WIT Press

Designing With Nature In Landscape Architecture


Free (open access)





Page Range

213 - 222




1050 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. Dagenais


Two conceptual problems can be identified with the ecological design/design with nature paradigm in landscape architecture. The first is that the nature with which landscape designers are working is manifold in its expression. Researchers as well as philosophers who have studied ecological concepts, theories and conservation practices contrast ideas of nature as a collection of objects (a nature of biodiversity), to ideas of nature as process (a nature of ecosystems, energy transfers, and biogeochemical cycles). In fact, in the same way that conservation of biodiversity implies interventions akin to gardening, designing with biodiversity is very much compatible with garden and landscape design. A collection of taxons, that is specie and cultivar richness, is readily visible and representable. And in fact, growing a collection of plant taxons, whether displayed formally or informally, has been very much part of the history of gardens, long before the present legitimate interest in promoting biodiversity. In the second conceptualization of nature, nature can be understood as a force, a process, sometimes irrespective of the species or number of species involved. This is the nature that is implied in ecological engineering and in design based on natural community succession etc. Designing with such a nature raises the second question: the problem of the representation of the time involved in any process, in landscape in particular, since all theses processes take place in a time frame that exceeds our contact with the landscape. Didactic to poetic descriptions of processes occurring in the landscape or garden become the only way to acknowledge and represent the passage of time. Keywords: ecological design, landscape architecture, Idea of nature, biodiversity, ecological processes, succession.


ecological design, landscape architecture, Idea of nature,biodiversity, ecological processes, succession.