Best Gardens For People Who Live in the City

While a domestic garden may seem simplistic in name, the roots are much deeper than one would initially assume. For starters, the word domestic is taken from the Sanskrit language. If you break the word down into three parts, the Avestan demana, Damah, and Greek – you will see that domestic means house. Which in turn means a domestic garden is simply a garden what is connected to your home in one way or another.

While domestic gardens have been seen all throughout history. The earliest recorded domestic garden first appeared in ancient Egypt, and it features the similar appearance of a modern domestic garden. The only difference is that the garden which was seen back them only belonged to the rich and royalty, such as the pharaohs. Nowadays, anyone can own a domestic garden and customize it to be filled with your favorite plants as well as adding in walkways and seating areas.

Cottage Garden

The cottage garden has a rich history. When looking at its name, “cote” has a French origin. Then when combined with the English suffix was added in, a cottage became known as a property which is combined to a cote, which is known as a small shelter.

While it is easy to picture what a cottage looks like, it’s a bit harder to place what kind of plants were found in these gardens. The best place to looks is in the Middle Ages were cottages were becoming the norm regarding a living situation. Although there is no record of what sorts of plants were planted, it can be easily assumed that the land was used to sustain life instead of for aesthetic purposes. So, the safest assumption would be that veggies and fruit were commonly planted. Even when certain flowers were planted, such as roses and lilies, they were most likely used for some household reason.

This was the norm until the end of the 19th century was approaching. Guided by the rise of romantic arts which was focused on capturing the beauty, these gardens slowly became cesspools for planting a variety of stunning flowers that would cause anyone to stop to view the beauty. Since them, the cottage garden aesthetic started to bloom and became a commonly found site no matter your social rank.

Even in modern times, certain icons, such as the music legend Bob Dylan admitted that all he wanted in his life was a stunning cottage that had a garden filled with vibrant roses where he could escape to. Which wouldn’t be too hard to create depending on the area of the cottage and the person dedication to growing plants.

Herb Gardens

Herbs are nothing new as growing herbs have been in practice for centuries. No matter the culture, herbs were commonly seen for wither culinary reasons or health-related reasons. There are even reports of herb gardens being grown for pharaohs in ancient Egypt for both of the previously mentioned reasons. While today, hers is grown mainly for medical, culinary, and aesthetic purposes. They are some of the best household pans to keep for those exact reasons and could be the needed touch to make your apartment or home seem more connected to nature.

The Voices Behind the Blasen Landscape Architecture

As modern landscape architecture is becoming popularised in everyday homes – certain designers, such as Blasen Landscape Architecture, are being highly sought out due to their stunning work. The company was founded in 1993, and they are currently based in San Anselmo, California. While they do create stunning landscape architecture for homes, their work can also be found at various workshops, schools., and high-profile corporate offices.

Gardens of Tomorrow

The Blasens – Eric and Silvina, are some of the most thoughtful creators in the landscape architecture industry. This is shown by their array of clients who range from the everyday homeowner to billionaires prevalent in Hollywood. Recently, their garden collection has gained more attention, and they decided to personally CommNet of the thoughts regarding their work. Silvina compared gardens to a meditation area where people can just reflect and escape or a while. She then goes on to add how she is proud that their work respects nature and instead of changing it – they just add more beauty to the preexisting one. Eric continued that sustainability is the core idea of every project. On the Blasen official website – they feature some of their top work and shows how the instead try to incorporate natural changes to the environment instead of completely changing it for the client. Each work features a vast amount of greenery, nature, and beautiful additions.

The Blasen Landscape Architecture Process


The landscape architecture company follows a series of five steps for each one of their projects: sustainability, schematic design, design development, construction documentation, and construction administration. No matter the project, each one of these steps are closely followed and thoroughly checked for any issues to assure that the result will be idea.

Sustainability

In this step – the designers take a closer look at the location and any unique features. This allows them to create stunning landscape architecture choices that will flow beautifully with the land and any surrounding areas. Due to the Blasen’s deep care for the environment, having this step in their design and creation process will allow them to have minimal overall disturbances to the natural land. Plus, the company are current members of the United States Green Building Council – which proves their dedication to their work and its impact on the natural environment.

Schematic design

This step is filled with other internal steps, but the overall idea is to meet with the clients, discuss ideas, begin the process of measuring and accessing the land and the estimated cost of the project. Finally, they meet with a final presentation to the planning department to make sure everything is going to be approved and to squish any misunderstandings.

Design development

During this step, the company begins the process of allocating all the desired and needed materials to begin the process of creating the landscape architecture. This step is usually filled with professional emails and phone calls between suppliers and the Blasen company.

Construction documentation

This step in the process detail outlines for other aspects of the landscape project, such as layout plans, planting plans, lighting plans, etc. After the plans are created, the company and other consultants in charge of certain parts of the plans will discuss and iron out any issues before beginning the building process.

Construction administration

This step is prominent in the actual process of building. This step entails another review of the plans and contracts before the building takes place, pre-demolition, occasion site visits to assure productivity and correctness, and a final site inspection to check for any possible issues.

Great Architectural Cities

There are great architectural cities the world over, but let’s take a look at some of the more popular, as well as interesting, ones. One modern architectural marvel to behold is the Burj Khalifa, which is 2,723 feet high and one of the reasons that the city of Dubai is a hot spot for modern architecture. The architecture firm that designed the Sears Tower, now the Willis Tower, designed the Burj Khalifa. Other architectural amazement s in Dubai are the Burj Al Arab and definitely The World, which is a man-made archipelago that was designed to look just like a map of the world.

Chicago

Chicago is one of the best cities in the world to check out great architecture and the Willis Tower, and the Cloud Gate are just two of the attractions of the Windy City. Architectural legend Frank Lloyd Wright was from Chicago, and you can see his laboratory as well as his home studio and home in a fascinating tour.

New York City

Obviously, you have to put the Big Apple on the list of great architectural cities to check out. The city has fascinating architecture, and the biggest building in the city is the Freedom Tower. Other things to see are the Empire State Building, Time Square, the Chrysler Building, Central Park, and Rockefeller Center.

Rome

Fir ancient architecture Rome is one of the most interesting cities in the world to visit., So, they took many aspects of their architecture from the Greeks, but that is pretty common, especially in ancient times. The awesome Colosseum has to be the first and foremost thing to see in Rome. It was constructed in 72AD, and its architecture and engineering wereahead of its time. Other things to see in the city include the Vatican, the Baths of Caracalla, the Pantheon, the Aqueducts, and the Temple of Vesta.

Shanghai

If modern architecture is your cup of team than a trip to Shanghai should be high on your list of cities to see since it is well known for just that. The tallest building in Asia is in the city in the Shanghai Tower, which is 121 stories, as well as Jin Mao Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which are a couple of other of the tallest buildings on the continent. The Shanghai Grand Theater, Oriental Art Centre, and Shanghai Grand Theater are all modern architectural marvels as well.

Paris

Paris has great architecture all around the city and is well known for some of the best French Gothic architecture. The City of Light has no lack of great attractions for the lover of things built, and many of them are the top tourist attractions as well. Just a few of the wonders around the city are Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Pyramid, Arch de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur Basilica, and obviously the Eiffel Tower.

Cairo

Cairo is an amazing architectural city and is has so much more than the Great Pyramid of Giza. However, that is a site to behold and is the biggest of the three pyramids and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World that is intact. Other attractions in Cairo include the International Stadium, Yocubian Building, Cairo Opera House, and the Cairo Tower.

The Rehabilitation of Detroit’s Waterfront

The Rehabilitation of Detroit’s Waterfront is set to get a makeover as the city works to re-establish itself and return itself to the days when people lived, worked and enjoyed the city. Twenty-two acres of prime riverfront in Detroit will soon become its new front yard so to speak as revitalization gets underway. The riverfront spans 5.5 miles and is in the eastern part of the city.

Currently, over 3 miles of the new Riverwalk has been completed and along it features spaces for events such as entertainment, cultural locations, hotels and parks as well as sculpture gardens. The areas is located in the more stable areas of the city, however, prior to the revitalization project, the park was barren with little offered. It’s previously housed a large warehouse owned by the Detroit Free Press that was torn down after being purchased by the Conservancy in 2014, who then installed a temporary park.

The Revitalization Project

The process towards this areas revitalization has been a community affair with both local and professional input being critical to the process. The conservancy accessed the expertise of area residents to help with its design and the spaces they would like to see. Many of those providing input traveled to other city waterfronts to see what become of the space with trips to Chicago, New York, Boston and others. Once all information was collected, and input received, the design process began.

The plan is to include a variety of pavilions along the waterfront to accommodate various social activities such as those for children and seniors. The goal is to create an urban environment that is considered cutting-edge and becomes a draw to the city to generate interest for companies to open businesses and people to choose Detroit as their home city. The pavilions will include pools for swimming lessons and playgrounds so as to create a multi-generational space that all can enjoy and be proud of.

Park to Include Pier for Fishing, Hiking Trails and Beach


The master plan will include a fishing pier, not a common inclusion in most urban planning initiatives. Also expected is a large 3-acre playground that will provide space by the beach for sports and other activities. The fishing pier will face out onto the river, and its topography will have dunelike areas that act as a floating stage of sorts.

The plan is being dubbed “Seedling Park” as the city works to clean up its tarnished images as an unsafe city littered with abandoned houses and high crime rates. The park will be completed in three stages, the first of those will include the creation of large green plant walls that will be used to help educate the public on the importance of living green in an urban area. The other remaining stages will focus on the construction of the planned inclusions and buildings as well as the pier and playground. It also will see the addition of an amphitheater as well as pedestrian paths that connect to various areas of the city.

The Role Landscape Designers Will Have in Cities of the Future

The art of spending time outdoors, for most people, is one aspect of life that brings happiness and pleasure in what seems to have become a world where people spend more time indoors than out. The ability to spend that time outside in well-designed spaces is what makes like in a city more enjoyable. Knowing that, it is somewhat difficult to understand why so many cities fail to make the investment and understand the role landscape designers will have in cities of the future, let alone to properly design outdoor spaces as it impacts the quality of life of those that live there, let alone a city’s ability to attract new business and talent.

As most of us appreciate the time we spend outside, it is interesting to speak with people on their feelings about the outdoor spaces they enjoy most, what aspects about them they find attractive and what draws them to those spaces. For many, outdoor spaces in cities remind them of childhood memories that often are focused on outdoor activities with friends or family.

Outdoor Spaces Increase Quality of Life

Studies have shown that those that invest a greater amount of time outdoors are happier and tend to be healthier as well. The combination of the two has proven to increase lifespans, and those urban areas that feature quality outdoor spaces tend to reap the rewards tenfold in multiple ways. This includes reduced healthcare costs, increased economic output, economic growth and an overall happier population.

History has shown, those cities that fail to get this right and not have an adequate amount of well-designed outdoor space lack the ability to attract younger people to move to their cities. When you consider the cost to design and build these spaces, the minimal investment is returned for generations to come. Studies have shown it not only attracts the young but also attracts urban professionals and those entering their golden years as well who choose to move back to urban areas so as to be closer to health care facilities.

Outdated Trends Hard to Change

It seems the trend to put more thought into indoor spaces, and building designs remains firmly intact, however, what is clear is that the role designers will play in the future towards outdoor space will define a city in more ways than one. It is not uncommon when looking at waterfront cities to hear complaints about its deterioration, and subsequent investment to improve the value water front areas bring to a city. Those cities, such as Chicago that have chosen to make a concentrated effort to revitalise their waterfronts have found an increase in pedestrian traffic in those areas. That investment has allowed them to attract tourism traffic, which collectively benefits the local economy and health of its citizens as they spend more time engaging in walking, sports breathing fresh air.

What is clear is that the need to invest in outdoor spaces will be the determining factor in an ever populated world, one that has over 70% living in cities around the world. Those that design innovative parks, walkways and bike trails will be those that benefit in the future and the role of the outdoor designer will only play a larger importance as new technologies are integrated into public spaces and are combined with the qualities that are unique to our environment.

The History of Maiden Castle in Dorset

The History of Maiden Castle in Dorset

In medieval times, castles were built to serve different purposes. There were different structural architecture and landscaping architectures that were adopted during the construction of various castles. These different architectural designs were essential for the establishment of long-lasting castles that were built in Europe and several other continents around the world. The need for building these castles in different parts of the world arose as a result of increased warring tribes and many invaders.

The constructor’s main aim was to ensure that the surrounding areas were fully protected. Therefore the selected grounds where they were to be built were raised so as to ensure a good surveillance of the areas that were protected. These were mostly areas known for a rich supply of bronze and iron. One of the most widely known Iron Age fortifications was the maiden castle in Dorset.

The Maiden Castle in Dorset

Maiden Castle in Dorset

This is the most famous iron-age fortress that was built in Britain. The site is classified as a castle, but physically, it is just a hilltop enclosure that is defended by very high banks and ditches. The castle occupies up to 47 acres and has banks that are up to 80 feet high. The term maiden as used in the description of the castle means a great hill which is rendered a principle fort. The works on the site started more than 3500 BCE. Later as the castle was being used, there was a need to have a bank barrow added. The barrow that was added was 1800 feet and was done approximately 350 BCE after the hill was turned into a fully fledged hill fort.  The decision to make the hill a fully fledged hill fort was reached after the Durotriges tribe saw the need for the move. Being the then most dominant tribe, this was unanimously agreed.

In the 1st century BC, most of the visible ramparts were erected in the area and consists of three concentric rings of ditches and banks. To isolate the invaders, there was a need to isolate the entrances to each of the banks so as to isolate the invaders. In some instances, the invaders managed to enter the banks, but they were met with brutal forces.

The castle was later besieged in 43 AD under the ruling Vespasian. Up to 40,000 sling stones were stolen. In 1937, up to 38 graves of the defenders were discovered around the site. This was at the eastern entrance. Each of the persons who were killed was given a joint of meat and beer so as to take with them after the life. In the 4th century, the rulers erected a small temple that was set within the boundaries of the fort. To date, the foundations of the small temple can be seen at the site.

The maiden castle is open for viewing at reasonable times around the year. Entry is free.

The Landscape Architecture of California Academy of Sciences

The Landscape Architecture of California Academy of Sciences

The building of California Academy of Sciences is nestled on the vast Golden Gate Park of South Francisco. It has become a mixture of different wings that dates back during the year 1916. The original structure is still standing up to this day. There have been some notable changes on the architectural design over the past few years such as the glass trellis that has been implanted with solar cells. Last 2008, the new building of the Academy which was designed by Renzo Piano, a renowned architect, has been opened to the public. The landscape architecture design of the place has astonished various visitors from all over the world.

An Overview of the California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

The new structure has the same colour, height, and size of the old building. It still highlights the flat, white wall of concrete. The whole structure has been intended to become energy efficient and was designed to house a new scientific lab, planetarium, aquarium, and museum. Due to the damage that the structure acquired last 1989 due to the Loma Prieta earthquake and the decreasing number of visitors, the authority believes that the structure requires to be updated.

Perhaps the structurally astonishing and most renowned part of this structure is basically invisible when you are on the ground. The living field that has been sculpted into valley and hills above the structure symbolises the commitment of the organisation in saving the resources of the planet with its green design.

A Simple Yet Functional Design

Minimising the design is definitely a great decision. It provides an opportunity to be creative in designing the form of the structure. The architecture proves that he has the capacity to go beyond the standard rational shape and take advantage of the psychological, cultural, and natural sources. The concept of the roof is exceptionally beautiful. The swelling surface of the roof acts as a natural ventilation system of the area. This dramatically decreases the need of the place to have an air conditioning unit. The landscape architectural design on the building creates an ecosystem that supports insects and bird life.

The roof of the California Academy of Sciences resembles a carpet of greeneries that has cloaked the basketball. Perhaps some of the major exhibit in that building includes the balls under the carpet that forms a sphere. Besides the roof of the building, architectural landscape of the area does not literally draw attention, but it is truly functional. The concrete walls have the capacity to absorb heat during the day and slowly release the heat during the cold night. The positioning of the windows is also designed in a way that it will receive air naturally.

Some of the part of the old structure has been recreated such as the African Centre. You will still notice the classic design of the vaulted structured that was originally too damaged that the management can no longer preserve them. The new room has been designed with the old concept but with the latest and premium materials.

How To Construct a Maze – The Puzzle of Champions

From the hedge maze to modern day eco-houses, landscaping architecture has always combined human construction with botany and nature. A timeless art form, landscaping architecture has wowed people since it was first conceived, and it is this fascination with the creative artworks by landscape architects in thier efforts on how to construct a maze and their ability to create something profoundly beautiful and in many cases, useful – that we’re looking at in closer detail. It is time for us to take a look at a classic form of landscaping architecture, one which most of us enjoyed as children – the hedge maze.

The Early Hedge Maze

Hedge mazes also go by the names garden mazes or labyrinths, and they first appeared in Europe in the fifteenth century, created by Italian artists during the Renaissance. Of course, the earlier hedge mazes scarcely seem impressive compared to the goliaths that can be found today.

The very first hedge mazes began as sketches, some dating back to 1460. Over the course of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the concept became a reality, and new techniques were devised to make them ever more intricate, ever more challenging and, of course, ever more beautiful.

Today, we think of hedge mazes as a puzzle, one which children, in particular, enjoy. That wasn’t their initial intention. In fact, early hedge mazes weren’t really mazed at all, but simple walkways surrounding by greenery. It wasn’t until the end of the Stuart Era that Britain got its very first hedge labyrinths and mazes. By the late seventeenth century, King William III (William of Orange) had one constructed at Hampton Court, which, although it could not rival the luxurious Labyrinth de Versailles (subsequently destroyed in 1778), brought the concept of dead ends and trick passageways to British hedge maze and landscaping architecture.

Over the years, the objective was no longer to design hedge mazes which were just beautiful or ornate, but also those which genuinely confuddling audiences. Bridges, grid-less designs, and false passageways all upped the ante for landscaping architects to design ever more radical and challenging hedge mazes.

A Child’s Dream: Modern Hedge Mazes

Today, hedge mazes are seen as children’s playthings. It is true that many national parks contain hedge mazes, and adults are still known to walk through their green roofless hallways, many of which contain exotic plants and shrubbery. However, it is children that find them the most fascinating. The desire to make ever more complex hedge mazes has also continued.

Today, one of the biggest hedge mazes in the world is located in Castlewellan in Northern Ireland. Known as the Peace Maze, this stunning piece of landscaping architecture was first planted in 2000 and was designed as a pathway to peace for Northern Ireland. A peace bell stands in the centre for anybody bold enough to finish the maze. Other notable hedge mazes include those at Disneyland Paris, Blenheim Palace, Hampton Court (William III’s original), Longleat, Schönbrunn Palace, and Colonial Williamsburg.

While modern landscaping architecture may be about eco, solar, and nature-friendly constructions such as the much-loved Hobbit-style homes. It is important not to forget that in another time, and by very different people, hedge mazes were not only the first step in landscaping architecture but also a dream where man showcased that he could, in fact, build alongside nature instead of in place of it.

Construction of a Castle in the middle Ages

Construction of a Castle in the middle Ages

Castles are no doubt magnificent structures that are not only beautiful to live in but learning their history and how they came to be is quite an adventure. King Edward once mentioned how he almost bankrupted the treasury while building his castles in Wales so for a fact; it is not cheap to construct one. Constructing castles especially in the middle ages was not only a challenge but the maintenance wasn’t easy which saw a lot of the castles constructed abandoned and used by the military such as the popular Edinburgh castle before it was restored into the magnificent structure that you know now.

The first step was getting an architect to come up with the design and location of the castle. This would take quite a while since it was the most important stage before laying the foundation. Next was finding adequate workers which could go up to 3000 workers who included quarrymen, diggers, carpenters, and masons. Assembling such large numbers of people was not easy considering that the means of communication wasn’t yet developed, but they found a way to.

Castles are, by definition, fortified buildings occupied by royalty. The keyword being fortified which means that literally, nothing should be able to bring it down and for that it would require land that is strong and can be manipulated when constructing the foundation. However, most castles are constructed on a rock or hill which makes the construction even harder and you can easily spend up to 10 years working on the base only.

Project GueledonProject Gueledon is the most recent castle to be constructed a project that was initiated by Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin in 1997. It was expected to take up to 25 years to be completed but thanks to modern technology and adequate manpower, it was completed in 2006. Given this comparison, you can only imagine how long the work would have taken in the middle ages where there were no cars or technologies to boost the progress.

The most common building materials were rocks, stones, sand, and oak. Materials were moved by horse-drawn carts to the construction site where there were workers who would work on the materials to make them usable. At the site there were also workers who were in charge of making mortar (used as concrete for sticking the rocks together). This was made using water, sand, and lime while the stone workers did the actual construction.

There were a lot of problems in the construction process that further elongated the process such as war where the rival sides would try as much as possible to frustrate progress by stopping the delivery of materials to the site and killing the workers which caused a shortage of manpower. The decorators would then come in the final stages of the construction to beautify the castle as needed.

After the completion of the castle, the first to move in was the military and their forces as they needed to secure the castle before the royals move in. These days many of the castles in the world are used as tourist attractions that earn governments a lot of money which is why a lot of them first get refurbished before the doors open.

Modern vs. Medieval Architecture: A Comparison

Modern vs. Medieval Architecture: A Comparison

Centuries ago, landscape architecture incorporated the use of gardens for plant cultivation, observation of the beautiful nature, basking, pottering and as a playground for children. Today, gardens are a form of art and are cultivated as a hobby. It is therefore clear that the landscape architecture has greatly evolved over time and shifted its focus towards more sustainable structures.

Medieval Architecture

Medieval Architecture

During the middle ages, (about 8000 years ago), humans began to develop complex social systems in the form of early civilisations. These civilisations cropped up in Egypt, Mesopotamia, South America, India and Asia among many others. At this point, the principal focus of landscape architecture was physical and spiritual comfort. Hence, gardens were used for religious purposes, harmony with nature, bird watching and basking.

In England, the medieval architecture combined the use of both wood and stone. During the Norman period, the designers copied the architecture of the Roman Empire. It consisted of great halls, curved arches, great cathedrals, vaults and patterned floors. Over the years, the architecture evolved into a gothic style that seemed to copy Islamic buildings.

Medieval parks in England were private spaces that were mainly dedicated to hunting animals such as deers, for timber, for grazing the animals and for pasture. The parks surrounded the castles and palaces and were to be visible to the royal family. Small parks were also developed for aesthetic purposes; however, they were the minority. These gardens were used for spiritual purposes and for general emotional and spiritual well-being.

Some of the plants that were grown included the pomegranate tree which was a religious symbol to the Christians here.

Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture

Modern landscape architecture, on the other hand, can be very minimalistic in nature and monochromatic or more natural. Landscape architects must conduct a site analysis and build a model design that makes the best use of the space.

The design of the gardens is usually both indoors and outdoors and incorporates the use of shapes and pots. These gardens also boast of ponds and sculptures that are strategically located for the best aesthetics. The plants grown in these spaces may have medicinal purposes or may be used in cooking simple meals at home. Some of the plants and herbs that are grown in these gardens include mint leaves, bay leaves, fennel, oregano, bamboo, and ferns. Fruit trees are at times grown to substitute the use of a wall. Some of the fruit plants grown are cherries, apples, and mangoes. Colourful flowers are also used to decorate the garden space. The plants are usually arranged in aesthetically appealing shapes depending on the shape and size of the garden. At times, colourful pots are used to grow the plants.

On a larger scale, landscape architecture usually involves large public spaces such as campuses, shopping centres, play grounds, walking trails and recreation centres. In addition to design work and planning, landscape architects must put in place pest control and safety measures.