Many people are surprised that landscapes can be designed. The assumption is that landscapes just happen and emerge almost accidentally, from the countless activities occurring on the land. However, there are innumerable instances that landscape has been intervened in with aesthetic intent and has been the outcome of considered planning and design. In 1857, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux gave a name for this activity as describing themselves as ‘landscape architects’ when winning competition entry for the Central Park of New York. However, ‘landscape architecture’ had been going on for many centuries under different designations like ‘place-making’, ‘master-gardening’, and ‘landscape gardening’. Here is the list of the world’s top influential landscape architects, who have made their mark on the history of landscape architecture.
- André Le Nôtre (1613-1700)
André Le Nôtre, a son and grandson of gardeners of the French court, learned about art and architecture from his very early childhood. He grew up to become a gardener of the king’s brother and other French lords. His first gardens sowed the seeds of his unique landscape architecture perspective and made King Louis XIV to appoint him to restore the gardens of Versailles and design the king’s garden. The number of André Le Nôtre’s creations can’t be counted on two hands’ fingers. Some of them remain iconic, such as his masterpieces the gardens of Versailles and the Garden of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
- Lancelot “Capability” Brown (1716-1783)
English landscape architect Lancelot Brown was often known by his nickname, Capability. He earned the moniker as he usually told his customers that their sites had good “capability” for landscaping. Following in the footsteps of William Kent (1685-1748), Brown advocated a more naturalistic style by using water bodies with irregular shapes and large expanses of undulating grass. This caused the criticism against him during his time; however, his style was a key innovation in the history of landscape architecture, which gave birth to the modern English garden. Many of his 170 gardens still remain in the present, including Blenheim Palace, Kew Gardens, and Chatsworth House.