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Outdated Trends Hard to Change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.

A Comparison of Modern Day Landscaping and Medieval Times Landscaping

A Comparison of Modern Day Landscaping and Medieval Times Landscaping

Landscape architecture has evolved since medieval times, and we have seen various changes regarding landscaping. As technology advances, we have seen various improvements in various aspects. These all aim at discovering better ways of doing things and hence a better experience for the people. Here are some of the notable changes that have taken place in landscape architecture.

Discovery of Better Architectural Drawing Technologies

Architectural Drawing Technologies

During the medieval times, landscaping architecture was done as a poorly sketched diagram. Amazingly, the landscapers were still able to interpret the drawings and came up with appropriate results that suited the times. As times went, technology started changing and as building architecture diagrams were evolving, the same was taking place in the landscaping environment. Therefore, the landscapers in the middle century had better architectural diagrams than those used in the medieval times. In the 20th century, it is possible to do a landscaping architecture diagram within a few hours.  Through this, people are able to achieve quicker and faster results as compared to medieval times.

Smaller Land Is Available in Modern Landscaping

The modern-day landscapers are faced with more challenges which are times hard to tackle. Compared to the mediaeval times, there was a larger space that could be utilised as the population was smaller then. However, the modern landscapers are forced to use the little available space economically to make sure space is enough for the many things they want to do with it. This is because of increased population. Both the residential areas in urban and rural areas have become smaller than used to be. The urban population is also growing rapidly leading to demand better utilisation of space. This has led to the start of various courses that are driven towards making sure the land is economically used. There are also advanced technologies that are aiming at ensuring a better economic use of space.

Advanced Designs in Landscaping

Advanced Designs in Landscaping

People have become better skilled, and this has led to advanced designs. The architectural designs are accommodating better landscaping designs in the modern-day landscaping. This is compared to the medieval times landscaping where landscaping involved simpler designs. Therefore, people are able to achieve more sophisticated designs than was the case in the medieval times.

Better Machinery Is Used in Modern Day Landscaping Than in Medieval Times

In the medieval times, people did not have advanced machinery like they have in the modern days. Therefore, it was often done using human labour and other inefficient tools meaning it took a long time to do landscaping than it takes in the modern-day landscaping. In the modern day landscaping, there are better tools which means that landscaping can be done faster than was the case in medieval times. The earth movers are a good example of some of the machines that are used in the modern day making it a good venture.

These are some of the differences between medieval times landscaping and modern-day landscaping. As times progress and mode discoveries are being made, we will see better landscaping methods being discovered and hence these changes will go on.

Top 5 Gardening Tools

It is important to have the right top 5 gardening tools to make the process of maintaining and planting your garden easier. Having the right tools also will make it more enjoyable and easier on your physically. Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic way for people to spend time outdoors cultivating the beauty of nature.

As we look at the tools we often come across as we go about our duties in the garden, we have come to the understanding of which are most important in our collection. Below we look at those we feel make the difference and are must have’s for the recreational gardener.

Clearing Tools

Clearing tools are an integral part of maintaining your garden. They are versatile and designed to allow you to trim bushes, stems, vines, branches and roots. They help you to prevent overgrowth and maintain a proper balance within your garden. When purchasing clearing tools, it is best to purchase those that are rugged, designed to be resistant to rust and easy to use efficiently.

Shovel for Digging

If you were to ask anyone who has ventured into gardening, it is a safe bet to suggest a good shovel is one that they highly recommend and we agree. They are needed for many applications within your garden from digging a hole, mixing soil and spreading soil when adding and maintaining your garden. The design of shovels has come a long way since its earlier days and is ergonomically designed, made of steel, and sturdy enough so that it will not bend under pressure.

Spade for Edging

A spade for edging is another in our top 5 list. An edging spade will allow you to edge around flower beds, trees beds, driveways and sidewalks edges and more. They may also be used when undertaking various planting tasks. Ideally, for comfort, purchase one with a rubber pad as this will make it more comfortable on your foot.


Shears are perfect for when you need to cut branches or bushes. Shears will allow for you to cut branches that are up to 1.5 inches in diameter and are designed to let the tool itself do the work versus brute strength. They range in size, and it is ideal to have several within your collection so as to allow you flexibility when needed.


When you need to maintain your flower beds and remove dead deadheads, small stems and twigs, pruners are the perfect solution. They are an excellent multi-purpose gardening tool that any respectable gardener will not be without. Pruners are designed more for gentle use and not cutting stems bigger than a half an inch in diameter.

Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is another in our top 5 must have’s. They come in a variety of sizes and are used when the need arises to prune branches that are too large for shears or smaller pruning tools. Many are designed to be compact and versatile; ideally, have several in varying sizes so as the task is easier based on the job at hand.

The Growth of Modern Architecture

The Growth of Modern Architecture

Modern architecture also commonly known as modernism refers to architecture that arose from early in the 20th century but was fully embraced after the World War 2. The change was brought about by industrial revolution where technology was embraced leading to the use of different materials in constructing buildings and structures. However, it is not until later when the changes started being seen all over Europe and America where the most accomplished modernists started crating different structures using the newly discovered building materials. It is from this change that paved way to some of the most magnificent and big buildings located all over the world.

Modern Architecture in Europe

The Growth of Modern Architecture2

Before the architectural revolution started, there were a lot of changes in terms of construction materials with the invention of cast iron, reinforced concrete, and the most exciting plate glass. These changes inspired the architectures at the time to use them to create great structures such as the crystal palace which was constructed using plate glass and cast iron in 1851.

Francis Coignet became the first architecture to use concrete that was reinforced with iron in construction and in 1853 he constructed the first iron reinforced building which was four stories near Paris. The elevator invention in 1852 made it easier and practical to envision longer buildings since there was a way to reach them.

In the early 20th century, the use of reinforced concrete moved from constructing industrial buildings to residential houses where the technology was used in constructing apartments. The concrete offered more opportunities ad designs for the architectures to explore while creating buildings that were stronger and more beautiful.

Modernism in America

The Growth of Modern Architecture

Modern architecture in America was started by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright who came up with the first tall building that was steel framed. He went ahead and created some of the well-known architectural masterpieces such as Prairie and Robie Houses. He pioneered using different designs and materials to create buildings that were a lot different from anything that existed at the time.

By this time the first sky scrapers were being constructed using a steel frame. They began due to the realisation that there was need for more space yet the land wasn’t enough. The home insurance building was among the first sky scrapers to be put up at 10 stories high. This continued up until early 20th century where the Woolworths building was constructed, and at the time it was the tallest in the world.

The modernism trend continued spreading to more parts of the world such as Russia and in Germany where the Bauhaus was constructed making it one of the most popular modern structures at the time. By mid-20th century creativity had taken center stage, and there was a blend between art and architecture which has seen some of the most beautiful buildings being constructed. Since then modern architecture has grown so much with a lot of mistakes being made which has led to the current buildings now with some of the tallest buildings being constructed all over the world.

A Short History of the Taj Mahal Garden

A Short History of the Taj Mahal Garden

It is quite rare that a public garden will stimulate our senses and capture our imagination. Some of them include Villa D-Este, Nishat Baugh, Central Park and the more recent Parc Andre Citroen, which are all magnificent landscape architecture project. Another popular setting would be the Taj Mahal. The Mughal Garden has highlighted the love of Jahangir on gardening and landscape design.

An Overview of the Taj Mahal

The religion of Muslim has introduced different types of building in India. Among them was a structure in octagon form that is designed to house the tomb of prominent personalities. The Taj Mahal is situated on the bank of Yamuna River that is nestled at the expansive Mughal Garden. The structure was constructed by Shah Jahan to honour his wife. The construction started in the year 1632 which was completed at around 1648. Eventually, the cloisters and the outer courtyard have been introduced in 1653.

The Taj Mahal has been considered as the most significant architectural achievement in the state of Indo-Islamic Architecture. The perfect combination of light shadow, convex, and concave, voids, and solids has been recognised as a prime example of architectonic beauty. The domes and the arches of the structure have further magnified the aesthetic appeal of the structure.

The Mughal Garden of Taj Mahal

A Short History of the Taj Mahal Garden

Taj Garden has become an integral part of the Taj Mahal that serves as the highlight of your visit in this travel destination. It is filled with green leaves, chirping birds, plentiful fruits, and attractive flowers. It is also referred to as the Paradise Garden that covers a total area of 300x300m.

The gardens found in Taj Mahal have followed the concept of 4 which is known as the holiest number on the Islam religion. The place has been divided into 4 blocks which has been adorned with a glorious fountain that serves as the focal point of the garden. There are around 16 flowerbeds in every quarter that divided the raised lanes. There are around 400 flowers found in every flowerbed. The various elements in the garden have been arranged in a symmetrical form. The trees in the garden also carry meaning; for instance, the fruit-bearing tree signifies life and the Cyprus indicated death.

The northern edge of the structure has been occupied in order to create an elegant garden. At the heart of the garden, the elevated marble lotus that has been highlighted with cusped border has intensified the beauty of the garden. The clear image of the Taj Mahal has been reflected into its water. The waterways have also been arranged to in a manner that will give the visitors with a breathtaking view of the mausoleum. It is well-maintained that delivers the natural scene that offers a perfect photo ops.

The balanced proportion of the entire area emanates peacefulness. Shah Jahan has created the entire place to reward the spirit of his wife with a palace. The landscape architecture of Taj Mahal has captured the heart of the visitor and inspired other masterpiece particularly in Europe.