Form Follows Function
First and foremost, any design must be functional to be considered a success. The intent is to always create a design that works, in a simple, elegant, and aesthetically pleasing way. Therefore, for a design to be successful, it must first meet the client’s needs, which are unique to each project.
I am continually amused by the catchphrase ‘Sustainable Design’, which seems to find its way into almost every landscape architecture conversation. The inference is that sustainable design is a new and improved method of design, an additional benefit which supplements traditional design. In truth, good design is by definition ‘sustainable’. Built structures must be constructed using both materials and construction methods that will allow the resulting hardscape to withstand the test of time. Plantings must be selected that are suited for the soils and microclimate specific to each site, thus minimizing the need for pesticides and supplemental watering. Planting design must take into account the growth habit, cultural requirements, and ultimate size of each plant to minimize the need for pruning, staking, and eventual removal of offending plants. Sustainability should be a given in any landscape design, allowing the resultant built landscape to mature gracefully and in harmony with its surroundings, all while employing a modest amount of effort and resources to maintain its beauty.