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Illustrated History of Landscape Design

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The constructed landscape embodies a vision of creative power. The gardens and landscapes of the past serve as an endless source of possibility and inspiration. Discovering how the elements of nature have been recombined in different times and places intrigues us. Our purpose in assembling a visual reference of historic landscapes is to provide to the reader a useful guide that captures our exuberance for landscape design.

We examine landscape history as designers, and through the language of design, which is drawing. Plans, sections, elevations, and perspectives are all useful in communicating form and spatial relationships. To this vocabulary we’ve added sequential drawings, to capture the dynamic experience of space.

As an art form, a designed landscape is a cultural product, representing the ideals and values of its creator, owner, or patron, and situated within a unique social, economic, and political environment. Studying landscape history can inspire contemporary designers, and help them position their work in relationship to present circumstances. Precedents can be rejected or translated into current idioms. Our experience in leading summer study-abroad programs has taught us the value of fi rsthand experience of historic sites. Observation and analysis (accomplished through drawing) can inform the design process and elevate the quality of one’s work.

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