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Landscape is the cloak we wrap around ourselves before we step inside the artificial. Landscape is the sky above us, the views around us, and the ground underneath us. People interact everyday with landscape. The land, and all that grows on it filters our air and our water and provides us with food. The landscape sustains us. We live off of the land. People farmed the land from early times. Kitchen gardens were among the first cultivated gardens. As people became more secure and settled in fertile places, other types of gardens emerged. Pleasure gardens are gardens specifically designed to cultivate an intimate relationship with nature. Follies are events or surprises in the landscape. Destinations are places to find along the way. Landscape design choreographs space, time and nature, connecting people with places of art through planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation of the land.

Landscape space, time, and nature!

Activity 1 – Plan a Tree Garden

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Trees can make a home or property beautiful and increase the value while saving on energy costs. Shade trees on the east and west of a building keep it cool to reduce the amount of air conditioning needed; they also shade concrete sidewalks and asphalt parking lots. A line of trees, called a windbreak, helps keep cold winter winds away. In this activity, pick a building, a vacant lot or a parking lot in your neighborhood to improve by planting trees. How do you choose which kinds of trees to plant in a new neighborhood?

First, find your hardiness zone and a list of trees using The National Arbor Day Foundation’s website.

Here are some things to consider when designing a tree landscape plan (a landscape plan is a drawing or diagram showing where and what kinds of trees, bushes, flowers, and other plantings will be placed):

Think about shape, height, breadth and mature form of the trees you select for your landscape plan. Consider the shape of the leaves, color of the flowers and fruit (if any) and leaves in the spring and the fall, texture and color of the bark of the trees, and movement of the tree in the breeze. Organize the trees in plan, section and elevation to show their placement. Be sure to put scale people in your drawings to show the size of the trees. Will you create a row of trees, a grove of trees, a circle of trees, a grid of trees or a natural arrangement. Will your design be formal (geometrically laid out) or informal (appear to be a natural growth of trees)?

Trees are vertical points in a landscape!

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Activity 2 – Neighborhood Landscapes

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Take a walk around your neighborhood. Look for gardens. When you find a garden, take a closer look. For each planted area determine how many hours of direct sun each garden gets. If the garden faces south (and has no shadows from trees or buildings), it is called a sun garden. Plants that need a full day of sun grow best in sun gardens. If the garden gets less than half a day of direct sunshine, it is called a shade garden. If it consists mostly of herbs, it is called a kitchen garden or herb garden. If it is full of tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, beans, peas, radishes and carrots, it is surely a vegetable garden! If it is full of native plants that grew naturally before any streets or buildings were built, it is considered a native vegetation garden.

sunlight garden: garden which gets half day to full day of sunshine
shade garden: garden which does not get direct sunlight
herbal garden: garden that is dedicated to growing cooking herbs such as rosemary, basil, sage, etc.
vegetable gardens:gardens that grow tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, radishes, carrots, lettuce, etc.
native vegetation: plants that grow naturally in a certain place seasonal: vegetation that blooms, grows or colors a garden differently during seasons

Point out the parks!

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Activity 3 – Country Landscapes

This activity is under construction but will include information on types of countryside landscapes such as nature preserves, state and national parks, wetlands, etc.

Activity 4 – City Landscapes

The father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, understood the value of green space for urban health. As our cities become denser, the need to allow for places of interactivity and repose with plants, trees, water elements increases. This activity is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

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Activity 5 – Plan a Landscape

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  • Landscape Architecture takes into account the growing season.
  • Sunlight plays an important factor in garden design.
  • Gardens do not need destination points to draw people in.
  • Trees can help cool buildings.
  • Annual means that the plants grow every year.
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