The Garden Guide

Loudon, John Claudius

Born - Died : 1783 - 1843

Loudon is the only polymath to have taken up the profession of landscape design in the British Isles. The son of a farmer, he studied at the University of Edinburgh and arrived in London at the age of 20 with letters of introduction. This led to a series of commissions for landscape projects in which he sought to introduce 'more of the picturesque' into the English landscape. The results were illustrated in his 1806 Treatise on Country Residences. Ill health having halted this career, he took the lease of a farm, made a fortune and set out to see Europe. This experience gave him an admiration for the 'old' 'formal' 'geometric' gardens which had been out of favour in England for a century. He praised them in his Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1822) and later advocated a style of planting design which he named Gardenesque. The aim was to place exotic species in natural compositions. The influence of this idea lives on. Loudon was an advocate of public parks and published important works on glass houses, architecture, horticulture and agriculture. See biography of John Claudius Loudon, by his wifeï¾ Jane Loudon

Loudon also laid a foundation on which the landscape architecture could be built, though the degree to which it was built on this foundation is uncertain.  Loudon (1) welcomed Gilbert Laing Meason's introduction of the term 'landscape architecture' (2) used the term in an 1840 book title The landscape gardening and landscape architecture of the late Humphry Repton, esq., being his entire works on these subjects : ...with historical and scientific introduction, a systematic analysis, a biographical notice, notes, and copious alphabetical index. (3) Wrote authoritatively on a great many of the disiplinary areas which not contribute to the education of landscape architects: garden design, urban design, public parks, horticulture, agriculture, forestry etc (4) was one of the first people to advocate the provision of public open space in industrial cities (5) put forward a pioneering green belt plan for London, which may have influenced subsequent open space and green belt planning around the world

Gardens designed by Loudon, John Claudius