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Landscape Design As A Fine Art

Landscape design may be regarded as the art of choosing wisely between any practical alternatives which present themselves to us in dealing with land and the objects upon it, with a view to securing greater enjoyment from the appearance of our outdoor surroundings.  It is applicable not alone where the purpose is primarily to give enjoyment, as in the flower garden, the lawn, or the park: but also where the primary purpose is utility, as in the vegetable garden, the farm and the industrial plant, and in the placing in designed relation to their surroundings of buildings, roads, streets, railroads, and the countless elements which make up our outdoor environment in city, village, and country. 

It merges into many branches of engineering and the economic arts in the sense that it deals with the same subjects; dealing with them, however, from the standpoint of outdoor beauty; just as architecture merges into engineering though holding fast to the standpoint of beauty in building.  As a fine art landscape architecture merges into architecture; but is centered primarily on a different class of mechanical and artistic problems from those of architecture; dealing with unroofed spaces, often of great horizontal extent in proportion to the vertical dimensions; and dealing far more than architecture with elements which change through the years, like growing vegetation, always in accordance with orderly laws, but laws too complex to permit of mechanically exact prediction. 

— Frederick Law Olmsted  


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