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Summary of Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture By John O. Simonds


Summary By Richie Fiscus Land 110 November 17, 2009

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

John Simonds book explains many aspects of landscape architecture that are overlooked by the common man, and since each chapter breaks down an interesting aspect of his thoughts and ideas, I will summarize the book on a chapter by chapter summary. All of the chapters share one thing in common, trying to make harmony with people and the landscape. CHAPTER 1: THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT ! Chapter one is about the harmonious ideas that need to be employed to create a successful and beautiful environment. John Simonds discuses the idea that when a zoo or exhibit is created, it is designed to mimic that environment for which to create a living space for that creature or item. However, we do not do that for our own environments. If you look at large cities, one never really sees a natural environment for humans. But this is exactly what Simonds is saying, Landscape Architects need to create this natural area. ! All of the natural sciences play a key roll in understanding and creating this magnicent Human Habitat. These sciences include; geology, hydrology, biology, botany, and ecology. Each of these sciences plays a major role in the environment, with an understanding of each of these elds, landscape architects can create a great and beautiful scene, not ghting with nature but blending it with the needs and uses that one has for a space.

CHAPTER 2: CLIMATE ! Chapter two describes the climate and the effects it has on the environment. Climate is described as an average weather conditions at a place over a given time. Climate is an important aspect to think of when designing a landscape. Seasonal weather, proximity to weather changers like the gulf stream or warm ocean, average precipitation, temperature, and elevation. All of these are very important when you are creating a space. ! There are four basic climatic regions of the earth; cold, cool-temperate, the warm humid, and the hot-dry climate. There is not much you can do to change the climate but one can make the best of the environment in which they live. However, there is no
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precise boundaries or given areas where one begins and one ends, each zone contains its own unique characteristics (the United States of America contains all four of the environmental climate.) ! Global warming is, for the rst time in history, changing the climate of this planet because of the acts of humans. And for the rst time, humans are having to create around this climate change. This could make it had to plan for the future, especially for people in the green type careers, including that of landscape architecture. ! Microclimatology, or the study of the climate conditions within a limited area. Or sometime called science of small-scale weather. This eld helps to determine the usefulness of a given space for a certain or specic area. ! Seasonal changes are very important to think about when looking at a sight. A landscaper has to think about how each of his/her designs will look during summer, winter, fall and spring. When thought about during all of these steps in the year, a designer can make a space useful through out the whole year, making it much more valuable of a space that it might have been otherwise.

CHAPTER 3: LAND ! Our ancestors did little harm to the environment, hunting, shing and living with out leaving lasting damage to the environment. As population increased, the evidence of the environmental destruction increased. Now our cities remove all of nature to make room for all the humans that live there. In doing so we have driven species to extinction, moved marshes or even destroyed them.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

! Land is our greatest resource. Mismanage it and it could send us in to an economic downfall. The undeveloped areas of the country serve a very important role also. The undeveloped land serves as a form of topsoil reservoir. Once lost, this resource can never be regained again. Managing that resource is of great importance. ! Land is the habitat for all the living organisms on the earth. Ecology teaches us that all creatures and living organisms are interdependent. Without one creatures, many others suffer or more likely go extinct. Humans however are the only creatures that claim sole ownership of the land. Not much thought has been put toward the consequences of slitting land up geographically. This can cause a lot of issues in the long run.

CHAPTER 4: WATER ! Water is a very important to modern day society. Lakes and rivers once supplied water pioneers, and with the advances in technology water has almost become a sacristy. Planning out the use of this water is not an easy task, using it efciently is a matter of opinion and dependent on ones needs. ! Not only is water a resource, its also an item that has to be removed from unwanted areas. One such case of this is drainage. Drainage is a meticulous and daunting task. But to be truly efcient a designer has to think of how to use all that he can without wasting and make it last as long as possible. ! One such idea is using the drainage water to water the landscape. This removes the water, and accommodates the place in the environment. In addition to that, water makes for wondrous views, and scenic escapes.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 5: VEGETATION ! Vegetation is an important selection when trying to create a beautiful environment. Depending on climate and seasonal preferences, one can make a shaded get away, or turning it into a desert with clashing plants and an uncomfortable feel. ! Vegetation has several key roles in an environment. Plants help to stave erosion, create fertile and lush soil, and feed all the living organisms on earth. When this delicate balance is shifted or completely destroyed, it reeks havoc on the landscape. Such is the case in the middle east where once forested areas have turned in to the vast deserts that are now the rst thought when the middle east is mentioned (at least landscape wise.) The planet was once completely cover in lush plant life, but humans have proceeded to destroy it. ! Plants are one of the most important items when creating a landscape, before there was much life plants where here to create oxygen and feed the rst of the humans. Plants are the base of all food chains, without them the earth would be a lifeless, uninhabitable rock oating through space.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 6: LANDSCAPE CHARACTER ! Unity among the landscape and animal creates landscape character. The more obvious this unity is, the stronger the landscape character. This means that sometimes a designer has to remove unwanted aspects like plants that are not natural to the area. This can also be called Elimination of Incongruous Elements. ! Sometime the introduction of items is also required. This can be called Accentuation of Natural Form. This can strengthen the look or feel of the land in a way that could not have been accomplished without the man made nudge. ! Incorporating these techniques a designer can increase the pleasantness of the landscape, make it more comfortable to remain in the environment and to make people wish to return as soon as possible. This requires much imagination and patience to wait for the perfect idea for a specic project. ! But environments do not just have to be built, one can preserve an environment or landscape. This can be seen in the national parks, scenic parkways and so on. Some landscapes require no modication or tampering with, they just require the ability to exist.

CHAPTER 7: TOPOGRAPHY ! Topography is dened as the art of showing in detail on a major map the physical features of a place or region. Landscapes are seldom level, they consist of many elevations. River beds, lake beds, prairies, and mountains all have there own unique patterns with are not necessarily predictable.

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! Being able to read a contour map is very important, it allows a designer to create and shape the landscape on a three dimensional plan. Not only that but it allows the construction and presentation of ones idea on paper. There are many ways to survey a space to make a topographical map, the compass and chain method is a good for logging roads but is hardly suited to high precision projects. ! Three types of topographical surveys are; property, general, and datum. Property surveys are property to be surveyed is marked on the enclosed location map (to be provided to the surveyor by the landscape architect.) General; surveyor shall do all work necessary to determine accurately the physical conditions existing on the site. And Finally, datum; elevations shall be referenced to any convenient and permanent bench mark with an assumed elevation of 100 feet. The bench-mark location shall be shown on the map.

CHAPTER 8: SITE PLANNING ! The rst step in planning a site is trying to come up with a clear understanding of what is trying to be accomplished. For every sight there is a specic design that will work and for every design there is a specic sight. ! Do not for a specic design an a landscape because it is easy, there are times when thinks can be thrown together in a way that makes it look unsettling and out of place because the designer used multiple aspects that did not t together. Chose a site that ts your needs and do not be afraid to recommend a new site for a design or new design for a site, because a designer is not only there to help create but also to help make it possible. Find the features that t together and are not forced together. Meshing is what one looks for, forced planning can make a plan undesirable. ! Take in the needs of the site and try to plan for those, you do not want to design a landscape and learn that there is no way to clean the pool when that time comes. Work with what you have and design out the aws. One may not be able to move power lines but you can hide them with trees or other plantings. Also take into consideration the impact your design has on a sight and how it will be affected in the future.
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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 9: SITE DEVELOPMENT ! Designing a sight is a complicated and hard feat. There are many things that one must take into account, for one example designing a city lot one has to think about the space, making it seem larger than it really is and acts as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Reduced noise, and fumes also might be high on the list of items a person might be trying to escape form, so by creating a space with all of these aspects incorporated would create an environment that one would feel comfortable in while trying to escape these same aspects in the city. ! On a rural type site, the design is a lot more open and there is a greater feeling of exploration. The mountain tops miles away may even become part of the design in this case, including the also the trees, fences and other visual cues out of the control of the architect, if you can not beat them join them, as some people would say. The design focuses less on the immediate environment and much more on the horizon. ! Editing the sight to make it more suitable to the needs of the design is a must also. Sometimes the land needs to be added to or subtracted from to make the plan work with the land. Other sites may include; mountains, inner city, the forest, the urban waterfront, and the lake front.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 10: LANDSCAPE PLANTING ! Most Americans enjoy gardening, and seeing that gardening is so very important, it is a good thing that everyone takes an interest in it. Planting a property is one of the main key points in nishing a project. With out the plants, the project is not done, and with the wrong plants the project is left in ruins. So when planting, take careful consideration of what your trying to accomplish and what kind of environment your trying to create. Using the wrong plants in the wrong environment can make the design look horrible or even cause all the plants to die. ! Designs for these areas have to be complete and thorough or the landscape architect, contractor or resident that is trying to build the landscape may be left scratching his head. Along with that, the landscape architect must also follow all of the correct guide lines, without doing so some of the plants or even the design itself may be against some of these guidelines (like trees are very important in a design, make sure to place them correctly or the whole site will be incorrect.)

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 11: SITE VOLUMES ! Landscape architects are not dealing with areas, but are actually dealing with spaces. Designs should be used to create spaces not just areas, such as a play ground, one jungle gym can bring a child a lot of joy, but adding it to a park with other spaces allows the child's imagination to go to work and make the environment they want to be in. ! Volumes, when created in the wrong combination can actually feel unwelcoming and even disturb a person to move from the space. There are many spatial qualities to take in to account when designing a space. some spatial qualities are interest inward toward the middle, or outward towards the surrounding area. When considering the size of the project, make sure to consider the habits, responses and requirements.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 12: VISIBLE LANDSCAPE ! The view of a landscape is seldom used to its full advantage. With that being said, the view of a property should be taken in to consideration before one starts designing how they want that space to look. By doing this one can make the view and the landscape blend together and get the most benet from both. ! Incorporate both the fore ground and the background together to make a picture perfect landscape. Use the view as a back drop. A vista is a conned view, usually directed toward a terminal or dominant feature. ! A view should be concealed until you are viewing it from the desired location, and only then should it be reviewed. Images should also be suggested in some cases, leaving a little to the imagination. By doing this the designer can expand the landscape to the scope of the viewers imagination.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

! The terminal feature on which the vista is focused sets the theme to be developed. The terminal feature can be presented in progressive stages, or can be viewed along the whole approach. There can be no distractions, the focus must be on only what it is that the designer wishes to display, thus pulling the view completely into the scope of the landscape

CHAPTER 13: CIRCULATION ! Most construction only make sense, or is used by only humans. Lines or patterns present paths for us to move through, around over, under or by a certain object. Experience is rarely from a xed point, most of the time it is either from a moving car, pedestrian or some other form of vehicle. So a view must be designed from a progressive state. ! There are many ways to cause motion or the perception of motion in your design. Obstructions, interference, and obscuring objects are just a few ideas on how to make it appear that objects are moving. ! There also other factors that play parts in repelling or attracting viewers to an object. Other important features are; impelling factors, repelling factors motion directors, repose inducers, horizontal motion, downward motion/decline, upward motion/rise/ clime, and induced response. All of these can be used to force an emotion, direction or an introduction to something else.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 14: STRUCTURES ! We live in a good time for viewing and learning from structures, we can visit them, view them on the internet, receive pictures of them from our friends who have seen them and even read about them in books. All this is good because we can learn from them. We can see there mistakes, use them or x them for our own designs. We can even see what their good qualities are and use, duplicate and mimic what is so appealing about a particular design. ! However there are a couple of thinks that are required for all structures; fulll their purpose, reect their time/culture, respond to the climate, use of state of the art technology, and tted compatibly into the built environs and the living scape. ! Groups of structures can even be used to create an appealing look. The space between them, the lack of space between them and even their shape play a role in the over all look of their design. However there are a couple rules of composition that are required to be met before a structure will look like it belongs. One such rule is the law of the same, which says architectural harmony may be perceived or created in a structure or composition of structures that attains order through the repetition of the same elements, forms, or spaces.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 15: HABITATION ! Habitations are many things; family gathering centers, shelter, and even a base of operations in some matters of speaking. These can be hard to incorporate together, but one also must take into account nature and blend them together without removing any of the needs of the occupants. ! Humans need a couple things from their houses and living habitats, some of which being; shelter, protection, utility, amenity, privacy, a sense of spaciousness and a feel of natural appeal. ! When working with residential components, one must take into account a couple more things, including; existing site features, area allocation, the dwelling, outdoor activity spaces, supplemental structures, furnishings and a variation on a theme.

CHAPTER 16: COMMUNITY PLANNING ! The word community has many connotations, most of which are positive. Plants, animal and even people seem to thrive in these environments. However, when a community become too dense or over populated, it can sacrice the health of its occupants. This just shows the importance of gardens in an urban environment. ! Communities should function as efciently as possible, like a well oiled machine, which means it uses all of its material in only the most important ways. But also meets all the needs of the community, meaning schools, shopping and recreation. This can only be accomplished in a planned community, unplanned communities are very inefcient and most the time dull looking or at least out dated.

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Summary of Landscape Architecture

CHAPTER 17: URBAN DESIGN ! Sometimes urban design seems like it is a matter of seeing how many building we can stack into the smallest space we can nd and call it good, but there is a lot of planning that goes into designing an efcient yet appealing city. And with efciency sometime looks takes a backseat. In the opinion of John Simonds, our modern cities look more like the arid desert, then any of our ancestors cities before us. ! With the age of computers and technology, has come a time with a lack of design, and imagination. It is apparent that we have to put the thought forward. Our city streets, long and straight with no end in sight and not appeal at all. ! Cities can be broken down into a couple parts; center city, inner city, outer city, suburbs, and the countryside. Each of these components plays a key part in to the success or failure of a city as a whole. Without each part of the city developed properly, the city can not function properly.

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CHAPTER 18: GROWTH MANAGEMENT ! In the next couple of decades, the most important aspect of a city is going to be the management of its growth. To do this properly a city and its government must understand the need to grow, and prepare for this growth. Two things government ofcials are going to have to look for are, project reviews and required services. ! Restoration of the older parts of the cities are also going to be an important part of the growth of a city. Activity centers, xed boundaries, open spaces, roadways, land value appreciation, re-centering, and zoning are all going to be important topics that will have to be addressed at there appropriate times.

CHAPTER 19: THE REGIONAL LANDSCAPE ! Cities and landscapes have to be built to work together. boundaries cannot hold the polluted air in just the city, but is blown where ever the wind wishes to carry it. Regions and communities interact, just as families and family members gather friends. ! Open space areas are created for saving the best of the natural environments, and to create breathing room for its citizens. Creating beautiful and breath taking views for everyone to enjoy, and as a break from the hustle of city life. Greenways and blueways are created to cool the cities, provide clean air, and create a place for families to gather and play in a community setting. ! Governance is also a topic that cities on a regional level will have to discuss. Communities on a smaller level should be able to govern themselves within reason.
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This makes sense, they should be able to make decisions about their own schools, committees, councils and elected ofcials.

CHAPTER 20: THE PLANNED ENVIRONMENT ! One thing that makes our country great is the ability to do with our land as we see t, however this may not be for the best as a country as a whole. With this in the past couple years, we as a country have been hearing a lot about environmental issues. Such issues as power efciency and green house gases. ! Other issues that face our country at this time are; population explosion, growth management, regional planning, metro government, civic action, conservation easements or gifts of land, water resource management, soil loss, pollution, safety, climate, natural disasters, war and conservation.

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! CHAPTER 21: PERSPECTIVE ! One does not plan places, spaces, or things; one plans experiences. This being said, things can not be forced upon someone, its more of a suggestion, and they take it as they please. Like a highway is not so much a strip of pavement but is the experience of movement. Because of this many highways fail because their original purpose in never considered, making the highway almost awkward to drive.

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