Landscape detailing


Landscape detailing describes the process of integrating soft and hard landscape materials to create a landscape design. It requires knowledge of:

Water feature
Missouri Botanical Garden

Landscape detailing can be boiled down to three different steps: function, structure, and appearance. Function allows to satisfy the requirements of the landscape to serve a purpose. Structure is the physical implementation of function through the best available resources, usually those of a local character. Appearance is about obtaining visual satisfaction, commonly known as aesthetic values.

Landscape detailing can influence the attitude and mood of a landscape. A study was conducted on how young people feel when in a natural oriented landscape versus an engineered habitat. The results showed that more structured landscapes are preferred in young people. Detailing in landscape allows the designer to make choices that help influence the landscape, allowing the potential to be shown.

Landscape can have an influence on how communities and societies evolve and vice versa. Communities can shape how the landscape is used based on the needs of the community. We can see an example of this in Canada's landscape and the role the rail roads had in shaping the community. With the introduction of the rail road, Canada's wild lands were more susceptible to exploitation and allowed the community to experience Canada's array of National Parks.

Landscape detailing is not just limited to actual land, but can also be seen as a way to improve waterfront area, making the waterfront a more appealing setting for the public to enjoy. Typically when addressing the relationship of landscape detailing and water, we think of drainage and how the landscape can be manipulated to serve the user, as to prevent flooding and maintain water flows.

With today's every expanding technologies, there has been an increase in ways to convey landscape detailing. The visualization tools can be split into two categories: traditional and computerized. Traditional ways to convey details in the landscape would be simply a pen/pencil, paper maps, and models, while the computerized way would to use GIS, 3D virtual modelling, or simulations using layers of photography to convey urban areas that have potential to be molded.

Aesthetics are an important part of Landscape detailing, the visual quality of a landscape is what is noticed by others and therefore the goal is to achieving pleasing aesthetic without creating a synthetic feel. Art and design are also qualities that enhance the landscape. Artistic influence has a direct role in planning a landscape.


  • 1. Lückmann, K., Lagemann, V., & Menzel, S. (2013). Landscape Assessment and Evaluation of Young People: Comparing Nature-Orientated Habitat and Engineered Habitat Preferences. Environment & Behavior, 45(1), 86-112.
  • 2. Williams, R. (2012). HOW TRAINS SHAPED CANADA'S LANDSCAPE. Landscapes/Paysages, 14(2), 46-47.
  • 3. Schmid, A. S. (1983). Design in the river landscape. Science Direct, 10(1), 31-41.
  • 4.Al-Kodmany, K. (2001). Visualization tools and methods for participatory planning and design. Journal of Urban Technology, 8(2), 1-37.
  • 5. Thompson, I. H. (2002). Landscape and urban planning. 60(2), 81-93.


  • Littlewood, Michael (1993). Landscape Detailing: Surfaces. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (2001). Landscape Detailing: Water. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (1993). Landscape Detailing: Enclosure. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (1997). Landscape Detailing: Structures. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (2005). Landscape Data Handbook. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (1988). Tree Detailing. Architectural Press.
  • Littlewood, Michael (2001). Landscape Detailing, Volume 4. Architectural Press.

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