Garden Design is the art of designing and landscaping gardens, parks and green spaces, a skill that is increasingly requested to professionals in the sector.
Far from being a purely decorative element, a garden represents a place where people can connect with nature, enjoying the physical and psychological benefits that contact with greenery provides. For this reason, the organisation of the green space, besides reflecting the aesthetic sense of the designer or owner, should be based on a well-defined project that takes into account some fundamental variables like the surroundings, the climate and the time available for its maintenance.
Let's see what this profession is all about and how green yards have evolved over time, looking at some excellent examples and the latest trends in Garden Design that we will see in the coming year.
The ornamental garden: from ancient Egypt to the present day
The garden arises from humanity's need to end its nomadic lifestyle, deciding to fence a green space where all that is necessary for survival can be cultivated directly. While an initial, rudimentary idea of gardening – focused on essential crops – can be traced back to prehistoric times, it is in ancient Egypt that we find the first evidence of ornamental green spaces (including the gardens of Ptolemy I in Alexandria), rich in pools of water dotted with water lilies and surrounded by palm trees. Even the Persians were greatly interested in the care of gardens (just think of the hanging gardens of Babylon), an interest that would spread to ancient Greece, and then to Rome, as evidenced by wall paintings in Pompeii. In the 6th century, the tradition of the ornamental garden developed in China and Japan, where Zen gardens were invented, featuring a profound harmony and balance between the elements. During the 13th and subsequent centuries this art spread rapidly throughout Europe: from the Italian-style hanging garden, an excellent example of green architecture (Boboli Gardens in Florence) to the French parterres typical of noble residences (Versailles) and English landscape gardens (garden of Dessau-Worlitz).
In the 1900s garden design fused with other new disciplines like urban planning and design, giving life to the professions of landscape architect and garden designer.
Garden Designer, mixing precision and creativity
The goal of the garden designer is to create an actual natural work of art. To do this, the measurement and design of the green space must go hand in hand with creativity and a love of nature. The goal of the garden designer is to create an actual natural work of art. To do this, the measurement and design of the green space must go hand in hand with creativity and a love of nature. The observation of the setting and surroundings (available space, terrain, climate, light) combined with the tastes and needs of the client allow this professional to develop a project that is an expression of his or her creativity and ability to find practical design solutions.
However, the profession of garden designer should not be confused with that of gardener. In fact, a professional garden designer has training that includes specific in-depth studies of botany, topography and technical and artistic design, complemented by a period of experience in the field, fundamental for learning how to best manage spaces, combine elements and colours and calculate a budget. In Italy, ne of the most important training centres for this sector is ISAD, the Higher Institute of Architecture and Design based in Milan that offers a master's degree in Garden Design.
Excellence in the world of Garden Design
There are famous examples of garden design all over the world. For example, the Butchart Gardens are located in Canada, a veritable rainbow of flowers, plants and trees (even some rare and exotic ones) covering over 22 hectares, including Italian-style, Mediterranean and Japanese gardens. In Dubai we find what is considered the largest garden in the world, the Dubai Miracle Garden: 100 million flowers in 72,000 square metres, built almost entirely in a desert terrain. The Master of the Nets Garden, on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful gardens in China, perfectly combining art, nature and architecture, and is therefore recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx designedFlamengo Park, the largest public recreational park located along Guanabara Bay, between Rio de Janeiro and Copacabana. An excellent example of urban renewal is Rambla de Sants, the conversion of the Sants (Barcelona) railway corridor into a 800 m hanging garden, the beginning of what should become a 5 km green corridor.
In Italy, famous examples of garden design are the Tarot Garden in Tuscan Maremma, an artistic park inspired by the 22 tarot mysteries and designed by the Franco-American Niki de Saint Phalle, and Pinocchio Park, a theme park with green spaces designed in partnership with Pietro Porcinai, one of the most famous garden designers of the 1900s. Finally, one of the most illustrious examples of contemporary garden design is surely the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) in Milan (Studio Boeri), expression of a sustainable urban reality ad finalist of the RIBA International Prize 2018.
The latest trends in Garden Design: what to expect in 2019
The new year is here: What will be the trends in Garden Design for 2019? 2018 saw nature take its place at centre stage with lush gardens rich in flowers, plants and pools, where the elements are never left to chance but rather are carefully studied, selected and placed to create balance and harmony, as in Feng Shui garden. This was also the of comfort and conviviality, facilitated by furnishing accessories and fabrics able to recreate real outdoor living rooms, offering the intimate, welcoming atmosphere typical of the Scandinavian Hygge Style.
Another trend that took off in 2018 and that will reach its peak in the coming months is that of the Outdoor Home, i.e. the elimination of the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces. Minimalism and the pursuit of lightness will also be trends that will continue, together with the selection of technical materials able to guarantee resistance and practicality to outdoor spaces. These are just some of the latest trends in Garden Design for 2019, but many others will emerge during the course of the year and we'll keep you up to date on all of them.
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