Ali Haidar Shah, Poonam Sharma
Gardening, yards, grounds, parks, and other types of spaces are developed and decorated with plants. Garden and landscape design are used to improve the appearance of buildings, public spaces, recreational places, and parks.
It is a decorative art form associated with architecture, urban planning, and gardening, the vegetated landscape that covered most of the Earth’s continents before humans began to build still surrounds and penetrates even the largest metropolises. Efforts to design gardens and to preserve and develop green open space in and around cities are efforts to maintain contact with the original pastoral, rural landscape. Gardens and designed landscapes, by filling the open areas in cities, create a continuity in space between structural urban landscapes and the open rural landscapes beyond.
Furthermore, gardens and landscapes have a unique form of chronological continuity. Buildings, paintings, and sculpture may outlast single plants, but plants’ ceaseless cyclical growth and change provide a continuous time dimension that static structures and sculpture can never supply.
Aspects of landscape architecture
Garden and landscape design is a substantial part but by no means all of the work of the profession of landscape architecture. Defined as “the art of arranging land and the objects upon it for human use and enjoyment,” landscape architecture also includes site planning, land planning, master planning, urban design, and environmental planning. Site planning involves plans for specific developments in which precise arrangements of buildings, roadways, utilities, landscape elements, topography, water features, and vegetation are shown. Land planning is for larger-scale developments involving subdivision into several or many parcels, including analyses of land and landscape, feasibility studies for economic, social, political, technical, and ecological constraints, and detailed site plans as needed.
Master planning is for land use, conservation, and development at even greater sizes, such as open space, park-recreation, water and drainage, transportation, and utilities.
Environmental planning is used to describe natural or urbanised regions, or significant areas within them, where the impact of development on land and natural systems, their capacity to carry and sustain development, or their preservation and conservation needs have been thoroughly examined and developed as constraints on urban design and master, land, and site planning. In the context of acomprehensive survey and investigation, and ideally all of these planning and design phases follow one another closely in a continuous sequential process, but this rarely happens. Various levels of planning and design are performed by different people at different times; often the more-comprehensive phases are not performed at all or are performed in an oversimplified manner. The wise gardener or landscape architect, therefore, always begins with a careful analysis of conditions surrounding the project.Garden and landscape design deals with the treatment of land areas not covered by buildings, when those areas are considered important to visual experience, with or without utilitarian function. Typically, these land areas are of four types: those closely related to single buildings, such as front yards, side yards, and backyards, or more-extensive grounds; those around and between groups of buildings such as campuses, civic and cultural centres, commercial and industrial complexes those bordering and paralleling transportation and utility corridors such as parkways, freeways, waterways, power easements; and park-recreation open-space areas and systems. These areas may be of any size, from small urban courtyards and suburban gardens to many thousands of acres of regional, state, or national parks. Although usually conceived as vegetated green spaces on natural ground, they can include also playgrounds, urban plazas, covered malls, roof gardens, and decks, which may be almost entirely formed by construction and paving.
Garden and landscape design, therefore, works with a wide range of natural and processed materials capable of holding up well in the specific local climatic conditions of the site. These materials include earth, rock, water, and plants, either existing on the site or brought in; and construction materials such as concrete, stone, brick, wood, tile, metal, and glass.
The influence of Chinese culture throughout the East was such that other indigenous cultures usually succumbed to it, but India was an exception. Western garden styles were introduced into northern India first through contact with Iranian culture, then by the invasion of Alexander the Great and the subsequent Hellenistic influence, and, finally, by the invading Mughals, who introduced the Islamic Garden.
In southern India and in Sri Lanka elaborate gardens existed before the birth of the Buddha (c. 6th-4th century BCE). Beneath a tree in such a garden-containing baths, lotus-covered pools, trees, and beds of flowers-the Buddha himself was said to have been born. Anciently worshipped by the Hindus, trees thus acquired an additional sanctity. Buddhist temples were associated with gardens whose purpose was to promote contemplation and whose preferred sites were therefore away from cities.
(The authors are PhD scholars)
Ali Haidar Shah, Poonam Sharma