• Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practiced by
landscape designers, combining nature and culture
• Landscape design focuses on both the integrated master landscape planning of a property
and the specific garden design of landscape elements within it.
• It is often divided into hardscape design and softscape design.
• Landscape designers often collaborate with related disciplines such as architecture and
geography, soils and civil engineering, surveying, landscape contracting, botany, and artisan
Factors in designing include objective qualities; such as:
• The climate and microclimates;
• Topography and orientation,
• Site drainage and groundwater recharge;
• Municipal and resource building codes,
• Soils and irrigation,
• Human and vehicular access and circulation,
• Recreational amenities (ie: sports and water),
• Furnishings and lighting,
• Native plant habitat botany when present,
• Property safety and security,
• Construction detailing, and other measurable considerations.
Factors in designing also include subjective qualities such as:
• Genus loci (the special site qualities to emphasize);
• Client's needs and preferences;
• Desirable plants and elements to retain on site, modify, or replace and available to use as borrowed
scenery from beyond;
• Artistic composition from perspectives of both looking upon and being in the gardens;
• Spatial development and definition;
• Plant palettes in designed layouts, and artistic focal points for enjoyment.
There are innumerable other design factors and considerations brought to the complex process of
designing a landscape that is beautiful, well functioning, and thrives over time.
• Site planning refers to the organizational stage of the landscape design process.
• It involves the organization of land use zoning, access, circulation, privacy,
security, shelter, land drainage, and other factors.
• This is done by arranging the compositional elements of landform, water,
buildings, planting, paving, drives, parking, street furniture and lighting elements.
• Site planning generally begins by assessing a potential site for development
through site analysis.
• Information about slope, soils, hydrology, vegetation, parcel ownership,
orientation, etc. are assessed and mapped.
• By determining areas that are poor for development (such as floodplain or steep
slopes) and better for development, the planner or architect can assess optimal
location and design a structure that works within this space.
• Site Analysis is an element in site planning and design.
• Site analysis is an inventory completed as a preparatory step to site planning which
involves research, analysis, and synthesis. It primarily deals with basic data as it
relates to a specific site.
• The topic itself branches into the boundaries of architecture, landscape
architecture, engineering, economics, and urban and regional planning.
• A site plan is a "graphic representation of the arrangement of buildings, parking,
drives, landscaping and any other structures that are part of a development
• Such a plan of a site is an architectural plan, landscape architectural document,
and a detailed engineering drawing of proposed improvements to a given land
• A site plan "usually shows a building footprint, travel ways (roads, footpaths,
trails), parking, drainage facilities, sanitary and sewer lines, water supply lines,
trails, lighting, and landscaping and garden elements".
• A site plan is a "set of construction drawings that a builder or contractor uses to
make improvements to a property. Site plans are often prepared by a design
consultant who must be either a licensed engineer, architect, landscape architect
or land surveyor".
SITE PLAN BUILDING BLOCKS
A site plan is a top view, of a property that is drawn to scale. A site plan shows:
• Property lines
• Outline of existing and proposed buildings and structures
• Distance between buildings
• Distance between buildings and property lines (setbacks)
• Parking lots, indicating parking spaces
• Surrounding streets
• Landscaped areas
• Ground sign location
• Lacking speed, strength etc., we humans have long learnt to attack a situation with our minds.
• We posses the ability to weigh the factors of a problem and reason out a response.
• We are able to learn not only from our own experiences but also from the accumulated wisdom of history.
• Our essential strength is our unique power of perception (making ourselves aware of all conditions and
applicable factors) and deduction (deriving, through reason, an appropriate means of procedure) .
Perception and deduction being the essence of all planning.
• Surely with our superior minds we should have built paradise on earth!...... but
We have plundered our forests.
We have ripped our hills and laid them open to erosion and ever deepening gullies.
We have befouled our rivers killing the fish and driving off the wildlife due to the stench.
Our tightly packed homes show little consideration for refreshing foliage, clean air or sunlight.
Our cluttered highways, sprawling suburbs and straining cities offend more often than they please.
• We are victims of our own building. Somewhere in the complex process of evolving our living spaces,
cities and roadways and in our fascination for technology we have neglected our human needs.
We are able to write manuals on how best to grow orchids but little has been written about the nature of
the physical environment best suited to human culture. The ecological framework best suited for us to
thrive is not fully understood.
Ugliness is the absence of beauty resulting from a sensed lack of unity among the components or the
presence of incongruous elements. Beauty pleases and ugliness tends to disturb. It therefore follows that
a visual harmony of all parts of the landscape is desirable.
• Elimination of incongruous elements usually effects an improvement.
• Introduction of accentuating elements: If elimination can improve a landscape quality it follows that other
elements might be introduced with the same result.
The landscape character of any area may be developed or intensified by eliminating any negative elements
and by accentuating its positive qualities. For this we must not only recognize the essential natural
character of a land area but also posses knowledge that will enable us to achieve the optimum
development of that character.
• Land use as a landscape factor: Very few areas can be reserved in their pristine state or developed solely
The most important factor in considering the use of land is a thorough understanding of its landscape
character in the broadest sense. The planner must comprehend the physical nature of the site and its
extensional environment before it is possible to:
1. Recognize those uses for which the site is suited and which will utilize its full potential.
2. Introduce into the area only those uses which are appropriate.
3. Apply and develop such uses in studied relationship to the landscape features.
4. Ensure that these applied uses are integrated to produce a modified landscape that is functionally efficient
and visually attractive.
5. Determine whether or not a project is unsuited and would be incongruous not only on the immediate site
but in the surrounding environs as well and thus appear to be misplaced, unfit and ugly. Such an improper
use would be disturbing not only aesthetically but also practically, for an unsuitable use forced upon a
parcel of land generates frictions that may not only destroy the most desirable qualities of the area but
preclude proper function as well.
• Landscape Organization: the untouched landscape is in a repose of equilibrium. It has its own cohesive,
harmonious order in which all forms are an expression of geologic structure, climate, growth, and other
natural forces. As human activity in an area increase , the landscape becomes more and more organized;
agreeably if the organization is one of fitting relationships, disagreeably if the relationships are chaotic or
It follows as a guiding principle that to preserve or create a pleasing site all the various elements or parts
must be brought into harmony – does not imply that everything should blend with or get lost in the
landscape through camouflage.
• Contrast: form, color or texture of a handsome object can be emphasized through contrast. E.g. Bridges,
From the ice sheathed poles to the blazing deserts; the earthscape varies infinitely. Man has learnt first to
survive and then later to thrive through a process of adaptation. Some of us delude ourselves that we will
finally subject nature to our control and thereby conquer nature.
Major Landscape elements:
There are dominant natural landscape forms, features and forces that we can hardly if at all alter. We must
accept them and adapt ourselves and our planning to them. These include topographical forms like
mountains ranges, river valleys, and coastal plains; such features as precipitation, frost, fog, the water
table, and seasonal temperatures, and such forces as winds, tides, sea and air currents, the process of
growth, solar radiation, and gravity.
These we analyze to the extent necessary to make an accurate assessment of their influence and effects.
Then, if wise, we will shape our plans in full awareness of, and in response to, the constraints and
Such considerations are fundamental to the placing of cities, the zoning of a community, the alignment of
highways, the siting of industries, or the orientation or layout of a single house or garden.
MINOR LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS:
There are also
landscape elements of lesser
consequence such as hills, groves,
and streams that we as planners
and designers can modify.
There are four general courses of
•When land passes from one owner to another, certain legal
rights are also transferred with the property including right to
cultivate, mine, do earthwork, remove soil or vegetation, build
•Certain responsibilities by law or tradition also are part of the
deal, e.g. not to cause damage to neighbors’ property by
directing storm flow, increasing gradient and causing offsite
slippage, erosion, silting or generate undue air, water, noise or
• AS HERITAGE: Our ancestors lived off the bounty of the land without causing significant and irreparable
ecological consequences . Will we gift our children the same?
Land, water, and vegetation are our ultimate resources. Mismanaged, they may be lost to us forever, and
our wealth and wellbeing proportionately diminished.
Soil Bank: The topsoil reservoir is the vital substance that is the basis of all agricultural productivity. It is a
thin layer of weathered rock intermixed with organic matter in depths ranging from a few inches to a few
feet. This rich skim overlaying sub soils and rocks may have taken thousands of years to make. Once lost, it
is gone forever. It has been scooped, dug, hauled and washed and blown away through the rivers and
winds to the seas.
Food: All forms of life derive from the land and its cover of soil. In the chlorophyll of plants Carbon-di-
oxide and moisture are transformed by the energy of the sun into the basic sugars and starches of our
food chain. This chemical miracle happens only when the conditions are right. The resulting forms of life
vary from region to region.
Habitat: All living organisms are interacting and interdependent. All are contributors and have a role in the
biologic scheme of things. Each living organism lays claim to a necessary living space which have changed
when environmental conditions have changed. Initially such territories were spontaneously formed leaving
the earth time to heal between uses for preparation of new and often higher forms of life. Only humans
have seen fit to claim sole rights on land, dividing properties on haphazard and geometric basis without
regard for topographic considerations.
Nature is patient and has immense powers of recuperation and regeneration. We can recreate the
landscape as a more bountiful earthly habitat once we understand the processes and laws of nature and
commit society to a supportive nature –human relationship.
THE ESSENCE OF LAND PLANNING
•Seek the most suitable site
•Let the site suggest plan forms
•Extract the full site potential
The usual (easiest/cheapest) change in the land profile
•Clear the land, strip, bury or remove the top soil
•Provide a “workable” land profile (as flat as possible)
•Convey all water to S/W drains or to the edge of the land
•Make a good wide access road
•Give the building a suitable setting with a front setback
•Keep the front setback even- this looks neat!
•Pave courtyards to cut maintenance
•Existing topographical profile: possibility of a
rich variety of structural forms conceived in
harmony with the natural landscape
•The revised topography due to the bulldozer;
the rocks are buried, the natural vegetation
removed, the stream is contained in the S/W
drain or culvert. The topsoil is redistributed as
a cover of equal thickness. An artificial fauna
and flora is created.
This is our constructed paradise.
•A better way is to build with nature. This
provides the human scale and charm which we
find appealing in the older cultures where an
economy of materials and space dictated a
close relationship between the buildings and
the landscape form.
If we have to use
earthmovers to create a new
landscape (and sometimes
we must), then let us use
them to create a landscape
of topographical interest
with pleasant, useful forms
of human scale
WATER SCARCITY & RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL
PROBLEMS Major global concern.
A third of the world facing the problem.
Mainly due to rapid population growth & deteriorating water quality.
Expected to become a further serious issue.
Effects of climate change & variability & poor management of water resources further
exacerbate the problem.
In arid & semi-arid regions, the problem is accentuated by prolonged droughts and
the process of desertification.
Due to the highly specific characteristics of their climate, cities in these regions will
probably face more major water challenges in the near future.
The UNESCO-IHP has grouped water related environmental problems faced by cities into
the following broad categories:
Access to water and sanitation infrastructure and services
Urban waste water pollution
Water related hazards
Most developing countries typically face all four problems simultaneously.
URBAN WATER CYCLE AND URBANIZATION
undeveloped land into urban
Increased energy release (i.e.
greenhouse gases, waste
heat, and heated surface
Increased demand on water
supply (municipal and
The overall urban water cycle
is illustrated in fig., showing
the main components and
The changes in the water
developed conditions of the
urban water cycle in arid and
semi-arid regions is a
complex process and not
easy to explain
Urban Land Area
Groundwater Surface waters
Import of raw
Urbanization causes many changes to the hydrologic cycle, including radiation flux, amounts of
precipitation, evaporation and infiltration and increased runoff. The changes in the rainfall - runoff
components of the hydrologic cycle can be summarized as follows (Marsaek et al., 2006):
FIG. URBAN WATER CYCLE –MAIN COMPONENTS & PATHWAYS
SOURCE: Urban Water Cycle: Processes and interactions, by Marsalek et al., IHP-VI, Technical Publications in
Hydrology, No. 78, UNESCO, Paris, 2006.
The process of urbanization often causes changes in groundwater levels
because of a decrease in recharge and increased withdrawal. Three
major conditions disrupt the subsurface hydrologic balance and
produce declines in groundwater levels (Todd and Mays, 2005):
Reduced groundwater recharge due to paved surfaces and storm
Increased groundwater discharge by pumping wells
Decreased groundwater recharge due to export of wastewater
collected by sanitary sewers.
Decreased groundwater levels can cause land subsidence.
Groundwater pollution is another consequence of urbanization,
which has been experienced in many arid and semi-arid regions of
the world. Groundwater pumping in many coastal areas in many arid
and semi-arid regions has caused severe saltwater intrusion, making
hitherto potable groundwater, unusable for municipal water
• Confine development to uplands.
• Protect wetlands, streams, and
water bodies by leaving
adequate borders of vegetation.
• Preserve and utilize the natural
• Minimize excavation and grading.
• Preclude soil erosion by
providing sheet flow and well
knit ground covers.
• Detain heavy surface runoff in
swales or ponds to provide
regulated flows, filtering, and
ground water recharge.
• Return to the earth or its
receptor water of quality and
quantity equal to that
DEVELOPMENT ON WATER FRONT
Avoid the water edge/front ring of roads
and buildings that seal off water bodies and
limit their use and enjoyment.
By expanding the traffic-free lake area to
include parks, wildlife sanctuary and other
public areas (along with the required
private resorts etc.) the enjoyment of the
lake and the value of the real estate
TREATMENT OF THE WATER EDGE
For safety the water edge should slope to a
depth more than that of a swimmer or
2.0m before the deep part starts
Rectilinear excavation forms can be
reshaped to create free form lakes
Utilize the bank slopes
Beach or shore
Constructed water features are often
inspired by nature
WATER EDGE DETAILING
FUNDAMENTALS TO BE KEPT IN MIND:
• Minimize disruption: Where banks or shores are stable, the less intervention done
the better it is.
• Maintain smooth flows: Avoid the use of elements that obstruct currents or block
the action of waves.
• Slope or armor the banks, if necessary: This will absorb the energy where the
currents are swift or the impact of the waves is heavy.
• Attain access to water: This By use of Ghats ,docks, piers, floats, ramps, etc.
• Avoid jetties:
• Avoid diverting strong currents: The results can be unpredictable and disastrous.
• Design to the worst conditions: Consider recorded water levels and the heights of
wind driven surf.
• Preclude flooding: The floor level of the habitable structures should be above the