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VEGETATION IN LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Presentation by :Saima
Plants as Architecture
Plants with respect to architecture can perform two
roles. They can complement and reinforce the existing
architecture of the house or structure, and they can
create outdoor rooms.
• Trees, shrubs and ground covers can be used to
emphasize the desirable architectural lines and masses
of the house. The form and branching pattern of
particular trees and shrubs can echo the
vertical, horizontal and diagonal roof and wall lines of a
house. Thus, a pleasing, unifies and harmonious
appearance can result.
• Texture, form and size are the physical characteristics
of plants that provide interest , variety and aesthetic
appeal to a landscape.
Groups of Plant Forms
Deciduous trees are generally thought of as broadleaf trees meaning that they
have broad , flat leaves eg sycamore.
Usually these trees take longer to grow, their wood is harder and has good
A deciduous forest is a forest made up of trees that will shed their leaves in
autumn. These leaves will rot, producing a rich carpet of soil on which plants can
feed. Therefore deciduous forests are full of plants and animal life.
An evergreen or coniferous forest is a forest made up of pine trees that are always
They do not shed leaves except for a few pine needles to make way for new ones.
These fallen needles have very less nutrients and make very poor soil. Not many
plants grow in these forest and so fewer plants and animals are found here.
Form is the 3-dimensional shape of a plant or a plant mass. Overall form is more or
less relevant depending on the viewing perspective.
• For example , the form of a tree can appear quite different if a viewer is standing
under the canopy than it does when the viewer is standing in an open field.
• Plant forms can be divided into three groups – trees, shrubs and groundcover.
• Trees are distinguished by their large size, their trunks and their canopy.
• Shrubs are typically medium sized and are characterized by a mass of foliage
covering the branches.
• Groundcover is the smallest in size and varies greatly in form,But the
distinguishing characteristic is the way plants are used — to cover the ground.
Hence the name “Groundcover”.
Form and Branching Pattern of Trees
The form and branching pattern of trees and shrubs will determine their
appropriate role in a spatial theme. Plants with regular, symmetrical full forms in
summer and winter are most effective in reinforcing the geometric patterns of a
formal theme. A few trees and shrubs with symmetrical growth pattern suitable to
formalistic settings include :
Form and Branching Pattern of Shrubs
Several shrubs in their natural state have irregular growth pattern but are ‘forced’
into geometrical shapes.
Junipers, arborvitae, spirea and forsythia are often improperly trimmed into boxes
and spheres with disastrous results including sparse woody growth.
Care should be taken when choosing plants to ensure their tolerance for such
Size refers to the overall height and width of the plant and its relative size
or scale when compared to other plants, structures and spaces in the yard.
Plants are most often sized by height.
Large plants are trees that grow upto 4-6ft or higher at mature size.
Medium plants, typically shrubs, range from 2-4ft in height.
Small plants, typically groundcover and bedding plants, are 2ft tall or
Texture refers to how coarse or fine the overall surface and individual leaves of the
plant feel or look ( perceived visual texture).
Like form, a variety of textures provide interest and contrast in the landscape.
Texture can be found in the foliage, flowers, blades and bark of the plant, as well
as in the plant’s overall branching pattern. The size and shape of the leaves most
often determine the perceived texture of the plant.
A plant can generally be describes as having a course, medium or fine texture.
Coarse texture is more dominant than fine and tends to stand out individually,
while fine texture is more subordinate and tends to unify compositions.
Functional Uses of Plants
Considering the functional use of plants is a new approach to solving landscape
problems. Traditionally, plants have been used for beautification due to their
aesthetic qualities. The expression "functional use of plants" helps to explain that
plants can perform other functions in the landscape and still beautify.
Plants have horticultural characteristics such as height and spread, branching
habit, flowers, fruit, and foliage; they have design qualities such as form, colour,
texture, and mass and they have cultural requirements for growth in the
Plants as a Noise Barrier
Plants can be used functionally to solve some of the environmental problems the
homeowner may have on the property. This may include the need for privacy,
protection from glare or direct sunlight into windows, or shade on a patio. A thick
row of high shrubs bordering a road can reduce noise and prevent litter from
entering a yard, or perhaps screen an unpleasant view such as a shopping center or
row of buildings.
Plants Used for Climate Control
For climate control, deciduous shade trees might be used to screen the hot
summer sun or in winter permit the solar radiation to penetrate to the ground, or
to the walls and windows of a building.
Large shrubs can serve as windbreaks to reduce wind velocities.
Changes in solar radiation or light levels are also possible with shading.
USE OF DECIDUOUS PLANTS TO DIRECT SUMMER BREEZES
TREES CONTROLS SOLAR RADIATION
Architectural Uses of Plants
Plants can be used to form walls, canopies, or floors by taking advantage of their
different growth habits and foliage characteristics. A stand of trees or shrubs can
create walls to filter or block views, or a canopy of tree branches can provide a
sense of shelter. Ground cover planting with uniform foliage and textural
characteristics can present the feeling of an architectural floor. Plants can also
define a boundary
Engineering Uses of Plants
Trees can stop or diffuse light before it reaches the ground.
Engineering functions of plants include using them to screen or
soften the sun's glare on the water or smooth shiny surfaces, or
to block car lights or street lights.
An edging of ground cover plants along an entranceway or at
corners of a walk helps direct attention and movement of people.
Traffic movement along walks and drives can be controlled with
shrubs or trees.
Plants can add, absorb and deflect sound by the presence and
movement of their foliage and branches. Plants are particularly
useful in noise control when joined with landforms. Plants can
remove and trap pollutants from the air as well as introduce
fragrance or odors from flowers or foliage, such as the spicy scented
leaves of the bayberry.
POLLUTION CONTROL: EMBANKMENTS, DECIDUOUS AND
EVERGREEN PLANTINGS, AND MASONRY WALLS ARE USED
USE OF WIND BREAKS TO CONTROL
ANGLES AND GLARE
RESPECTIVE ANGLES OF
PLACEMENT OF PLANTS BETWEEN GLARE SOURCE
Creating Outdoor Rooms
VARIOUS PLANT TYPES, HEIGHTS AND COMBINATIONS
CREATE PARTIAL SCREENS AND OVERHEAD CANOPIES
INWARD FOCUSED SPACE
OUTWARD FOCUSED SPACE
A SCULPTURED HEDGE CREATES A PARTIAL SCREEN BETWEEN THE
PARKING AREA AND THE ENTRANCE COURTYARD
Aesthetic Uses of Plants
The aesthetic functions of plants are the easiest to understand. Plants traditionally
have been used for beautification; unfortunately, most people think this is the only
reason to landscape with plants.
Aesthetically, plants can become a piece of living sculpture. When placed against a
plain wall or fence, they create an interesting shadow pattern of branches and
leaves. Plants can be used as background for other plantings, or arranged to
provide visual coherence to unrelated objects or structures. They provide suitable
environments for birds and other wildlife.
Plants may be used for diverse purposes in the modern landscape. Rarely should
plants be simply ornamental; rather, they should serve multiple roles, making the
modern landscape both attractive and functional.
Aesthetic Uses of Plants
PLANTS CAN ACT AS SCUPTURE WHEN PLACED
AGAINST A BLANK WALL
DIFFERENT FORMS CAN BE USED TO
MAKE THE LANDSCAPE
TREES – BACKGROUND
SHRUBS – MIDDLE GROUND
THE ROLE OF PLANTS IN CREATING ARCHITECTURE SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED. YOU CAN USE
COVERS, SHRUBS, AND TREES TO CREATE FLOORS, CEILINGS AND WALLS OF OUTDOOR ROOMS TO ADD
UNITY, BALANCE, AND RHYTHM TO A SPATIAL COMPOSITION AND TO FRAME AND ENHACE EXISTING