Planting Design


LARC 515





This course investigates programmatic objectives, climatic and site conditions, and maintenance constraints affecting planting design. You will develop an understanding of the ecological conditions that plants require in their natural habitats and how these requirements can be translated to planting design in built environments.

You will gain an increased awareness of the role and importance of plants in fostering human wellbeing and deepen your knowledge of horticulture and design theory as it relates to all aspects of planting design. You will develop planting designs at small and medium scales using the typical graphic communication, plan formulation, and plant schedules used in current professional practice.

Winter 2018 term 2

Designing with plants: A behavioral and ecological approach to the use of plants in design landscapes

Dr. Patrick Mooney

This course is an introduction to the use of plants in the landscape.  The ecological, functional and aesthetic characteristics and uses of both exotic and native plants in design landscapes are studied from the perspective of human environmental response and an ecological systems approach to planting design.

One of the rather discrete contributions to environmental planning, design and management that landscape architecture can make is the utilization of plants for function / environmental or affective / aesthetic purposes.  Planting design is a complex activity, as it must respond to a myriad of programmatic objectives, climatic and site conditions, and budget and maintenance constraints.  It plays a major role in the art of landscape architecture and must be implemented with a sound understanding of horticulture.  Its purpose is to support the overall site program.  When used in conjunction with all other components of the landscape, e.g. soils, grading, water management and hard landscape, it can support an expanded and multifunctional sustainable landscape.

It is crucial that landscape designers understand the conditions under which plants will grow well.  There are two aspects involved here.  The first is ecological, that is, understanding those conditions that a particular species requires in natural habitats in order to reach, through succession, a relatively steady state to those assure perpetuation.  The second is an extension of the ecological aspect; requirements for the well-being of plants in built environments, including maintenance, which are basically no less exacting than requirements in the natural environment.  While time does not permit covering all aspects of the culture of plants, effort will be made to cover the most important considerations.