13 Uses of Landscape/Plants in Architecture

Am doing a post reading blog post here on Brian Hackett’s book on PLANTING DESIGN. He is the emeritus professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Newcastle.

Often as architecture students we really only know about Plants is about having a green sight and improvising the overall building green space to achieve the certain living balancing theme. But it offers much more in terms of spatial distribution, sight and freedom of space concepts.

1, TREES (Basic planting): The species selected for this group should be hardy, able to hold their own among other species, vigorous in growth, and with no difficult problems of visual relationship with other plants and elements of the landscape. Designers who respect ecological indigenous to the locality and exotics which have become established as part of the local sense.

2. TREES (Special effect) Trees in this section would include those sufficiently individualistic, spectacular, or strong in character to occupy isolated positions, either because of those qualities or because they do not mix easily in a visual sense with other tree. The group would also include trees which can act as accents in a basic planting. Sometimes it is the rigid form of a tree-like blue spruce which dictates that it can only associate with other trees in a formal landscape, and sometimes it is the temporary nature of the effect, as with the so-called “flowering Trees” and those with good Autumn colour.

3. TREES (Barriers) Barriers formed with plants are needed in landscapes for screening unpleasant views, for dividing up the landscape into spaces, for providing shelter from the wind, for protection against smoke and dust, for defining legal boundaries, and ,as with all planting, for assisting in the creation of a beautiful landscape. In order to achieve these objectives, one looks for qualities of impenetrability through the medium of dense leaf or tangled twig growth, and for the ability to stand up to the forces ranged against the barrier . The emphasis in plant selection is likely to be of those qualities rather than appearance.

4. SHRUBS (Basic Planting) Using this as a basic constituent of the planting, compared to their traditional use as an interest or decoration. Shrubs can be effectively used as a massing landscape with a soft touch at times, because shrubs used in the mass are sometimes used as the under storey of a plantation of trees and sometimes used to perform the same tasks at a smaller scale in the open as tress used for basic planting.  The same qualities of hardiness growth are appropriate as for trees fulfilling the same function, with a greater emphasis on evergreen plants.

5. SHRUBS (Special Effects) The same thing as trees, but at the same time noting the need for shrubs which can produce special effect when more amount is being put together rather than a single tree.

6) SHRUBS (Barriers) Impenetrability is essential, unless the barrier is merely for visual purpose. Thus spikiness achieved by the habit of the twigs or by thorns is advantage. A matter to consider is the ability of the plant to accept pruning, either to control growth and increase density or to produce topiary effects.

7) SHRUBS (edgings) The use of Shrubs for edgings to footpaths, to outline in beds of other kinds of plants, and to create line effects in traditional parterres is not a frequent occurrence in contemporary landscapes, not least because of the maintenance problem. The limitations on the selection of suitable plants are that they should be low in growth, dense and compact.

8) GROUNDFLORA (Woodland Groundcover) The ability to accept shade and drip from trees and  drip from trees and shrubs, and stand up to competition in the soil for nutrients and moisture, are essential qualities in the choice of plants which may include low-growing shrubs, herbs and ferns,.

9) GROUNDFLORA (Open Land Groundcover) Grass mixtures fall into this category. The selection of species relates to the appearance of unmown areas. A wide range plants available to create visual interest at ground level. Vigour in growth to cover the ground quickly, dense twigs, and foliage, a spreading habit and ability to increase by suckering are important qualities. With regard to appearance, colour and particularly a textural effect created by the leaves are desirable.

10) GROUNDFLORA (Herbaceous/Perennial) The perennial herbs used in the traditional herbaceous border are familiar examples. They can be used as beds viewed from all sides and some species naturalize in rough grass areas. Colour and height are qualities that should be considered in making a list which gives ample scope for design purposes.

11. GROUNDFLORA (Herbaceous/annual) the use of annuals has diminished with the high cost of labour and to a certain extent from changing fashion. For exhibition or temporary plantings, annuals are effective and economical. This section could include bedding out plants which also have the characteristic of being temporary in a planting design.

12. CLIMBERS : these plants include those used primarily for covering a wall. But note the decorative effect comes to play with you able to change the facade of the wall at seasons goes by. Fruit trees can be trained against a wall for decorative effect to produce fruit in a sheltered environment.

13. AQUATICS AND SUB AQUATICS: Aquatic plants, for design purpose, are divided into species fully submerged, those with floating leaves and flowers, and the swordlike reeds, rushes, and irises. The latter group also include the sub aquatics growing in wet conditions. Plants which contribute to oxygenation of the water are valuable in this section.