Waterstained Landscapes: Seeing and Shaping Regionally Distinctive Places (Center Books on Contemporary Landscape Design)
A refreshing change from abstract writings about landscape architecture, Waterstained Landscapes is an illustrated essay, narrated by a fictional landscape architect, Ann Crane, who moves from Los Angeles to Colorado’s Front Range. Through the imaginary Crane, author Joan Woodward argues that deriving landscape designs from the natural patterns and processes of a particular region is […]
A refreshing change from abstract writings about landscape architecture, Waterstained Landscapes is an illustrated essay, narrated by a fictional landscape architect, Ann Crane, who moves from Los Angeles to Colorado’s Front Range. Through the imaginary Crane, author Joan Woodward argues that deriving landscape designs from the natural patterns and processes of a particular region is a key to creating distinctive, appropriate, and manageable designs.Combining elements of a journal, sketchbook, notebook, and textbook, Waterstained Landscapes focuses on the Denver region and the dry West. Protagonist Crane learns that tracing the “waterstain” — water concentration and accompanying plant responses — is like reading the braille of western landscapes, a hidden text that reveals information about natural processes and human values. The book describes the regional processes that shape these plant patterns, and goes on to explore how natural and cultural mechanisms change and affect designed and undesigned landscapes over time. Woodward takes special note of the evolution of landscape design eras, following the fate of one house as its garden changes under the influence of different styles and various owners’ tastes.Through her characterization of Crane, Woodward teaches a personal approach to discovering, recognizing, and identifying patterns embedded in the earth. Crane tries to understand and not detract from the beauty and history of her chosen home, the Denver Front Range, even as she inevitably changes her own environment. Crane’s heightened awareness of the region creates an opportunity for Woodward to demonstrate a method by which a region’s patterns and processes can be used to inspire fitted designs. Woodward also provides illustrated design models ranging in scale from a home garden to a highway interchange, and examples of the work of acclaimed landscape architects in the Denver area.Until now, few designers have explored the underpinnings of regional landscape design. In this clear, straightforward, and thoughtful book, Woodward illuminates the benefits to society, to clients, and to the land itself when the work of designers and planners is executed with a sensitivity to local and regional processes and patterns. The author unites theory, practical methods, and illustrated examples in one volume, making Waterstained Landscapes an invaluable resource and inspiration to homeowners as well as professionals and students from design and other related disciplines.
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