In this day and age, the practice of reading architectural books has become unfortunately rare, even though books provide a detailed understanding of the field and enhance our knowledge in a different way than reading blogs and online articles. Landscape architecture is the branch of architecture that deals with the planning, design, organization, and development of the built and natural environments. 

To learn more about landscape architecture, one has to know about the history, ideas, and frameworks involved as well as how the field has been evolving over the years. Here is a list of ten books about Landscape Architecture for architects, designers, and enthusiasts. 

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Chengdu Panda Land Master Plan, China ©HASSELL
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Chengdu Panda Land Master Plan, China ©https://www.callisonrtkl.com/
  1. Landscape Architecture Fifth Edition: A Manual of Environmental Planning and Design 

This book is the most comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of landscape architecture. For more than 50 years, this pioneering guide written by Barry Starke and John Ormsbee Simonds has served as the leading resource on the principles and practices of landscape architecture. The book has now been revised to address the newest developments in the field of landscape architecture, having more than 400 images and illustrations, and providing a comprehensive presentation of the profession.

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Landscape Architecture- barry Starke© Amazon

The fifth edition of Landscape Architecture enlightens on how to plan and design for the human use of land with the least environmental impact. The updated volume offers new coverage of current environmental topics such as sustainability, climate change, water conservation, land reuse, stormwater management, low-impact design, and so on.

  1. Design with Nature

Written by Scottish Architect Ian L. McHarg, the book is considered the most influential book on landscape planning ever written. It was published in 1969, addressing the concept of ecological planning and how to design in harmony with the natural environment. Inspiring readers to look at their environment in new ways, Design with Nature has been the most widely read landscape architecture book of the 20th century.

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Design with Nature by Ian McHarg © Amazon
  1. Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society by Frederick Law Olmsted

“Frederick Law Olmsted can fairly be said to have had as much impact on how we experience the natural world as the creators of the great national parks.” — Bill McKibben

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) is remembered as America’s foremost landscape architect. Over 100 items—letters, newspaper articles, essays, editorials, travel sketches, design proposals, official reports, and autobiographical reminiscences were gathered for this volume.

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Writings on Landscape, Culture and Society © https://www.goodreads.com/

The book represents Olmsted’s unique vision of restorative public green spaces as an antidote to the devastating pressures of urbanization. Along with Olmsted’s original works of literature, the volume comprises a 32-page portfolio of illustrations, including design sketches and plans of parks, contemporary photographs, and portraits. 

  1. Cities and Natural Process: A Basis for Sustainability

Michael Hough (1928), the author of the book, is a landscape architect. He outlines how the city transforms natural and human processes and leads to shifts in cultural values. Cities and Natural Process is a discussion of the fundamental conflict in the perception of nature and an expression of the essential need for an environmental view when approaching urban design. 

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Cities and Natural process by Michael Hough © Amazon

Retaining the original structure, the chapters have been revised to review current theoretical and practical developments. A new concluding chapter has been added addressing broader landscape issues such as greenway systems, landscape ecology, and green infrastructure.

  1. Representing Landscape Architecture

Representing Landscape Architecture is written by a team of well-known academics and practitioners, and edited by Marc Treib. This book is the best available reference to the date on the many dimensions of landscape representation and discusses how the designed landscape is and has been represented for design study, criticism, and realization. It has been said: “We can only realize what we can imagine. But to realize we must convey ideas to others as well as to ourselves.”

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Representing landscape Architecture by Marc Treib ©Routledge

Available at: https://www.academia.edu/

  1. Silent Spring

Written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962 – Silent Spring is a must-read classic with an important global message still today, more than 55 years after publication. Soon after its publication, the book became recognized in many educational departments related to Landscape Architecture, Environmental Design, Ecological, and Agricultural Science, and so on.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s poem, they are not equally fair. The road we are traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one ‘less traveled by’ – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth”. (p.240)

  1. A History of Garden Art: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day 

Written by Marie Luise Gothein (1863–1931) and published in 1913, A History of Garden Art has two volumes. Its second translated edition was published in 1928. The highly illustrated work is said to be the “best and most comprehensive” history of the world’s gardens. 

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History of Garden Art ©Amazon
  1. The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs is an essential read that reveals the real issues regarding neighbourhoods and cities. It is more helpful to urban planners and has technical explanations, which can be less comprehensible for garden designers. This book is a thorough review of what creates a community.

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The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs ©Amazon
  1. Islamic Gardens and Landscapes

Fairchild Ruggles, the author of this book, is an Associate Professor of Landscape History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The chapters of the book address the real issues of landscape architecture in a broader contextthe surrounding space, agriculture, water supply, nature, and its resources—in an attempt to answer historical questions addressing symbolic interpretations of gardens as Paradise. 

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Islamic gardens and Landscapes © Amazon

At the end of the detailed book lies a list of historically significant and well-preserved Islamic Gardens and Sites with geographical locations mentioned. ‘Islamic Gardens and Landscapes’ by D. Fairchild Ruggles deals with the landscape formations referring to the historically dense, sophisticated, and complex Islamic culture. 

  1. Drawing for Landscape Architects: Construction and Design Manual

Written by Sabrina Wilk in 2014, this handbook covers the basics of landscape architecture and a graphical representation, hand drawing, sketching, instructional, inspirational, and comprehensible ideas for readers to develop their graphic language and style from large-scale master plans and strategic visions, design concepts to specific construction details. 

Drawing for Landscape Architects: Construction and Design Manual ©Amazon

Available at: https://compress-pdf.muje.info/

References:

Morris, M. (2008). Book Review of “Islamic Gardens and Landscapes” by D. Fairchild Ruggles. Available at: https://muslimheritage.com/review-islamic-gardens-landscapes-f-ruggles/ [Accessed 13 Sep 2021].

Eschner, K. (2017). Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring (Partly) Because of the Author of Stuart Little. [online] Smithsonian Magazine. Available at: [https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/rachel-carson-wrote-silent-spring-partly-because-author-stuart-little-180961962/ [Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].

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