The Landscape Guide

Contextual policy

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The need to respond to local context is one of the great differences between landscape design and many other types of design (books, cars, refrigerators etc). But it does not follow that a landscape design should be similar to its context. On different occasions a good case can be made for each or the three logical alternatives, or they can be used in combination:

  • If the objective is Identity, the survey--analysis--design (SAD) method is likely to be appropriate, and the starting point is likely to be the natural and human patterns that exist on site.
  • If the objective is Similarity, the designer must keep a balance between natural, human, aesthetic and archetypal patterns.
  • If the objective is Difference, the design process is likely to start with archetypal or aesthetic patterns.

Part of the landscape architect's professional skill lies in analysing the essence of a locality and then making an appropriate design response.

Garden designers should also have this skill. Gardens made in different types of place should respond to the owner's and designer's Sense of Place.