Crafting Meaningful Landscapes Through Thoughtful Design


The landscape surrounding your business sends a message to every visitor and employee. Learn how to craft a thoughtfully designed landscape that leaves your neighbors in awe. Contact Landscapers Baltimore for more information.

Like their fine art brethren, many craft artists find inspiration in their environment. From weeds to the vistas around their homes, they draw on natural materials to create meaningful objects.

Taking the Pulse of the Land

In the midst of headline-grabbing innovations such as self-driving cars, sleek virtual reality headsets and robots, it is easy to overlook the many instances of incremental innovation. These are the small, quiet advances that improve, advance and enhance the technology, products, services and brands we already have. And often, thoughtful design is the discipline that drives these improvements.

The process of designing landscapes that are not only beautiful but also meaningful and sustainable requires a deep connection to the land. This starts with listening to the heart of a place, observing what it has to say and then interpreting that message to create a unique, personal space.

Listening to the land can be as simple as taking a walk in your own backyard. By engaging with the physical features of your yard, you can gain insight into the nuances and character of your landscape, from the varying shades of green to the movement of water. This can inspire a broad range of landscape designs and strategies.

It can also be as complex as collaborating with others to ensure that conservation efforts are effective at a landscape scale. For example, public lands in the West are incredibly diverse, with multiple agencies managing working and tribal lands across vast regions. These lands have different values, needs and challenges. Effective conservation requires a multi-agency approach that recognizes the interconnected nature of these landscapes and seeks to engage all of the people who live in them.

One way to do that is by embracing the craft of repurposing found objects and incorporating them into the landscape. For example, artist David Gurney uses weeds such as purslane that grows in cracks on city sidewalks to make silver and gold jewelry. His work embodies the concept articulated by Arthur Koestler that “true creativity often begins where language ends.”

Another way to take the pulse of a landscape is by prioritizing sustainability. By choosing a plant palette that thrives in the local climate and implementing efficient irrigation systems, you can help to reduce your carbon footprint while creating a garden that delights in every season.

Creating Layers

Layering within landscape design refers to the concept of arranging plants by size and function throughout your yard. Large shade trees and shrubs should be planted in the back row of your yard, while smaller plants, such as perennial flowers or hedge material, should be positioned closer to the front. This layered look adds depth to your yard and generates incredible visual appeal.

Planting the lateral or meadow layer of your garden can also be an opportunity to add color, texture and interest to your landscape. Many newer gardeners can be intimidated by meadow planting, however, by learning about the basics of scene scouting and composition, these areas can be an ideal location to capture natural beauty and artistic expression.

The meadow and grasslands are often the result of a clearing for agricultural or industrial use and, as such, provide a unique habitat that supports an amazing array of flora and fauna. Meadows and grasslands typically feature grasses, perennial flowers and small bushes that can be used to create texture and balance within your yard.

These lateral or meadow layers also provide a great opportunity to work in the use of flowing water. A pond or stream can provide a focal point in your landscape, or, in the case of a fountain or waterfall, they can be utilized to create movement and a sense of drama.

Wet Edges – These wetlands and waterways are a favorite spot for many flora and fauna to find their happy place. From hunting perches, to nutrient pools or simply a place to get their feet wet without fully immersing themselves in the full forest or lake setting, these ecosystems are vibrant and full of life.

When planning your layered garden, it is important to consider the flow of water and sunlight throughout the year. It is recommended to select plants that are adapted to your local climate conditions for the bottom layer, utilizing evergreens or ferns as an example. This will help to maintain a consistently lush look throughout the seasons. For the middle layer, you will want to incorporate ground cover, flowering annuals or perennials and a wide variety of shrubs that are suitable for your soil type.

Embracing the Natural

When designing a landscape, it’s important to embrace the natural elements. This means using materials like stone and wood that speak to a sense of place and creating spaces that connect us with nature. It also means planting trees and shrubs that are native to the area, so they can thrive in your climate and attract pollinators.

Another way to create a sense of place is by adding focal points to your landscape. These can be man-made structures, such as fountains and statues, or they can be features of your landscape, such as a mature tree or a boulder outcropping. Focal points can evoke emotion and tell stories, so they are a great way to add personality to your space.

One of the most important things to remember when capturing landscapes is that they are ever-changing and transient. The seasons change, weather conditions shift, and the light is constantly changing. This impermanence is what makes landscapes so beautiful and unique, but it’s also what challenges photographers to be flexible and creative when capturing their surroundings.

Focus on capturing landscapes that inspire you and align with your artistic vision. If there are certain locations or conditions that you find difficult, use those challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. Challenge yourself to document a landscape over an extended period of time, allowing yourself to explore different lighting and weather conditions. This will deepen your appreciation for the landscape and strengthen your storytelling abilities.

The most meaningful landscapes are crafted with the human experience in mind. A landscape should be inviting, comfortable, and evoke positive emotions. Taking the time to assess your current landscape and understand what needs to be changed will help you prioritize the features that are most important to you and your family. If you’re ready to start designing your landscape, contact the team at Impact Landscapes for a professional assessment. We specialize in sustainable landscaping solutions, including selecting plants that thrive in the local climate and implementing water-efficient irrigation systems. We believe that thoughtful design can transform your landscape into a space where you’ll always feel at home.

Creating a Sense of Place

Whether it’s the physical or social aspects of a landscape, many craft artists reflect their intimate relationship with their surroundings into their artwork. From Kit Carson to David Gurney, these artisans often find inspiration in the landscape around them. This Educator Guide includes several hands-on activities that will help students learn about the landscapes and cultures that inspire these artists and how they incorporate that inspiration into their work.

As the pandemic continues to affect our lives, creating a sense of place has never been more important. Landscape design is a key factor in fostering the feeling of home, and it can be used to help people cope with the stress of the current situation by bringing back familiar elements and providing a place to relax. The design of a meaningful place is the result of the collaborative effort of many disciplines. It involves integrating design, landscape ecology, and environmental psychology. Creating this sense of place also requires understanding the complexities of the human-environment interaction and the interrelated factors that influence how people perceive and experience the natural environment.

Research on sense of place (SOP) has a long history in both social science and urban design. Despite the fact that it is a complex concept, SOP has been viewed as a potential predictor of residents’ attitudes towards the built environment.

The aim of this paper is to present a new approach for analyzing and investigating sense of place, called sense of meaningful places. The method is based on an indicator that defines meaningful places as geographic locations—in the real world or abstracted representations on maps—to which descriptive meanings (a series of adjectives, descriptions of the place character, symbolic attributions) are ascribed and to which evaluative attachments (place dependence and place identity) are tied (see Fig. 1).

Results from two case studies indicate that the meaningful places approach is transferable at both a local (assessed with semi-structured interviews and a mapping survey) and regional scale. The analysis reveals that meaningful places are characterized by both geographically elongated courses and smaller spatial areas, depending on the type of location.