials capable of holding up well in the specific local climatic conditions of the site. These materials include earth, rock, water, and plants, either existing on the site or brought in; and construction materials such as concrete, stone, brick, wood, tile, metal, and glass.

Art, science, and nature
      Garden and landscape design is uniquely concerned with direct relations among art, science, and nature. It operates exactly at the frontier between man and nature, developing transitional connecting zones between the outside limits of buildings and engineering structures and the natural forms and processes that surround them. This is true for large houses and gardens in the country, for regional parks at the edges of cities, for urban and suburban gardens, for urban plazas and roof decks; it is true wherever soil exists to be treated, wherever it may be brought in to fill containers, wherever open spaces are exposed to the weather.

      If garden and landscape design is concerned with the relations between mankind and nature, it is largely determined by one or the other of the conflicting philosophies about how human beings do or should relate to nature. People know that they are biologically and physiologically the products of natural evolution; yet their great technological accomplishments lead them to feel that they are above, beyond, or outside nature, that they have conquered and dominated the wilderness and have it now within their power to remake the world. Every work of garden and landscape design reflects one or the other of these conflicting attitudes. The Japanese garden, for example, is inspired by the notion of mankind as a part of nature; the Renaissance garden, by the idea that humans are nature's masters. Garden and landscape design thus reveals much about a culture and a period. One result of the impact of the late 20th-century environmental movement on design in the West may be the emergence of design values that seek the integration of the human and the natural rather than their separation.

      Garden and landscape design is an art insofar as it creates for people experiences that uplift their spirits, expand their vision, and invigorate their lives. It is a science insofar as it develops precise knowledge of its processes and materials. And it is directly related to and expressive of nature insofar as it incorporates natural materials and scenes. When the preservation of natural landscape is primary, as in a regional park, art and science manifest themselves in the skill and sensitivity with which necessary facilities and changes are related to the natural landscape. At the other extreme, in an urban plaza, trees in boxes or openings in the paving may be the only natural elements; art and science then are manifested in the design and construction of the total plaza, including its display of trees as symbols of nature, as pleasing forms, and as sources of shade.

      Art, science, and nature become most intimately interlocked in certain aspects of horticulture expressed in designed gardens and landscapes: in improved varieties of herbaceous and woody plants; in the cultural practices that stimulate their maximum contributions to the scene; and in the techniques and skills for directing and reshaping the forms of plants—in a range from trimmed hedges and topiary (careful sculptural cutting), through espaliered (espalier) (trained to grow flat against a wall or trellis) and pollarded (pollarding) (cut back to the trunk to promote a dense head of foliage) trees, to ultimate refinements such as the Japanese practice of removing individual needles from pine trees.

      No doubt much art recognizes, expresses, or symbolizes nature in some way. Only the arts of garden and landscape, however, produce works in which nature participates directly with more processed forms and materials.

      As in most other arts, garden and landscape design must solve not only aesthetic but also technical and functional problems. Gardens are for horticulture as well as for viewing, parks are for active recreation as well as for passive relaxation. The surface of the earth must be covered to prevent erosion, dust in summer, and mud in winter. Water persists in running downhill, and even light garden structures must have adequate footings.

      This does not mean, however, that there is an inherent or inevitable conflict between utility and beauty. Such conflicts usually develop either because the designer tries to carry out an aesthetic concept that ignores the technical and functional requirements of the problem or because the program is so demanding technically, functionally, or economically that it eliminates aesthetic considerations from the design process. In most garden and landscape design situations it is necessary first to evaluate the technical conditions and functional demands and then to derive from them design concepts that resolve them.


Aesthetic components
      The traditional elements of design are space; mass; line, or outline; colour; light and shade; texture; scent; and time, as related to climate, season, and growth factors.

      Space is air or atmospheric volume defined by physical elements and man's visual imagination. Space has floors: earth, rock, grass, low planting, concrete, asphalt, stone, brick, wood, carpet, tile, linoleum. It has sides or walls: topography, rock, vegetation, vertical structures. And it has ceilings: treetops, structural coverage, or the sky. The most easily understood spaces are the rooms, terraces, patios, and gardens of private residences. A room is defined precisely and unavoidably by floor, walls, and ceiling, particularly with doors closed and windows draped. Beyond these rooms there are the streets, squares, plazas, parks, and public buildings of the city. An urban plaza surrounded by major buildings likewise has positive floors and walls, with sky for ceiling. The fields, meadows, orchards, groves, forests, plains, lakes, river and stream valleys, hills, and mountains of the wider landscape have less precise and regular enclosures. Patios may have fences and walls, gardens hedges and trellises, but in parks there are loose spaces of many soft sizes and forms, defined by trees, ground forms, and shrubbery masses. And in the open landscape there are many different apparent space scales, from the intimate, small farming scenes of New England, Portugal, or Japan to the almost limitless panoramas of the Great Plains, Southwest deserts, or Rocky Mountains. In all of these, space is defined by ground or floor surfaces below, obstacles that block vision horizontally or terminate it at the horizon, and sky overhead. Man's sense of space in all of them results partly from what he actually sees and partly from his imaginative extension, interpretation, and structuring of what he actually sees. Thus, a sand dune, a rock, and a cactus may become a “room” in the desert, while the entire Yosemite Valley is a great room housing thousands of people.

      Mass is the opposite of space. They define each other and depend upon each other for visual existence. Mass may be topographical earth forms, rock outcrops and boulders, trees and shrub groups, buildings, and water forms—streams, lakes, or waterfalls. These are masses in the larger landscape, even though they also incorporate spaces within themselves. Trees, shrubs, and buildings have multiple spaces within them, even though they read as masses from outside. Water forms contain spaces for divers and aquatic life, but of a different density.

      Line in the landscape may be the sharp edge of paving, structure, or rock; the boundary between two different surface materials, as grass and ivy; the edge of a shadow; or the silhouette outline of any three-dimensional form, such as a rock, plant, or building. Whatever its source, a line in the landscape plays an important role in the way man sees, interprets, and relates to the scene. A line may lead the eye into the distance, around a corner and out of the scene, or around the scene and back again, holding the viewer within it. It is similar to the role of lines in a painting, holding the viewer within or leading him out of the composition. In a landscape, however, the function of lines is vastly more complicated and difficult to predict. The pattern—that is, the form created by lines—is three-dimensional in any given scene that is viewed. It is four-dimensional in that a spectator continues to move through the landscape over periods of time. The pattern changes throughout each day because of the changing light and shade patterns produced by the movement of the earth around the sun. And the pattern is never exactly the same on one day as on any previous day, because of changes in the weather, the seasons, and the elements of the landscape. Buildings, topography, and rocks may be maintained almost the same for substantial periods of time; but vegetation changes constantly, with both seasonal adjustments and annual growth. That is one reason why landscapes without vegetation seem static, lifeless, and monotonous.

      Colour gives physical landscapes that final dimension of real life, definition, and interest. Spring blossoms and fresh green leaves, after the cold barrenness of winter, herald a new season of vitality and fun. After the deep and stable green of summer, fall colours mark a last resurgence of liveliness before the winter barrenness sets in again. The apparent sizes and forms of landscape spaces change with each such seasonal change: bright colours advance, dull colours recede, changing apparent distances.

      Structural colours, too, affect the apparent sizes and forms of landscape spaces. Most obvious is the negative effect of bright billboards upon quiet landscapes. To most people billboards seem destructive and arbitrary intrusions; they do not grow out of the scene but are forced onto it. Yet man-made forms—even billboards—can be made to appear to be a part of nature to the extent that they are designed to harmonize with the existing scene.

      The aim of the garden and landscape designer is to combine the strong, artificial colours of paint and structure with the softer and more subdued grays, greens, browns, and blues of nature as well as with seasonal outbursts of the purest and truest colours in the world.

      Colour varies by hue, the actual colour from the colour wheel; by value, the strength of the colours, bright or pale; the tone or grayness, how pure they are or how grayed by admixture with other colours; by the way that light and shade play on them; and by the texture, smooth or rough, of the surface they are on. All of these factors are taken into account by the garden and landscape designer.

light and shade
      Because the sun—and, to a lesser extent, the moon, stars, fire, and artificial lighting—has the property of casting shadows, landscape design, in placing trees, structures, and other elements on the land, must always take into consideration the light and shade resulting from such placement.

      Light and shade are not the same in all parts of a country or the world. Light is welcome in cool, gray, northern climates, shade in hot, bright, desert or tropical regions. In the clear air of unspoiled deserts, man sees so far that he loses all sense of size, scale, and distance; in the foggy humidity of the western coasts of Europe and North America distances seen and objects perceived change from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour, so that one lives with a continuing sense of mystery and variety. Landscape design must, ideally, remain sensitive to and work carefully with the light and shade relations that are most desirable in each different region or subregion.

      Texture—the smoothness or roughness of surfaces—is another element of landscape design. It is perceived primarily by touch, although through vision one approximates the textures of different surfaces and imagines how they would feel. The surface texture of the earth may vary from fine sand or silt to coarse clods, gravel, or boulders. The texture of plant coverage may vary from fine bent grasses through coarser meadow grasses to brush, ivy, or cactus. Wall surfaces range from the smoothness of glass and plaster to the roughness of brick, stone, or rough-sawn lumber.

      Tactile textures must be experienced intimately. Visual textures may be experienced at any distance. Farther away, larger elements participate in texture effects; at medium distances the foliage of trees and the size of rocks create textural qualities; from an airplane or hilltop the size and arrangement of buildings, topographic forms, masses of vegetation, or water create textural effects.

      Scent is a delicate and subtle element in landscape experience, often lost to 20th-century man because of widespread pollution of the air with foul-smelling exhaust and waste gases. The fragrance of flower and fruit is one of the traditional delights of garden and park, still attainable through sensitive selection and arrangement of plants.

      Unlike the static continuity of architectural and urban monuments, garden and landscape spaces are dependent on maintenance, which determines whether the form envisioned by the original designers will endure or change over decades or centuries. The Saihō-ji garden and many others in Japan continue today in much the same form as they began because of continuing maintenance. On the other hand, the inadequate maintenance of the Renaissance gardens—designed as geometric architectural abstractions, to which plant forms were made to conform by clipping and trimming—has allowed many of the larger plants to resume their natural forms. The results, however pleasant, are not what the designers envisioned. Instead of hundreds of years, the typical suburban garden in the United States has a predictable life of about five years. Ownership or tenancy tends to change in that cycle, with unpredictable results in the garden.

      Time and climate are closely interrelated in their effects on garden and landscape spaces. Because relations between temperature and moisture, light and shade, change (season) daily throughout the year, every region and locality on earth—in fact, every building site—has its own climate, unlike any other. Therefore, garden and landscape design for every region, locality, and site may be expected to be different. Nevertheless, climates can be generalized in certain broad categories that are similar, though not identical, over large areas of the earth.

      Climatic factors having major impact on garden and landscape design are temperature range (hot to cold), precipitation range (high to low, rain to snow), their combinations (hot, wet summers; hot, dry summers; cold, wet winters; cold, dry winters; and so on), growing season (year around in the tropics, a few weeks in the Arctic), atmospheric humidity (clear air or clouds, fog, mist) and its effects on visibility and light–shade patterns, air movement (winds, breezes) and its effect on the other factors (cooling in hot weather, chilling in cold, moving clouds and fog).

      The combination of all of these factors affects how one sees the landscape (bright, clear desert distances; soft, mysterious, changeable foggy landscapes), what one expects from design (shade from the sun, protection from the wind, shelter from rain and snow), and how one designs gardens and landscapes. The patios, cloisters, and oases of Mediterranean and Middle East regions, the romantic naturalistic parks of Europe, China, and eastern North America, the esoteric garden abstractions of Japan—all of these different approaches to design were inspired partly by the particular qualities of the landscape climate in which they developed.

      Time and natural light are, of course, intimately interlocked in the daily cycle of night and day, in the seasonal cycles (light is different in summer and winter because of differences in temperature and humidity), and in the annual cycles (long days in summer, short days in winter).

      Time, climate, and season are all reflected in garden and landscape in the growth and change of plants. In the tropics, growth is constant and taken for granted, a problem of control. As growing seasons become shorter in the north and south or at higher elevations, they become more precious. In far northern and southern latitudes the short summer is a period of rejoicing and outdoor activity. A tree that will mature in five to ten years in Southern California or Florida will require 30 to 40 years in the North Central states. Spring blossoms, fall colour, the change from summer green to winter's exposed branch structures, all of these mark the seasonal changes clearly and strongly in the Eastern United States, in Europe, and in other temperate areas.

      The basic principles of design deal with the arrangement or organization of the elements, as expressed in specific materials, on a specific site. The site—a piece of land, with surface form and internal content—may in itself require reshaping. On it will be placed—or may already exist—buildings, roads, minor structures, trees, shrubs, ground-cover planting, water elements, rocks.

      The elements of design are contained in these individual components and in specific relations that may develop among them on a particular site. The principles of design—which deal with overall relations—are unity and variety, rhythm and balance, accent and contrast, scale and proportion, and composite three-dimensional spatial form.

Unity and variety
      Unity and variety are derived from the number of elements, or kinds of material, within a given visual area and from the way they are combined. A brick building or a rose garden is unified by concentration on one material. The difficulty of achieving a sense of unity increases as the number of elements, or kinds of material, increase. A building of six materials or a garden of 30 kinds of plants, for example, will have more variety but unity can be achieved only by careful organization and arrangement. At a certain point, which varies with the situation and the skill of the designer, it becomes impossible to establish unity. Variety then dominates.

Rhythm and balance
      Rhythm and balance result from the three-dimensional arrangement of elements and materials on the site. Rhythm is a sequence or repetition of similar elements—as a double row of trees. It tends to emphasize direction and movement, as along an allée toward a viewpoint or terminus. Balance is the sense one gets, looking in any direction, that the elements to one's left balance those to one's right and the feeling one has that the views one has just experienced are in equilibrium with what one sees now. The most obvious examples of balance are the symmetrical axial Renaissance gardens of Europe, but these are not the only or even the most interesting ways to achieve balance.

Accent and contrast
      Accent and contrast enliven arrangements that may be so balanced, orderly, and harmonious as to be dull. An accent is an element that differs from everything around it, as silver-gray foliage against dark-green conifers, but is limited in quantity in relation to surrounding elements. Contrast is stronger: two different elements may be juxtaposed in almost equal quantity to emphasize the special qualities of each. Well-known examples are the formal palace in the informal park, the green park in the densely built-up city. Accent and contrast are more difficult to handle successfully than straightforward, simple, harmonious design. An example of the failure to handle it successfully is the common practice of lining a street with alternate specimens of two quite different trees, as pines and cherries, which merely cancel each other out.

Scale and proportion
      Scale refers to the apparent (not the actual) size of a landscape space or of the elements within it. Proportion is the determined relations among the sizes of all the parts within an element and of all the elements within a space. Thus, the proportionate sizes of the legs, arms, and back of a garden bench, for example, determine the scale of the seat. And the overall size of the seat, in proportionate relation to walk width, arbor height, lawn area, tree size, and so on, helps to determine the scale of the garden.

Composite three-dimensional spatial form
      Composite three-dimensional spatial form results from the delineation of a block of air by physical elements, which enclose and frame the space and establish its relations with neighbouring spaces, distant views, and so on. A patio with paved floor and walled enclosure (with perhaps a grilled outlook) and sheltered by trees or pergola structures (arbor or trellis) is an obvious example of this form.

The design process
      The design process has been called in the past modes of composition and style or period selection. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the arts, including architectural, garden, and landscape design, were dominated by traditional, eclectic, preconceived systems of form and approach called the Beaux Arts (Beaux-Arts, École des) system, after the famous school in Paris. In essence, these systems told designers what to design and where. Their only choice and their only skill lay in how to adapt preconceived systems—such as formal and informal gardens—to the particular problem at hand. Innovation consisted of timid new relationships among traditional elements.

      In the first quarter of the century there also occurred what is called the modern revolt. Beginning in painting and sculpture, it soon swept through architecture and reached garden and landscape design toward the end of the quarter in Europe, reaching the United States in about 1935.

      The essence of the modern revolt was the rejection of preconceived or traditional styles, periods, rules, regulations, or systems governing design. In place of these, systems and processes developed for analyzing problems and situations in their own terms and in terms of the modern resources available for solving them. Basic to the new theories was the idea that designed forms should arise from and express each specific situation and the contemporary, industrial culture around it. By the 1970s all fields of design seemed to be dominated by these theories; but, although submerged, traditional Beaux Arts design continues to surface regularly in strange new combinations with modern forms. A form of this eclecticism emerged in the early 1970s, when architects once again designed symmetrical monumental buildings with little functional or structural expression, and traditional formal–informal concepts in garden and landscape design began to reappear.

Physical components
      Natural integrants of garden and landscape design include earth, rock, water, and plants.

      As a base for design, earth (soil) is the floor of landscape spaces, the root medium in which half of every plant lives, the foundation for structures, the vehicle for surface and subsurface drainage of excess water, and a sculptural material in its own right.

      As a floor, earth can be seen as an abstract surface. If apparently level, with just enough slope for drainage, it is ready to be covered with paving, grass, ground cover, or other planting, which is necessary to prevent dust in dry weather and mud in wet weather; if sloping or irregular, earthwork may be necessary to conform to new construction or to the design plan, to provide adequate drainage, or in order to relate properly to neighbouring topography and views.

      As a root medium for plants, earth must be understood as soil. One must know the type and depth of soil before planning a garden or landscape. Soil occurs in layers: topsoil, in which there is a high percentage of organic humus and micro-organisms; subsoil, which is more sterile as it gets deeper; and bedrock, which is not yet broken up. There are many variations in these layers. In the mountains there may be only a few inches of soil over rock; in old valleys the soil may be hundreds of feet deep. Most plants require one to six feet of topsoil, with good drainage, but there are plants that will grow in rock, sand, sterile soil, boggy land, shallow water, or open water. If the soil is not adequate for the planting desired or if the form of the earth is to be changed, then new soil conditions must be created.

      As a foundation for structures, earth must be dry and firm. Although structures can be built in almost any soil, they become more and more expensive as the earth becomes less dry and firm. Desirable foundation conditions, the exact opposite of the loose, moist soil that is best for most plants, create many technical problems in the relations between structures and plant areas.

      As a drainage vehicle, earth absorbs a high percentage of the water that falls on its surface. This absorbed water may be stored below ground, or it may move horizontally through sloping soil patterns. Surface water that is not absorbed, either because the soil is saturated or because the slope of the ground makes it run off too fast, must drain away on the surface. This creates many technical problems, especially if the surface is not covered to prevent erosion or if a great deal of land is covered by roofed structures or paved surfaces, which increase the amount of water running off because none is absorbed.

      As a sculptural material, earth can be contoured to conform with functional and maintenance demands. Rolling natural hills and golf-course earth forms demonstrate the potential. Slopes must not be too steep for planting to hold, unless they are structurally retained.

      Rock is a major factor in some regions, minor in others, nonexistent in some. It varies in size from sand through pebbles, cobbles, boulders, and fixed outcrops to solid-rock mountains. It varies in form from square or jagged, newly cut or broken to rounded forms produced by the action of water. It varies also in colour and in texture. It can be used as a ground cover, dry or in cement; in vertical structures with various degrees of cutting and finishing; to simulate natural rock formations; and in sculptural groupings that emphasize the natural form of the rocks, as the Japanese do so well.

      Water is essential to all gardens and landscapes, even in the desert, although amounts vary considerably. As a design element, water contributes coolness, moisture, sparkle, lightness, depth, serenity, the possibility of aquatic plants and animals, and recreation. It may run through natural stream and river channels and collect in natural ponds, lakes, and seas, or it may be kept in structural channels and pools, recirculated to avoid waste. In some soil conditions it may be necessary to seal the bottoms of natural-appearing streams and ponds to hold the water. Under natural conditions water runs downhill through naturally formed channels and collects in low spots or bowls of firm form. Water also may be pumped uphill or thrown into the air in jets and fountains. Water is used increasingly throughout countries with technically complex artificial irrigation systems, which become distinctive landscape elements.

      Plants are considered the primary material of gardens and landscapes, by contrast with the concentration of structures in cities. They may be grouped and organized for design purposes in several ways: by size (trees, shrubs, low plants, grass); by form (vertical, horizontal, round, irregular); by texture (size, shape, and arrangement of foliage and structure); by colour (flowers, fruit, foliage, structure); by rate of growth (fast, medium, slow); by seasonal effect (spring, summer, fall, winter); by fragrance (flowers, fruit, foliage); by environmental requirements (soil, drainage, sun–shade, temperature range, pests and diseases, pruning needs). All of these properties affect the selection, arrangement, and maintenance of plants in designed landscapes.

      Structural integrants of garden and landscape include structures closely related to the earth, enclosure structures, shelter structures, engineering structures, and special buildings (building construction).

Earth-related structures
      Earth-related structures include paving (walks, roads, terraces, patios) and change-of-level structures (retaining walls, steps, ramps, bridges), which must be made of materials that will resist decay, such as brick, stone, concrete, asphalt. These structures provide the connections for movement and circulation and the areas for intensive gathering, social use, or active recreation. They embody a complex technology.

Enclosure structures
      Enclosure structures, such as walls and fences, are designed to control vision or movement or both. They may be of various heights, three to ten feet (one to three metres) or more, and of many materials: brick, stone, or concrete masonry; wood; metal; sheet materials such as glass, plastic, asbestos, pressed boards. Because they are at eye level and extend and connect buildings, they are very important in intimate visual design.

Shelter structures
      Shelter structures, designed to protect from sun, rain, or wind, may incorporate enclosure elements at the sides with overhead elements, which may be open framework pergolas or arbors carrying vines or solid opaque or translucent roofs. Among such structures are gazebos, pavilions, garden temples, summer houses, hermit huts, follies, ruins, and grottoes.

Engineering structures
      Engineering structures tend to appear unexpectedly, because incongruously, in gardens and landscapes. They are usually mechanical or electrical transformers, vents, valves, siphons, drains, culverts, headwalls, dams, and many other nameless and mysterious forms. In a good landscape design, these structures are integrated into the overall plan.

Special buildings
      Special buildings include many that are nearly as complete as the fully enclosed buildings that are the province of the architect: greenhouses, conservatories, orangeries, tool sheds, dovecotes, icehouses, root houses, bathhouses, playhouses, and many more. These are usually auxiliary in relation to the main house or building but relate to them in character and detail.

      Shelter structures, engineering structures, and special buildings are important in garden and landscape because they introduce precise geometric forms intermediate in scale between main buildings and landscape. If scattered or designed indiscriminately, they can destroy a pleasant landscape; carefully designed, they can be so grouped or arranged as to create rhythmic connections and patterns within the overall architectural-landscape design concept.

Sculptural (sculpture) components and outdoor furnishings
      Sculptural components of garden and landscape have traditionally been predictable forms and types: figurative sculpture, decorative urns and plaques, fountains, sundials, birdbaths, cisterns, and wells. All of these continue to appear as elements of the persistent underground Beaux Arts vocabulary. In contemporary design, however, they are eliminated or take on new forms derived from modern sculpture. The possibility now exists for the production of gardens and landscapes so completely sculptured that one cannot tell where design stops and sculpture begins.

      Outdoor furnishings (furniture) and equipment include all of those fixed and movable elements that tend to appear in garden or landscape after the plans are done and installed and therefore without benefit of design control. In the garden they are seats, tables, barbecues, umbrellas, plant containers, supports, and guards, as well as lights and light systems. In the public landscape they include these garden elements and many more: signs, trash containers, alarm boxes, mailboxes, newsstands, kiosks, service elements, telephone stands. If all of these elements are not predicted insofar as possible in the original design plans, incorporated in them, and carefully controlled thereafter, they can destroy carefully planned landscapes. One red oil drum for trash can dominate the visual experience of a large, pastoral picnic area.

Kinds of design
      The landscape is everything an observer, whether still or in motion, can see. The landscape as a work of individual art is any garden or space designed, developed, and maintained for the private experience of an individual or family, a space not accessible to others either physically or visually. The landscape as a work of collective art is everything beyond this private range: everything seen beyond the confines of private gardens or estates, all borrowed landscapes, all streetscapes, all city, metropolitan, and regional landscapes, and their accumulation in national, continental, and world landscapes. This collective art may be good or bad depending on whether it results from the accidental accumulation of individual and conflicting efforts or from controlled and planned efforts.

Private or residential design
      The history of landscape design is largely the history of landscape as a work of private, individual art. Plazas (structural public open spaces not dominated by foliage), throughout classical, medieval, and Renaissance history, were the concessions of the ruling class to the need for public meeting places; but it was not until Central Park was developed in New York City in the mid-19th century that this need reached the level of designed public green spaces. During most of its history, landscape design was of three kinds: private utilitarian farms and gardens; private gardens in which the enhancement of the quality of living was paramount; and private gardens designed to express the power and benevolence of the ruling or upper classes. The expansion in scale of private gardens beyond the needs of private living led inexorably, first, to the dedication of such spaces to public use and then to the development of public gardens and parks designed for public use.

      The private garden, however, has remained the centre for private fantasy and a means of escape from the grinding and difficult world of reality. The most important aspect of the private garden is its seclusion: from the physical world, by means of distance and enclosure; from the social world, by separation and exclusion. Space and greenery are also important. The space may be very small, perhaps a tiny courtyard, and greenery limited to one or two plants, but these make possible that private world of fantasy that may make the difference between sanity and lunacy. The 20th-century mass migration to the suburbs is the latest expression of this need.

      Generally, the private garden occupies a space somewhere between 20 feet (six metres) square and one quarter of an acre (100 feet square). The forms of private gardens range from the formalism of pure geometry or the artistic representation of natural processes through the variations of standard gardening techniques and the informalism of letting nature take its course to various manifestations of literary, poetic, historic, and subjective concepts.

      When housing moves from single-family, detached buildings on private lots to higher density variations—duplexes, semidetached villas, town houses, clusters, condominiums, low- and high-rise apartments—new relationships develop. As population density increases, private design shrinks and public design increases. Somewhere between the extremes of the single-family dwelling with minimum public space and the high-rise apartment with minimum private space, there is an optimum relationship in which real needs can be expressed. Perhaps the best potential lies in town-house, cluster-house, and condominium developments, in which there is a flexible relationship between public and private elements.

Public design
      Because of fixation on the notion that the original resource of land and landscape, continuous from sea to shining sea, is best organized for private or public use by gridiron subdivision into innumerable separate parcels, public landscape design begins at the level of single buildings on single lots, with front yards and backyards. The buildings may be government offices, quasi-public companies, or private corporations, but all tend to be designed in terms of public and private spaces, as though they were private residences for the groups involved.

      Campus design begins when publicly accessible buildings grow into complexes of two or more, for religious, commercial, industrial, governmental, or educational use. Instead of or in addition to simple front-yard and backyard design, there are more complex systems of spaces between buildings, which vary from courtyards and quadrangles of varying forms and dimensions to passageways connecting them in varying widths and degrees of overhead coverage. The open spaces range in character from paved architectural courtyards and cloisters to open playing fields and parklike spaces. Campus design makes possible the richest, most complex, and rewarding range of relationships between architectural and landscape design. Perhaps the best examples, in which the sequential experience of indoor and outdoor space approaches the maximum, are the religious, educational, and civic complexes of Europe, developed before the idea of gridiron subdivision fragmented environmental design. In China and Japan there are many highly refined and sophisticated temple, shrine, palace, and castle complexes. There are also many fine examples in the United States of similar institutions that have transcended or resisted subdivision.

      In the broader area of urban design (urban planning), landscape architecture deals with such open-space components as public gardens, parks and playgrounds, plazas, squares, and malls. In these urban spaces, the designer attempts to meet the need for community, for play and recreation, for refreshment and relaxation, for individual withdrawal in a gregarious atmosphere.

      Towns, cities, and metropolitan areas may be said to have three basic components: buildings, designed by architects or builders; open spaces, designed by landscape architects or technicians; and circulation-utility corridors—street, highway, railway, and rapid-transit systems—which are usually planned and designed by engineers.

      The basic structure of urban areas consists of the open spaces together with corridors comprising a total open-space system, defined by and connecting the buildings. The corridors have usually been considered merely a utilitarian framework, connecting and servicing buildings and quality open spaces, channelling traffic and utilities throughout urban areas, and connecting them with the open country around. Modern urban thinking has begun to go beyond this concept, to see the total open-space-corridor system as the major qualitative structure of the city, which, when viewed in conjunction with overall building design, is seen to establish the city's basic character.

      From this point of view the role of landscape architecture, once limited to tasteful planting of corridors designed by engineers, begins to expand. Some urban planners would expand it even further, believing that open-space corridors should be designed throughout primarily as social spaces for people and only secondarily as utilitarian passages for vehicles.

      Commemorative sites—cemeteries, historic spots, battlefields—are important because they memorialize and symbolize important events in personal, local, national, or world history. Wherever they occur, these sites or areas are marked with stone or bronze memorials and often dramatized with more elaborate developments. The designs tend to follow traditional and conservative precedents, often impressive but seldom imaginative. It is still difficult to equal Asplund's Forest Crematorium (1940) in Stockholm or the Fosse Ardeatine memorial in Rome.

Garrett Eckbo

Historical development


      The earliest surviving detailed garden plan, dating from about 1400 BC, is of a garden belonging to an Egyptian high court official at Thebes. The main entrance is aligned on a pergola (trellis-bordered) walk of vines leading directly to the dwelling. The rest of the garden is laid out with tree-lined avenues, four rectangular ponds containing waterfowl, and two garden pavilions. Although rigidly symmetrical, the garden is divided into self-contained, walled enclosures, so that the symmetry of the whole could not have been apparent to the viewer. Such a highly developed pattern argues a considerable incubation period, and it is likely that similar enclosed pleasure gardens had been designed as early as 2800 BC.

 The gardens of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were of three kinds: large, enclosed game reserves such as the garden of Eden described by the Hebrews in the Old Testament; pleasure gardens, which were essentially places where shade and cool water could be privately enjoyed; and sacred enclosures rising in man-made terraces, planted with trees and shrubs, forming an artificial hill such as the Hanging Garden of Babylon (see photograph—>).

Greek and Hellenistic
      The urban life of ancient Greece led to houses built around central, private courtyards. Lined with colonnades that gave access to the rooms of the house, the courtyard, or peristyle, was open to the sky and insulated from the street. In the peristyle was a garden consisting of a water supply and potted plants. Much of life, however, was lived in public. The sports grounds, where exercise was taken, became popular gathering places and developed into the original academy and lyceum, which included the exercise ground, seats for spectators, porticoes for bad weather, statues of honored athletes, and groves of shade trees. These public recreation grounds set the type for the later classical Roman villa garden and the 19th-century European public park. A third type of Greek garden was the sacred landscape, such as the Vale of Tempe or the mountain sanctuary of Delphi.

      The relatively austere Greek taste was transformed in the Hellenistic Age (c. 323 BC–30 BC) by the influence of the East. Luxurious pleasure grounds were made, especially at colonies such as Alexandria and Syracuse. These gardens were conspicuously luxurious in their display of precious materials, and artificial in their use of hydraulic automata.

      Roman gardens derived from the Greek, those in the seaside resorts of Pompeii and Herculaneum (1st century BC) following the Hellenistic pattern. These small, enclosed town gardens were visually extended by landscapes painted on the walls. Throughout the imperial period, the more ambitious villa gardens flourished in many forms on sites carefully chosen for climate and aspect.

      The most elaborate was that of Nero's Golden House (Golden House of Nero), which covered over 300 acres (120 hectares) in the middle of Rome and included an artificial lake (where the Colosseum now stands) and a pastoral landscape of plowland, vineyard, pasture, and wood. More influential in later times was the vast garden complex of Hadrian's Villa, of which extensive ruins can still be found near Tivoli.

      The barbarian invasions of the 4th and 5th centuries AD destroyed Roman civilization and with it the gardens of western Europe. The Eastern Empire, centred on Constantinople, retained its hold on Greece and much of Asia Minor for another millennium; and Byzantine (Byzantine art) gardens persisted in the Hellenistic tradition, laying more emphasis on wonder-provoking apparatus than on aesthetic values. A recurrent feature of these gardens was a tree of gold or silver equipped with birds that flapped their wings and sang and branches that sprayed wine or perfume.

      Beginning in the 7th century, the Arabs progressively captured much of western Asia, Egypt, the whole of the North African coast, and Spain; in the process, they spread features of Persian and Byzantine gardens across the Mediterranean as far as the Iberian Peninsula. Most characteristic of these gardens was the use of water—the ultimate luxury to desert dwellers, who appreciated it not only because it allowed plants to grow but also because it cooled the air and gratified the ear with the sound of its movement. It was commonly used in regularly shaped, often rectangular, pools. The water was kept moving by simply designed fountains and fed by narrow canals resembling agricultural irrigation channels. Because water was rarely abundant, the pools were shallow but increased in apparent depth by a blue tile lining.

      These pools of water graced Islāmic gardens—such as those of the Alhambra in Granada—that resembled the Hellenistic colonnaded courtyard. The gardens provided shade, excluded hot winds, and created the sense of being in a jewelled private world. Water mirroring the sky gave an impression of spaciousness and introduced lightness, brightness, and an air of unreality.

      In the Moorish Caliphate of Córdoba in Spain, in the valley of the Guadalquivir, there were said to have been 50,000 villas, all of which probably had such garden courts.

      The greatest period of garden making in the Islāmic world was the 14th century. In the vicinity of the conqueror Timur Lenk's capital of Samarkand, the names of 11 royal gardens are recorded, and there were probably others belonging to his nobles. Whereas gardens of the Alhambra type were architecturally conceived within the total plan of a building, some of the more extensive Timurid gardens and their derivatives, the Mughal gardens of India, were pleasances of water, meadow, trees, and flowers, in which buildings took a subordinate place. Although these garden buildings were permanent, their subordinate role and the lightness and luxuriating frivolity of their design mark them as heirs of the casually positioned tents seasonally erected in hunting parks. There were also gardens of strictly architectural design—huge walled enclosures with corner towers, a central palace, regularly disposed avenues, and tanks of water. Deer and pheasants were kept in these gardens, which combined the quality of hunting park and of hortus conclusus, or closed garden. Trees were planted sometimes in regular quincuncial patterns (one in the middle and one at each corner of a square or rectangle) but more often freely. In all types of Islāmic gardens, flowers were lavishly used. Their presence was even simulated in garden carpets (rug and carpet) and in the woven hangings that were used as temporary screens.

      Influential on later Western practice were the parks (park) made by the Saracen emirs of Sicily. The Normans who conquered the Saracens in the 11th century adopted the manner of life of those they had overthrown, and thus the emirs' gardens survived their makers. A large area of the Conca d'Oro, the great natural amphitheatre behind Palermo, was taken up with pleasure grounds—walled enclosures large enough to contain woods and hills, canals, artificial lakes, groves of oranges and lemons, fountains, water stairways, and wild creatures running free.

Western European
      In Europe, beyond the limits of the Islāmic conquest, the destruction of civilized society by the barbarian tribes had been nearly complete; but the physical remains of the past shaped the reviving future: the peristyle gardens of Roman villas became the cloisters (cloister) of Christian basilicas. Security and leisure existed only in the monastic system, which also preserved some of the traditional skills of cultivation. For some time the only type of garden was the cloister, with its well, herbs, pot plants, and shaded walk. Then secular gardens began to appear, but they were usually of limited extent, confined within the fortifications of a castle and often raised well above ground level on a battlemented turret. These gardens were rectangular, with the traditional division into four parts by paths, the quarters again subdivided according to the amount of ground available and the convenience of cultivation. At the point of principal intersection was a well, which, when elaborated, became the vertical feature of the garden. Seats—often of turf—were constructed in the walls. Many flowers were grown, but their season was short; after June and often earlier, the beds were flowerless. More extensive and elaborate gardens were rare.

      In 13th-century Italy, through the influence of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, who had spent much of his youth in Sicily, the example of the Saracen emirs was felt in Apulia and Naples. The Triumph of Death, painted by the Florentine artist Andrea Orcagna (Pisa, Campo Santo), shows a garden of considerably greater extent than the cloister or battlement type. Gardens like this existed also in Lombardy, where the court of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the founder of the great walled park of Pavia, cultivated the arts of civilized life. In describing the Royal Gardens at Naples, the writer and poet Giovanni Boccaccio speaks of statues disposed regularly around a lawn, interspersed with marble seats. Such a garden suggests that Frederick II's classicizing influence extended into the mid-14th century. Also significant was the garden of Hesdin in Picardy, which became famous throughout France for its automata and water tricks. It was made by a crusader who, having returned to France by way of Palermo in 1270, no doubt incorporated in his garden what he had seen of Saracenic gardens there and in Syria. Hesdin was an exotic creation without parallel in its northerly location for several centuries.

Renaissance to modern: 15th to 20th centuries

      The increasing prosperity of western Europe and man's increasing confidence in himself and in his capacity to impose order on the external world was reflected in the gardens of Italy by the mid-15th century. The change began near Florence, where the old medieval enclosures began to open up. The rectangles, which had been dissociated, were now sited one behind the other, thus prolonging the main axis, which was now aligned on the centre of the dwelling. This change inevitably introduced the idea that house and garden were a coherent, complementary whole. And, because villas were increasingly sited for amenity rather than defense, gardens became less enclosed, more susceptible first to visual, then to actual extension.

      The unity of house and garden, together with the need for physical adjustment to the sloping sites favoured by classical precedent, threw the planning of the new Renaissance garden into the hands of architects. Most influential was the garden courtyard designed by Donato Bramante (Bramante, Donato) at the Vatican (Vatican palace) to link the Papal palace with the Villa Belvedere; the uneven site and the disparity in bulk of the two buildings was overcome with terraces and stairways. It remained an enclosed garden but one far removed from the earlier cloistral courtyards. The garden of the Belvedere combined the function of an open-air room with that of an outdoor sculpture gallery.

      The ingredients of the Renaissance garden thus separately established were united in varying proportions. The typical evolved garden of the period was characterized by some openness of aspect, axial development, a tendency to prolongation, unity of concept between house and garden emphasized by a considerable “built” element of stone, lavish employment of statuary (often in the form of fountains), and the proliferation of such classical accents as grottoes, nymphaea (Roman buildings with a fountain, plants, and sculpture), urns, and inscriptions. There is no adequate evidence that this type of garden had an exact equivalent in the classical period, although there is evidence that each of its elements existed.

      The variation in style among Italian gardens is considerable and is due not only to the date they were made, the exigencies of the site, and regional variation but also to their social function. The scale of the garden compartments at the back of the Villa Gamberaia at Settignano (1610), for example, is small in contrast with the extensive view over Florence from the front and thus suggests intimate use by members of a small household. The more extensive parterre garden (an ornamental garden with paths between the beds) of the Villa Lante at Bagnaia (begun 1564) is designed neither for solitary enjoyment nor for a crowd but for a select, discerning company—as is the garden of the far more splendid Villa Farnese at Caprarola (completed 1587). The most remarkable mid-16th-century garden, that of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli (1550), is situated on a steep slope of the Sabine hills. The river that plunges down this slope is harnessed to an astonishing variety of fountains, including a “water organ.” Although the garden is designed around a central axis, the stream is not used centrally but is led about the garden in order to take maximum advantage of its force. Unlike the less copious stream of the Villa Lante garden, which quietly emphasizes the central axis, the Tivoli stream is ostentatious. The Villa d'Este is, in fact, a spectacular permanent theatrical performance meant to astonish and impress the multitude. A different impression is given by the Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace at Florence (1550). Though, like the Villa d'Este gardens, they were designed for a crowd—specifically, for state functions—they are not dramatic in themselves. Unless used ceremonially, they are lifeless and arid. The ruined garden associated with, though detached from, the Orsini Castle at Bomarzo is a remarkable aberration probably influenced by accounts of visits to the Far East by a locally born traveller, Biagio Sinibaldi. Its original layout consisted of a grove in which were concealed the stone giants and strange monsters that now astonish visitors.

      Flowers were extensively used in most Italian gardens, but because of the shortness of their season they could not be the principal feature. Beds were divided into decorative geometric compartments by trimmed herbs, rosemary, lavender, or box. In general, more emphasis was given to evergreens; ilex, cypress, laurel, and ivy gave shade and were an enduring contrast to stonework.

17th- and 18th-century French
      The French (France) invasions of Italy in the last quarter of the 16th and first quarter of the 17th centuries introduced to France the idioms of the Italian garden. The first garden coordinated with dwelling appeared at the Château of Anet (1547–56) and was designed by the architect Philibert Delorme; but, despite its evident sophistication, it remained an inward-looking, essentially medieval garden. The first sign of prolongation and calculated extension of vision beyond the garden proper appeared in the grounds of Dampierre. Here the moat that formerly surrounded French castles became an ornamental body of water on one side and a decorative canal on the other. Both aspects of the new garden design—coordination with the dwelling and extension along a central axis—were united at the château of Richelieu (1631) and later at Vaux-le-Vicomte (completed 1661), the château of Nicolas Fouquet, the minister of finance. On Fouquet's fall in the mid-17th century, his team of artists—which included the landscape designer André Le Nôtre—was taken over by the young Louis XIV, and the gardens of Versailles (Versailles, Palace of) were begun.

      The French version of the Italian garden was created in the plain of north France, which largely conditioned the manner of its development. The array of steep terraces linked by stairways, which characterized the Villa d'Este and many others, was predominant in France only at St. Germain-en-Laye, where the steep site permitted it. Elsewhere, grandeur on the scale that competitive pride demanded was achieved by extraordinary extension: an axial development suggesting a domain coextensive with the world. The French 17th-century garden, a manifestation of Baroque taste, required variety as well as unlimited vista and achieved it with fountains, parterres, and lesser gardens disposed within the boscages (wooded enclosures) that flanked the central axis. These hidden gardens were the successors of the giardini segreti of the Italians but had a different function; they were not retreats for private contemplation or intimate conversation but the setting for ingenious theatrical entr'actes. Distinctively French was the unified and elaborate treatment of the compartmentalized garden beds, which the Italians had made in a variety of forms. These compartiments de broderie were arabesques, sometimes of box edging and flowers but more often of coloured stones and sand. The Persians had copied their flower gardens on carpets and taken them indoors; the French laid out their grounds in the form of carpets. The French garden was marked by a ruthlessly logical extension of practices that had been empirically evolved in Italy.

      French cultural dominance of Europe in the early 18th century led to an almost universal adoption of Versailles as the model for palatial gardens. Even at Naples, where the gardens of Poggio Reale had astonished the invading French in the late 15th century, a vast layout inspired by the axial extent of Versailles was developed at Caserta; and, as far away as Peter the Great's Peterhof in Russia, a pseudo-Versailles was laid out by the French gardener Alexandre-Jean-Baptiste Le Blond. Impressive exercises in the same manner were carried out in Germany and Austria. In Holland (Netherlands, The), also, the example of the French garden was irresistible, although local conditions and national temperament led to regional variation. Because Dutch canals were busy highways, they generally flanked gardens rather than constituted the main axis. No luxury in Holland, water was less extravagantly used than in drier, hotter climates. Moreover, fountains were less common because the absence of high ground required that they be power driven. Because stone was scarce, terraces were usually held by turf banks rather than by retaining walls, and sculpture was often of lead. Another sculpture typical of the Dutch garden was topiary: trees and shrubs were trained, cut, and trimmed into sculptural, ornamental shapes. Social conditions made the extension of a geometric garden easy, for a man-made landscape already existed in the intensively cultivated Netherlands. In Spain, aridity as well as Islāmic tradition perpetuated the patio garden, a room of air and shade in the Greek peristyle tradition. Although a famous layout in the French style was made on high ground at La Granja, where the cooler air and ample water made it acceptable, the classical extension garden remained basically alien to the Iberian Peninsula.

17th- and 18th-century English (England)
      The Italian pronouncement “things planted should reflect the shape of things built” had ensured that gardens were essentially open-air buildings and the making of them the province of architects. Before the 18th century, geometric regularity had been applied in great details of design and in small. England was committed to a version of the French geometric extension garden but with an emphasis on English grass lawns and gravel walks. Whereas the typical French vista was along the main axis, with subordinate vistas at right angles to it, in the two most influential gardens in England, St. James's and Hampton Court, the vistas sprang like the rays of the sun from a semi-circle. With the accession of William and Mary (1689–1702), Dutch influence led to widespread use of topiaried yew and box.

      In 18th-century England (United Kingdom), people became increasingly aware of the natural world. Rather than imposing their man-made geometric order on the natural world, they began to adjust to it. Literary men, notably Alexander Pope and Joseph Addison, began to question the propriety of trees being carved into artificial shapes as substitutes for masonry and to advocate the restoration of free forms.

      The man who led the revolt against the “artificial,” symmetrical garden style was the painter and architect William Kent, the factotum of the Earl of Burlington. Together Burlington and Kent created at Chiswick House (1734) a garden with a meandering stream and an “irregular” path. As the writer Horatio Walpole (Walpole, Horace, 4th earl of Orford) put it, Kent's “principle was that nature abhors a straight line.” The process of relaxing the garden's architectural discipline advanced with speed. At Stowe, Buckinghamshire, the original enclosed, geometrical garden was amended over the years until a totally different, “irregular” formality was achieved. Trees, for example, were allowed to assume their natural forms, and a large expanse of water was redesigned into two irregularly shaped lakes.

      The use of the ha-ha, or sunken fence, to create and at the same time conceal the physical division between garden and contiguous park grounds (a division needed to keep grazing animals out of the garden) was a major step in the creation of the new, “natural” garden. Walpole explains the purpose of the visual unification:

The contiguous ground of the park without the sunk fence was to be harmonized with the lawn within; and the garden in its turn was to be set free from its prime regularity, that it might assort with the wilder country without.

      The face of the “country without” was altered by the rage that afflicted the English nobility for planting vast areas of trees. Much of England was covered with new parks, traversed by rides and avenues that primarily were conceived as visual extensions of the garden paths. The unification of park and garden was virtually completed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown (Brown, Lancelot) (1715–83) by the simple expedient of making the garden into a park. “Capability” (so-called because he always spoke of a place as having “capabilities of improvement”) developed the current aesthetic that an undulating line was “natural” and that it was the “line of beauty” by using little statuary and few buildings and concentrating on designing landscapes according to nature's harmonies and gradients. His landscapes consist of expanses of grass, irregularly shaped bodies of water, and trees placed singly and in clumps.

      Although the adherents of the new English school of garden design were in agreement in their abhorrence of the straight, classical line and the geometrically ordered garden, they did not agree on what the natural garden should be. Unlike Brown, for example, the taste for the romantic and the literary led many to seek inspiration in the dramatic and the bizarre, in the remote past, and in remote, exotic places. The Brownian style was strongly challenged, for example, by the “ picturesque” school, led by Sir Uvedale Price (Price, Sir Uvedale, 1st Baronet) and the artist-parson William Gilpin, who argued, quite correctly, that the “naturalism” of the Brownians was no less unnatural than the geometric regularity of Le Nôtre's Versailles and that sudden declivities, rocky chasms, and rotting tree trunks (all deliberately designed) were more proper for the natural garden than were enormous, undulating meadows accented with tight clumps of thickly planted trees. Another school of opinion created what might be called the English garden of poetic bric-a-brac. The aim in this garden was to create an air of accident and surprise and to arouse varied sensations (solemnity, sublimity, terror) in the viewer—sensations evoked by associations with the remote in time and space. Wandering through the grounds one came upon classical statues, urns, and temples; Gothic (Gothic art) ruins, ivy-covered and inhabited by owls; or Chinese pagodas and bridges. After Horatio Walpole recorded the first appearance of chinoiserie at Wroxton in 1753 (a garden no doubt laid out some years before), “Chinese” and Gothic details were featured, together with classic temples, in most fashionable grounds.

      By 1760 the enthusiasm for this style had diminished in England; but in Europe the poetic bric-a-brac garden (le jardin anglo-chinois, or le jardin anglais (English garden), as the French called it) was almost as widely emulated as Versailles had been. In Italy, for example, Renaissance gardens were destroyed to make way for the new fashion, as at the Villa Mansi near Lucca. In France, the sculpted group of “Apollo Attended by the Nymphs” was removed from the classical “Grotto of Thetis” on the terrace of Versailles to a secluded boscage garden, where it was housed under ornamental “Turkish” tents; eventually it was moved from there to a simulated rocky cavern in the jardin anglais of the Petit Trianon. The jardin anglais was to be found even at Queluz in Portugal and in the Potsdam garden of Frederick the Great of Prussia.

19th century
      Increasing world trade and travel brought to late 18th-century Europe a flood of exotic plants whose period of flowering greatly extended the potential season of the flower garden. Although the emphasis in Italian Renaissance gardens, in the classical Baroque gardens of France, in the lawns and gravelled walks of 17th-century England, and in the Brownian park garden was upon design, they had rarely been totally without flowers. In most gardens flowers were grown, sometimes in great numbers and variety; but flower gardens in the modern sense were limited to cottages, to small town gardens, and to relatively small enclosures within larger gardens. The accessibility of new plants, together with avidity for new experience and a high-minded concern with natural science, not only gave renewed life to the flower garden but was the first step toward the evolution of the garden from work of art to museum of plants. A compromise between the new flower garden and the Brownian park was effected by Humphry Repton (Repton, Humphry). He was largely responsible for popularizing the open terrace overlooking the park, which frankly admitted the different functions of park and garden and also emphasized their stylistic disharmony. The plant collectors' garden, or “gardenesque” style, was most strongly advanced by J.C. Loudon (Loudon, John Claudius) in the mid-19th century. Loudon urged that garden making be taken out of the hands of the architect, the painter, and the cultivated dilettante and left to the professional plantsman.

      The undiscerning use of the new palette that importation and plant breeding had made available was so patently an aesthetic disaster that by the end of the 19th century attempts were made to break its hold. The architect Sir Reginald Blomfield advocated a return to the formal garden, but to this, insofar as it required dressed stonework, there were economic objections. More successful and more in tune with the escapist needs of the increasing number of urban dwellers were the teaching and practice of William Robinson (Robinson, William), who attacked both the old ceremonial garden and the collectors' garden with equal vigour and preached that botany was a science, but gardening was an art. Under his leadership a more critical awareness was brought to the planning and planting of gardens. His own garden atGravetye Manor demonstrated that plants look best where they grow best and that they should be allowed to develop their natural forms. Adapting Robinson's principles, Gertrude Jekyll (Jekyll, Gertrude) applied the cult of free forms over a substructure of concealed architectural regularity, bringing the art of the flower garden to its highest point.

      In North America (United States), where for a long time most men were preoccupied with making a world, not a garden, ornamental gardens were slow to take hold. In the gardens that did exist, the rectilinear style popular in late 17th- and early 18th-century Europe persisted well into the 18th century—perhaps because it met man's psychological need to feel he could master a world that was still largely untamed. The town gardens of Williamsburg (begun in 1698) were typical of the Anglo-Dutch urban gardens that were being attacked everywhere in 18th-century Europe except Holland. And Belmont, in Pennsylvania, was laid out as late as the 1870s with mazes, topiary, and statues, in a style that would have been popular in England about two centuries before.

      Although garden improvers set up in business in the United States, there is no evidence that they prospered until the 19th century, when one hears of André Parmentier (Parmentier, André), a Belgian, who worked on Hosack's estate at Hyde Park and then of A.J. Downing (Downing, Andrew Jackson), a successful protagonist of the gardenesque, who was succeeded by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted (Olmsted, Frederick Law) (the latter the originator of the title and profession of landscape architect), the planners of Central Park (begun 1857) in New York City and of public parks throughout the country.

      The eclecticism of the 19th century was universal in the Western world. Besides the gardens that were fundamentally Reptonian—that is, an attempted compromise between the Brownian park garden and the Loudonian flower garden—gardens of almost every conceivable style were copied; designing teams such as Sir Charles Barry (Barry, Sir Charles), the architect, and William Eden Nesfield, the painter, in England, for example, produced Italianate parterres as well as winding paths through thickets.

      A sense of history still plays a part in 20th-century gardening. The desire to maintain and reproduce old gardens, such as the reconstruction of the 16th-century gardens of Villandry in France and the colonial gardens of Williamsburg in the United States, is not peculiarly modern (similar things were done in the 19th century); but, as man increasingly needs the reassurance of the past, it is likely to be, within limits, an accelerating process. Attempts to create a distinctive modern idiom are rare. Gardens large by modern standards are still made, in styles that vary from a version of the grand early 18th-century manner at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire to an inflated Jekyllism crossed with gardenesque at Bodnant near Conway. An air either of controlled wilderness or of slightly run-to-seed orderliness is preferred. Modern public gardens, which have evolved from the large private gardens of the past, seek instant popular applause for the quantity and brightness of their flowers. In Brazil Roberto Burle Marx (Burle Marx, Roberto) uses tropical materials to give an air of contemporaneity to traditional modes of design. Gardens frequently reflect Japanese influence, particularly in America.

      Most characteristic of the 20th century is functional planning, in which landscape architects concentrate upon the arrangement of open spaces surrounding factories, offices, communal dwellings, and arterial roads. The aim of such planning has been to provide, at best, a satisfactory setting for the practical aspects of living. It is gardening only in the negative, “tidying up” sense, with little concern for the traditional garden purpose of awakening delight. So starved has the spirit of those living in heavily populated regions become, however, that demands grow more and more insistent for gardening in the positive sense—for environmental planning with a chief goal not of facilitating man's economic activities but of refreshing his spirit.

      Western gardens for many centuries were architectural, functioning as open-air rooms and demonstrating Western man's insistence on physical control of his environment. Because of a different philosophical approach, Oriental gardens are of a totally different type.

      China—which is to Eastern civilization what Egypt, Greece, and Rome are to Western—practiced at the beginning of its history an animist form of religion. The sky, mountains, seas, rivers, and rocks were thought to be the materialization of spirits whom men regarded as their fellow inhabitants in a crowded world. Such a belief emphasized the importance of good manners toward the world of nature as well as toward the world of men. Against this background the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu taught the quietist philosophy of Taoism (Daoism), which held that one should integrate oneself with the rhythms of life; Confucius preached moderation as a means of attaining spiritual calm; and the teaching of Buddha (Buddhism) elevated the attainment of calm to a mystical plane.

      Such a history of thought led the Chinese to take keen pleasure in the calm landscape of the remote countryside. Because of the physical difficulty of frequent visits to the sources of such delight, the Chinese recorded them in landscape paintings and made three-dimensional imitations of them near at hand. Their gardens were therefore representational, sometimes direct but more often by substitution, making use of similar means to recreate the emotions that choice natural landscapes evoked. The kind of landscape that appealed was generally of a balanced sort; for the Chinese had discovered the principle of complementary forms (yinyang), of male and female, of upright and recumbent, rough and smooth, mountain and plain, rocks and water, from which the classic harmonies were created. The principle of scroll painting, whereby the landscape is exposed not in one but in a continual succession of views, was applied also in gardens; and grounds were arranged so that one passed pleasantly from viewpoint to viewpoint, each calculated to give a different pleasure appropriate to its situation. A refined and expectant aestheticism, which their philosophy had inculcated, taught the Chinese to ignore nothing that would prepare the mind for the reception of such experiences, and every turn of path and slope of ground was carefully calculated to induce the suitable attitude. As the garden was in effect a complex of linked, related, but distinct sensations, seats and shelters were situated at chosen spots so that the pleasures that had been meticulously prepared for could be quietly savoured. Kiosks and pavilions were built at places where the dawn could best be watched or where the moonlight shone on the water or where autumn foliage was seen to advantage or where the wind made music in the bamboos. Such gardens were intended not for displays of wealth and magnificence to impress the multitude but for the delectation of the owner, who felt his own character enhanced by his capacity for refined sensation and sensitive perception and who chose friends to share these pleasures with the same discernment as he had exercised in planning his garden.

      Based on natural scenery, Chinese gardens avoided symmetry. Rather than dominating the landscape, the many buildings in the garden “grew up” as the land dictated. A fanciful variety of design, curving roof lines, and absence of walls on one or on all sides brought these structures into harmony with the trees around them. Sometimes they were given the rustic representational character of a fisherman's hut or hermit's retreat. Bridges were often copied from the most primitive rough timber or stone-slab raised pathways. Rocks gathered from great distances became a universal decorative feature, and a high connoisseurship developed in connection with their colour, shape, and placement.

      Although the troubled 20th century has largely destroyed the old gardens, paintings and detailed descriptions of them dating from the Sung dynasty (AD 960–1279) reveal a remarkable historical consistency. Nearly all the characteristic features of the classic Chinese garden—man-made hills, carefully chosen and placed rocks, meanders and cascades of water, the island and the bridge—were present from the earliest times.

      Chinese gardens were made known to the West by Marco Polo, who described the palace grounds of the last Sung emperors, during whose reign the arts were at their most refined. Other accounts reached Europe from time to time but had little immediate effect except at Bomarzo, the Mannerist Italian garden that had no successors. In the 17th century, the English diplomat and essayist Sir William Temple (Temple, Sir William, Baronet), sufficiently familiar with travellers' tales to describe the Chinese principle of irregularity and hidden symmetry, helped prepare the English mind for the revolution in garden design of the second quarter of the 18th century. Chinese (chinoiserie) example was not the sole or the most important source of the new English garden; but the account of Father Attiret, a Jesuit at the Manchu court, published in France in 1747 and in England five years later, promoted the use of Chinese ornament in such gardens as Kew and Wroxton and hastened the “irregularizing” of grounds. The famous Dissertation on Oriental Gardening by the English architect Sir William Chambers (Chambers, Sir William) (1772) was a fanciful account intended to further the current revolt in England against the almost universal Brownian park garden. Influence of the West on Chinese gardens was slight. Elaborate fountain works, Baroque garden pavilions, and mazes—all of which the Jesuits made for the imperial garden at Yüan Ming Yüan—took no root in Chinese culture. Not until the 20th century did European regularity occasionally become evident near the Chinese dwelling; at the same time, improved Western hybrids of plant species that had originated in the East appeared in China.

      Chinese culture permeated the Far East and, by way of Korea, infiltrated Japan. By the year AD 1000 Japan was already developing a distinctive national art best described as a stylized, ritualistic version of the Chinese. The typical early Japanese garden lay to the south of the dwelling and consisted of a narrow pond or lake orientated through its longer axis and containing an island. At the north end of the pond was an artificial hill from which a secondary stream descended in a cascade. These stereotyped gardens of the Heian period (AD 794–1185) show by their careful reproduction of magical detail that they derive from a single prototype—certainly Chinese. Variation entered only through the individual particularities of the site and the detailed handling of stones and trees.

      Creativity began to replace imitation in the Kamakura period (1192–1333). Although there were many subsidiary styles, gardens were broadly classified, according to terrain, as either hill or flat. The hill garden, consisting of hills and ponds, came to be associated with Mt. Fuji, the mountain of ideal form. The flat garden represented a surface of water—lake or sea—with its adjacent shores and islands. Since the scale was so small—a heap of earth 30 feet (nine metres) high representing a mountain and a half-acre (0.2-hectare) pond, an arm of the sea—the intention was to reproduce the spirit rather than the features of the chosen landscape. Association and symbolism thus played a major role in the creation and appreciation of these gardens.

      The scaling down of landscapes to garden size was logically continued to the point where miniature gardens were made in trays as small as a foot square containing lakes, streams, islands, hills, bridges, garden houses, and real trees painstakingly cultivated to an appropriate scale. These small, portable gardens reflected the extreme of the picturesque tradition of Oriental gardening.

      Two characteristic Japanese styles are the abstract garden and the tea garden. The most famous example of the former is the garden of the Ryōan-ji in Kyōto, where an area about the size of a tennis court is covered with raked sand and set with 15 stones divided into five groups. If anything is represented here, it is some rocky islets in a sea, but the appeal of the garden lies essentially in the charm of its relationships. The Japanese tea garden grew out of an esoteric ritual originated in China and connected with the taking of tea. The tea cult (tea ceremony), which flourished from the 14th to the end of the 16th centuries, was calculated to instill humility, restraint, sensibility, and other cognate virtues. The gardens through which the guests approached the teahouse were governed by severe rules of design intended to create an appropriate spiritual atmosphere, such as the “lonely precincts of a secluded mountain shrine” or “a landscape in clouded moonlight, with a half-gloom between the trees” or any mood “in harmony with the spirit of tea.” Even the precise number and arrangement of nails in the teahouse door were specified.

      The Japanese fondness for systematization led them to classify garden treatment as well as subject. Three standard treatments were recognized: the elaborate, the moderate, and the modest. Once the degree of finish was determined, certain rules were followed to preserve consistency. The Taoist doctrine of complementary forms was at the root of much Japanese design, but the cult of stones is also central to Japanese gardening. The nine stones, five standing and four recumbent, used in Buddhist gardens were symbols of the nine spirits of the Buddhist pantheon; the shapes and postures chosen were presumed to have a relationship with the character and history of the persons represented. Sacred associations played a part in profane gardens as well. It was regarded as inauspicious, for example, if three stones, the “Guardian Stone,” the “Stone of Adoration,” and the “Stone of the Two Deities” (or the “Stone of Completeness”), were not present. In addition to the sacred symbols, a whole armoury of poetic associations and symbols grew up, and stones, according to their shape and use, acquired such names as “Torrent-breaking Stone,” “Recumbent Ox Stone,” “Propitious Cloud Stone,” and “Seagull-resting Stone.” Beyond what they represented, stones were part of an aesthetic design and had to be placed so that their positions appeared natural and their relationships harmonious. The concentration of the interest on such detail as the shape of a rock or the moss on a stone lantern led at times to an overemphatic picturesqueness and an accumulation of minor features that, to Occidental eyes accustomed to a more general survey, may seem cluttered and restless. Nevertheless, Japanese gardening has had and continues to have an influence on the gardens of the West, particularly in the United States. The influence appears not so much in direct imitation of Japanese themes as in the selection and presentation of detail.

      The influence of Chinese culture throughout the East was such that other indigenous cultures usually succumbed to it; but India was an exception. Western garden styles were introduced into northern India first through contact with Iranian culture, then by the invasion of Alexander the Great and the subsequent Hellenistic influence, and, finally, by the invading Mughals, who introduced the Islāmic garden.

      In southern India and in Ceylon elaborate gardens existed before the birth of the Buddha (563? BC). Beneath a tree in such a garden—containing baths, lotus-covered pools, trees, and beds of flowers—the Buddha himself was said to have been born. Anciently worshipped by the Hindus, trees thus acquired an additional sanctity. Buddhist temples were associated with gardens whose purpose was to promote contemplation and whose preferred sites were therefore away from cities.

      The African cultures beyond European and Asiatic influence did not evolve pleasure gardens, although in their more settled societies a beginning had perhaps been made. Nor is more than a love of flowers and a casual cultivation of decorative plants recorded of the Oceanic peoples; but of the Aztecs (Aztec) of Mexico and the Incas (Inca) of Peru the conquistadores reported elaborate gardens with terraced hills, groves, fountains, and ornamental ponds that were essentially royal pleasure grounds, reflecting a need for private solace and public display not unlike contemporary gardens in the West.

Derek Plint Clifford

Additional Reading

General works include Derek Clifford, A History of Garden Design, 2nd ed. (1966), an attempt to relate garden design to cultural history; and Marie Luise Gothein, A History of Garden Art, 2 vol. (1928; originally published in German, 1914), the most valuable detailed general history.

National studies
William Cobbett, The American Gardener (1819); A.J. Downing, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1841, reissued 1977); Frederick L. Olmsted, Forty Years of Landscape Architecture, 2 vol. (1922–28; reprinted in 1 vol., 1970).

P.M. Bardi, The Tropical Gardens of Burle Marx (1964).

Osvald Siren, Gardens of China (1949).

Alicia Amherst, A History of Gardening in England, 3rd ed. (1910); Sir Reginald Blomfield and F. Inigo Thomas, The Formal Garden in England, 3rd ed. (1901, reprinted 1972); Miles Hadfield, Gardening in Britain (1960); Christopher Hussey, English Gardens and Landscapes, 1700–1750 (1967); Edward S. Hyams, The English Garden (1964), a well-informed guidebook.

C.M. Villiers-Stuart, Gardens of the Great Mughals (1913, reprinted 1979); Sylvia Crowe, The Gardens of Mughal India: A History and a Guide (1972).

J.C. Shepherd and G.A. Jellicoe, Italian Gardens of the Renaissance, 3rd ed. (1966), the best book; Georgina Masson, Italian Gardens, new ed. (1966), a well-informed but not always accurate guidebook that lacks historical coherence; H. Inigo Trigg, The Art of Garden Design in Italy (1906), the source of many 20th-century reproductions of Italian gardens; Edith Wharton, Italian Villas and Their Gardens (1904, reissued 1976), still worth attention.

Loraine E. Kuck, The World of the Japanese Garden (1968, reissued 1980), the best book; Josiah Condor, Landscape Gardening in Japan (1893); Jirō Harada, The Gardens of Japan (1928); Takeji Iwamiya, Imperial Gardens of Japan (1970).

Donald N. Wilber, Persian Gardens and Garden Pavilions, 2nd ed. (1979).

C.M. Villiers-Stuart, Spanish Gardens: Their History, Types and Features (1929).

Modern works
Peter F. Shepheard, Modern Gardens (1953); Thomas D. Church, Gardens Are for People, 2nd ed. (1983); James C. Rose, Creative Gardens (1958); Garrett Eckbo, The Art of Home Landscaping (1956), and The Landscape We See (1969); Peter Coats, Great Gardens of the Western World (1963); Elizabeth B. Kassler, Modern Gardens and the Landscape, rev. ed. (1984); Susan and Geoffrey Jellicoe, Modern Private Gardens (1968); Geoffrey Jellicoe, Studies in Landscape Design (1960); Lawrence Halprin, Cities (1963, reissued 1972); Edmund N. Bacon, Design of Cities, rev. ed. (1974); Ian L. McHarg, Design with Nature (1969, reissued 1971).Derek Plint Clifford Garrett Eckbo

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Universalium. 2010.

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