Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land. This could include a variety of different elements that can change the look of your yard.
First, landscaping includes working with living elements, such as flora or fauna. This is commonly referred to as gardening. Gardening is known as the art and craft of growing plants.
A common goal of gardening is to create a beautiful environment within the landscape. But it can also be more practical than that.
Various plants can give us nourishment, make our food taste better, or attract various animals and insects that we would like to see in our gardens. There are many reasons to garden within a given space.
Garden landscaping would include everything from a vegetable garden, to planting trees, to or inserting a flower bed. These can be fairly simple projects or can be huge projects that take lots of time and energy.
A second type of landscaping changes natural elements in an area. This would include natural elements such as landforms, terrain shape and elevation, or bodies of water.
The most common goal of these projects is to make the land more functional or practical, but often beautifies the land as well. For example, if the grass or dirt in your yard is not even, or flat, you can landscape.
This process will raise areas of the grass and lower others to make it even. This project will make your yard more functional for parties, children to play on, or elderly to walk on.
The third type of landscaping is adding human elements such as structures, buildings, fences or other material objects created and/or installed by humans. The purpose of these can be functional or to beautify the area, but most commonly does both at the same time.
Examples of human elements would include fountains, sheds, white picket fences, porches, pillars, arbors, outdoor fire pits, windmills, gazebos, and many other structures.
The fourth, and last, type of landscaping is abstract elements such as the weather and lighting conditions. We don’t have control over the weather but we do have some control over lighting.
Examples include sensor lighting, outdoor lamps, and lamp posts. Lighting can make a big difference in your yard.
Landscaping is considered both a science and an art. A high quality landscaper requires good observation, knowledgeable design skills, understands the elements of nature and modern construction, and then is able to blend all these elements accordingly to produce the best end results.
Landscaping has been practiced for thousands of years. Historians have found evidence of elaborate gardens from ancient cultures on every inhabited continent testify.
Landscaping was often used to beautify the area around temples, palaces, and public areas, but it was also utilized in and around private homes. The Romans, for example, had homes with enclosed courtyards that were enjoyed only by members of the household.
On the other hand, the Mayans lined the walkways to their temples with elaborate plantings. In the hanging gardens of Babylon the ancient building was built with lots of plants incorporated into the design of the building.
Thales, an early Greek philosopher, spent considerable time thinking about the nature and capacity of landscaping. He is well known for his view that, “all is water,” which lead him to think in-depth about nature.
Some of his students believed that in order for human activity to be considered landscaping, it must be directed toward modifying the physical features of the land itself, including the cultivation or manipulation of plants or other flora.
Thales rejected this notion. He argued that any aspect of the material world that changes the visual perception of the land was considered landscaping.
Both Plato and Aristotle praised Thales’ analysis as a model for philosophy. In the early 20th century, British philosopher G.E. Moore cited Thales’ reasoning as one of the few historical examples of how philosophical inquiry has led to genuine human understanding and progress.
Philosophers in the 17th century debated whether visual beauty was a necessary goal of landscaping or just an added bonus.
With the advent of the positivists by the early 20th century, however, most western philosophers had rejected the notion of an objective aesthetic standard for any form of art, including landscaping.
Practitioners since the mid-20th century have tested the changing and transforming visual scenery. We now have a generally accepted definition of landscaping.
We now have our modern definition of landscaping that is fairly standard at least within the western societies.
Jack R. Landry