The Landscape Guide

Landscape Design Theory RESOURCES: Design Objectives Ecology, Community, Delight, Archetypes, Design MethodsStructuralism & Design, Community Design, Single Tree Principle, Design with nature, Master Plans,

Design Theory

This section of the website is concerned with the What? Why? and How? of landscape design.

  • Design objectives (Why re-design the landscape)
  • Landscape types (What kinds of landscape to design)
  • Aesthetics (How to shape the landscape)

Ian Thompson carried through a most interesting philosophical review of these issues and published the results in a book on: Ecology community and delight: sources of values in landscape architecture (E & FN Spon 2000). In essence, his argument was that the classic Vitruvuan objectives have continuing relevance for landscape design and can be re-phrased as Ecology, Community and Delight. The contents of this section of the Landscape Architecture Guide reflect this organisation and add the use of design Archetypes, as argued by Christopher Alexander.

Ecology, Community and Delight

Thompson analyses the theoretical texts upon which landscape architecture rests and uses an interview-technique to relate the texts to the values of prominent UK landscape architects. As summarised in the book title, the three main sources of value are found to be 'ecology, community and delight'. These are seen as counterparts to the classic Vitruvian values: commodity, firmness and delight. The trilogy leads to a theory of how to integrate 'ecological, social and aesthetic' factors into the landscape design process.

The layered objectives,
and areas of knowledge,
which characterise the
design process can be
represented by a pile of
rubber bands.