Ask a number of people to define landscape design, and there will be numerous answers. But most people will say that creating an eye-catching atmosphere is the key element of this specialty.
A small number of people will go beyond this and bring in elements of advance planning, long-term sustainability, and professional creativity that a home or building owner may not be able to apply. It’s also possible to get some very special contributions from a professional experienced in landscape design.
For example, extensive knowledge of soils and plant management can add significantly to a project. Some elements of engineering, earth-moving, and use of natural materials like stone will take a project far beyond the simple planting of trees and shrubs.
This is why the space separating landscape architecture and design is so small. In many cases, architecture is applied to larger projects, such as university campuses, corporate headquarters and government construction projects.
Design for a Specific Place
Designers must take into account the particular climate and atmosphere in which the design will work. Using the existing topography will figure heavily in design, especially if there will be a need for moving earth to make major changes in the project site.
These items are among those that must be considered:
- Local building codes
- Regional building codes
- Planned use for people
- Planned use for vehicles
- Animal/nature requirements
Add to this the individual wants and needs of the homeowner or property owner, and the designer has quite a few elements to incorporate into the final product.
All of these pieces must work together for appearance’s sake, of course. But it is just as important for the design to provide proper function. This alone may mean that some points of focus have to be changed or slightly altered in the final stages.
When the project comes to the point of bringing in a specialist in design, elements of art and science will come together to produce the final result. With the advent of computer design technology, professionals in this field are able to produce early plans of a project before visiting a site.
Experience and Training in Landscape Design
In the past, it was possible to become a much-in-demand design pro without the benefit of formal education. Experience was, for a long time, the best (and only) teacher. But this has changed in the last few decades.
Schools that focused on design began to appear in the early part of the 20th century. Some schools combine agriculture and horticulture programs with more abstract design elements. More recently, education for this field has included more detailed scientific study in engineering, art, construction and other fields.
The bottom line is that landscape design adds a great deal to the appearance and value of a property, residential or commercial.