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Landscape Architecture Essay

The Process of Landscape Architecture
In the modern world, there are many ways to go about doing any given project, but with Landscape and architecture, there seems to be a constant of how to plan out a design. A landscape architect plans and designs land areas for different places such as parks, recreational facilities, highways, airports, and other properties. Their project sites may vary from subdivisions and commercial, to industrial or residential. Landscape architects plan the location of buildings, roads, and walkways, and where to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees. They design areas to be functional, beautiful, and friendly with the environment. Natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, and mined areas, can be restored by the design and plan of a landscape architect.

Many of them specialize in a particular area, whether it is environmental remediation, planning public areas, or designing private estates. People also enjoy their attractive designed gardens, public parks, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, golf courses, and more. Landscape architects beautify and improve neighborhoods and communities. But even though all of this may sound like a fun job, this career is as if being an artist; you can try over and over again, but it doesn’t get any easier. It takes hard work to be a successful landscape architect. There are many steps to becoming a success at said career, but one of the most prominent is the simple art of presenting your work. When learning to be a successful artist, the first thing one must do is start by positioning your every movement and stroke correctly.

The foremost important thing to work on is something as simple as the lettering. As it is, many landscape architects use simple upper case lettering. It is imperative that there are no serifs on any of the letters as to confuse anyone who may be reading the plans. When using upper and lower case lettering, it often just differentiates depending on what type of plan it is; if it is formal, it will generally be in all upper case, while on the other hand, if it incorporates lower case letters than it is probably because it is an informal concept plan, or even a preliminary sketch. (Reid).

Many people may have seen someone drafting a design before but not fully understood all of the technique required to be a skilled worker. The main difference between writing a regular note and drafting plans is the way the utensil held. While writing something such as an essay, the pencil is held at a higher angle. For example, the paper being one edge of the angle, the pencil would complete it making about an eighty degree angle. In drafting, it is vital that one must not hold the pencil above a thirty degree angle for the pencil should be rotated slightly so that the flattened edge is up against the vertical guide; or in other words, a design ruler. (Reid). Next is to do a site analysis to be able to create the conceptual drawings to then present to the client. After meeting with the client again, revisions are made to the drawings, a final drawing/plan is created, and the construction estimations are made to begin the construction.

There will be times that a blue print does not end up working for the area the project is on. If a hill is steeper than was thought, then backtrack and make the necessary changes. The site has to be plotted out. It is helpful to use electronic devices that give the measurements and properties of the site, they give every detail like where there are bumps and trees that might get in the way of what needs to be built. It creates a base map to build off of. There is a lot that goes into planning a new design, it is not a simple process. Planning and drafting a blueprint alone could take up to a month easily. There is a lot of back and forth work with the client to get up to the final decision to make sure it is exactly what they want. (Wang).

Successful work in landscape architecture requires education in aspects of botany, horticulture, architecture, industrial design, ecology and more. It is important to develop artistic and creative abilities, and environmental awareness. Some of the many courses required to become a landscape architect include principles and elements of design, seasonal plants and applications, landscape graphics, environmental design, construction technology, and planting design. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture is usually important to have when looking for a job. There are two landscape architect professional degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). These programs usually require 4 to 5 years of study. (Landscape).

The surroundings of a residential home serve a multitude of “utilitarian, aesthetic, and psychological functions” for all who see it. (Booth). To some, the site surrounding the home is considered to be somewhat of an exterior extension of the functions that go on inside the home. In addition, it can represent the lifestyle and values in which the residents are choosing. The foremost aspect of the landscaping of a house is the front yard. One, it is the setting that passerby will be viewing from the street, and two, it is the public access way in the arrival and departure of the house. Therefore it becomes the most important part for a landscape architect to optimize for the maximum “curb appeal”. In order to accomplish this, much attention is required in organizing the plant materials along the front side of the house to properly “set the house off”. (Booth).

Second most important in designing the landscape of a home is the back yard. While the front yard provides physical attraction to both the owners and people who pass by, the back yard is more focused on one’s personal preference. This too can become difficult for any landscape architect to design because it must accommodate all three of the most important necessities in making a backyard. Not only must it provide nice outdoor living and entertainment, but also it needs to suitable for recreation and utilitarian activities such as gardening and storage. So while not as prominent as the front yard, the back yard is still significant enough issue for a landscape architect to worry about. (Booth)

The planning of where things belong in any setting whether it be suburban, rural, or even urban, can be very exasperating for anyone who is working on the landscape of the area. For instance, one must take into account the type of weather and climate that said setting will have most of the year in order to know what ornaments and vegetation will be used. It is important to know how to be able to meet the needs of any client. Some enjoy heat, others, the cold; so the art of designing where to place a table so that it will get the most sun year round, or where to put a bench that requires the most wind and shade is crucial to master. Not only is it important to please the client, but also to make it look attractive for all eyes to see. (Dargan).

As it is, the subtle things are sometimes what mean the most to us. The thing that separates an amateur landscape architect from an experienced, hard working, and well established one is the mastering of the harmony in materials. It does not matter whether s/he is designing for a starter home or a “connoisseur’s mansion”, the indistinct attributes are what can convey the “genius loci” (spirit of a place). (Dargan). Choosing things such as stone and paving materials are almost exhilarating for a landscape architect to decide upon. Hugh Dargan notes that “The approach and arrival sequence needs to say that you are encountering something special. Build the personality of the site with care and consistency”. (Dargan).

A few more axioms that need be stated are the necessity for a setting to have a seamless flow and modulate spacing. In conquering the seamless flow, the idea is to make it so that the yard, portal, parking court, front walk, and entry node work in harmony or concert so that there are no “gaps in the flow”. When dealing with modulate space, this is where the experienced landscape architects truly separate from the novice ones. This has to do with plantings that add beauty, interest, and solve visual problems. It is the harmony of materials which binds the property together into a coherent whole. (Dargan).

A simple reason as to why landscape architects must be well equipped is for something as seemingly trivial as designing a pool. Wang states that there is no rule of thumb for swimming pools because sizes vary depending on the type of pool and whether it be a lap pool or a wider, double-laned pool of twenty feet or more. (Wang). In designing a lap pool, they are more used for the benefit of fitting in as an artistic object. An interesting approach that is made is the idea of aligning the axis of the back door and the pool as to make it the focal point of the terrace. Though difficult, it is these types of intricate designs that can magnify the outdoor space by reflecting a backdrop. But great results only come from those who put in a great effort. So by making the edge of the pool with the landscape beyond, landscape architects are able to make a limited amount of surface space seem
almost unlimited. (Wang).

The job of a landscape architect is to do more than just create a balanced setting for all to see and enjoy, but also as a way to communicate with others and convey a design that can have its place in society. A duck for example, is considered to be architect modeled by association, “A building whose shape suggests its content in the most direct way”. It is people like architect Robert Venturi that utilize such abnormal styles of buildings and sculptures. This is what is known as speaking architecture of an elementary sort, although for many it represents american popular culture at its most characteristic. More of such evidence has told us that establishing oneself as a prominent landscape architect is difficult, but rewarding. (O’Gorman).

Becoming a landscape architect is not an easy task. One must acquire the know-how to determine preference, knowledge of accepted motifs, and the ability to draw. It is most crucial that the landscape architect knows how to draw because without it, there would be no illustration of design, blueprint, or anything to base your work off of to make the best there can be. Overall, after the many years of schooling, a landscape architect will never stop learning for s/he will always need to stay up to date with preference and design.

Works Cited
Booth, Norman K., and James E. Hiss. Residential Landscape Architecture: Design Process for the Private Residence. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991. Print. Dargan, Hugh Graham., and Mary Palmer. Dargan. Timeless Landscape Design. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2011. Print.

Landscape Architecture. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2013. O’Gorman, James F. ABC of Architecture. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1998. Print. Reid, Grant W. Landscape Graphics. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1987. Print. Wang, Thomas C. Plan and Section Drawing. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold,
1979. Print.


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