History of Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architecture History : we have always wanted our surroundings to be beautiful and this extends to the outdoors of our home as well as the interior. The practice of shaping nature around our dwellings to suit personal preference goes back centuries and many of the landscape designs that were commissioned long ago still remain with us today as tourist attractions.
Although the name ‘landscape architecture’ was coined in 1828, and it wasn’t until the twentieth century that it became a legitimate business in its own right, it is far more ancient style of architecture, stretching back as far as primitive man and his cultivation of small gardens for sustenance !
Because of the far reaching origins of landscape architecture, it is impossible to pin down a definitive origin point. Most cultures have some form or another of landscape architecture, from the water and rock gardens of Japan, to the elaborate hedge mazes and geometric tree designs of Europe, to the modest and hardy flower gardens and statues of Canada.
Different cultures also have different points when they considered landscape design to be important-building elaborate and beautiful sanctuaries has always been an important part of Japanese life, while this same importance has only recently been placed on Western equivalents.
Landscape design is also growing to be an important part of urban design as more people recognize how important it is to have green space is a forest of steel of concrete. Perhaps someday soon, all skyscrapers will have roofs of green and there will be enclaves of trees in every available corner.
For now, many have to make do with beautifying their corners in their homes and enjoying their sanctuary there. Landscape architecture started out as a practical business in the seventeenth century. Prior to this time, though many practiced it, it was not considered all that important to most people who preferred their space to be functional over beautiful. Even this early though, there was little demand for landscape design as only the rich could afford such luxuries.
One of the notable examples of elaborate landscape design is the gardens that surrounded the Palace of Versailles in the 1600s which were carefully built to be pleasing to the eye and geometrically balanced. However, at this time, it was still not known as landscape architecture.
The term was coined in 1828 and referred to the Italian gardens, though author, Gilbert Meason, of the book On The Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy, had never actually been there. Still, he had a deep appreciation for the beauty of outdoor design and began pushing for it in his home in Scotland.
The practice began to spread more widely through Europe in the nineteenth century and exploded in the twentieth. It was into the twentieth century though where landscape architecture really took off, complete with literature on the practice, schooling, and businesses growing to specialize in solely designing the gardens and lawns of buildings, not the inside.
There is more of a demand for landscape architecture as people can afford to do more elaborate things with their lawns and gardens. It is now recognized as a world wide profession in the International Labor Board and there are businesses and education that caters to those wanting to be landscape architects.
Unfortunately, it is still new and so there is little in the way of a history to draw upon yet and there are so many different styles throughout the ages that such a history would be massive. This can be advantageous as well though as it means that there is a lot for a landscape architect to draw upon.
Looking into the future, many architects predict that landscape design will be able to be ‘snuck’ into urban design more elegantly, with gardens on rooftops and more of a push for small parks even in the deepest urban center. The importance of having beautiful and natural spaces is growing in the consciousness of many and this will lead to more beautiful and greener cities overall which can only be a good thing.