Landscape Design: an Instrument of Environmental Transformation.

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Man, in his efforts to achieve comfort and a beautiful environment have tried to be in harmony with nature. One way by which this is being achieved is by Landscape design. Landscape design is hardly considered necessary by many in our society today; they see it as a luxury that can be forgone. However, it is a well known fact that the human environment most appreciated, are those characterized by a relatively strong degree of special enclosure using landscaping elements. Landscape design has been found to have a lot of pleasurable attributes added to the environment. It gives the immediate environment an image that can readily distinguish one designed environment from another. The inclusion of Landscape design in Architectural design has produced more humane surroundings in the interest of the users if adequately implemented. Thus, for Landscape design to become indeed a hand tool or instrument in the hand of designers and planners of the built environment, the basic principles of Landscape design must be understood by these professionals. This paper will discuss these basic principles. Landscape design should seek among other things to reduce the adverse effect of the prevailing weather conditions and to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing and refreshing outdoor spaces.

The longman dictionary defines Landscape architecture as “the planning, modifying and arrangement of a large piece of land with an eye to scenic beauty” especially with reference to siting of roads, buildings e.t.c. In her book “The nature of landscape design”, Nan Fairbrother sees landscape design as “concerned with the process of creating an attractive outdoor environment”. She went ahead to say “this made man to be involved in the manipulation of the outdoor scene to produce a different kind of landscape to suit his uses”. Garret Eckbo in his book “The landscape we see” agrees that Landscape design today begins with the backyards and front yards and all the miscellaneous open spaces left over by building, street and utility constructions within the preconceived patterns of standard subdivision and land planning practice. W.B Qurix in a paper titled “Psychological consideration in landscape design” defines landscape design as “the organization and management of physical elements within spaces so as to facilitate human responses to the environment”. In the early part of the twentieth century the accepted definition was that of Charles Williams Eliot, then President of Harvard University which states “Landscape design is primarily a fine art and as such its most important function is to create and preserve beauty in the surroundings of human habitation and in broader natural scenery of the country, but it is also concerned with promoting the comfort, convenience and health of urban population. Following the above definitions of landscape design. I wish to deduce that” Landscape design is the conscious or deliberate arrangement of landscape elements in outdoor scenery to obtain an almost entirely different landscape from the natural landscape due to man’s modifying activities on the virgin landscape. Landscape design is all about creating a better environment from one, which is not good enough. Man has a responsibility to change the landscape for his own greater convenience and comfort. Landscape design as a process occurs whenever the landscape is changed, developed or improved. An example that easily comes to mind is the transformation of the “eye sore”, around the Ibom connection in the days before the democratically elected government of Arc (Obong) Victor Attah, to what is now known as the Ibom plaza. This transformation is due to the instrumentality of landscape design. Many more environment enhancement can still be achieved using the same instrument. The...
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