Starting From Scratch

October 29, 2009

DSC00441When a new Beginning Course starts up with the California School of Garden Design, what I notice most is that the student has very little knowledge of many of the landscape architects or designers that have made huge impressions within this field.  Early on I stress that, if you are serious about developing your skills in this profession, you need to be aware of the achievements of others and the overall evolution of landscape design.

Initially, your “design library”  – i.e. what you are aware of regarding design and pattern is fairly limited or non-existent.  The only way to stock the shelves is to seek out the works of current and past designers and expose yourself to their work as much as possible.

While we may not all work on the same scale as Lawerence Halprin or Thomas Church, the contributions these men have made to design is undeniable.

Books by John Brookes and Frank Lloyd Wright expand our thoughts and knowledge by looking at pattern and composition – how to use and organize space in a three-dimensional way.  There are many excellent magazines such as Garden Design and Fine Gardening  that are also recommended reading.

No matter how clever we may think we are, the chances of creating a design that has never before been conceived is highly unlikely.  What we need to know how to do is  interpret and re-create ideas and form to fit a specific site and client.  We learn how to do this by looking at the garden plans of others – in books, on the ground and by seeking them out online.

By being aware of the history of design and architect/designers we enrich our own work , develop our own style and move garden design into the future.

In my next entry I’ll continue with the importance of form composition in the beginning stages of design and ways to create that “Kodak Moment” in the garden.

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