Theory of landscape design (152105)

Course coordinator

Course description

The course objective is to introduce students to the term theory and fundamental theoretical knowledge necessary for understanding of composition in landscape design and for generating landscape forms. The course trains/ qualifies students for understanding relation between landscape design realizations and social-political conditions; introduces students to sintax and vocabulary of landscape design and broadens the knowledge of understaning landscape design compositions. Through seminars and design project students practice generating forms in landscape design.

Type of course

ECTS: 6.00

English language: L2

Teaching hours: 60
Lectures: 35
Practicum: 19
Seminar: 6


Sufficient (2): 60-70%
Good (3): 71-80%
Very good (4): 81-90%
Excellent (5): 91-100%

Conditions for obtaining signature

Regular attendance and fulfilling set tasks.


Submitt and present seminar work and generating landscape forms project.

General competencies

The course enables students to understand the relationship between landscape design realizations and socio-political opportunities, acquainting it with the syntax and the vocabulary of landscape design and deepens the understanding of the composition of designed landscape.

Types of instruction

  • Lectures
    Lectures on the thematic units planned by the curriculum.
  • Assessments
    Written exam (intermediate I and II or final exam), oral exam
  • Field work
    Identifying, analyzing and defining the element interrelationships in an urban or rural landscape. Description and critical consideration of certain spatial situation / composition.
  • Seminars
    Seminar work in the field of ​​landscape design theory (analysis and critical consideration of selected topic).
  • Design exercises
    Generating landscape forms on a real task (design through research). Students need to form a project program. Creating conceptual designs (different scales and design). Presentation in free form.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcome Evaluation methods
Identify, evaluate and analyse landscape design realization or project. Written exam, oral exam, design exercises
Distinguish the open space typology in urban and rural areas, and determine their functional and design qualities. Written exam, oral exam, design exercises
Analyse and solve the specific problems within the framework of the landscape design in practice. Design exercises, seminar
Generate a larger number of concept design solutions with the emphasis on generatinig diverse forms. Design exercises, seminar
Recognize, analyse and present developments in landscape architecture. Written exam, oral exam, seminar
Work independently or in teams in preparation of concept design within a urban or rural area. Design exercises, seminar

Working methods

Teachers' obligations

Regurarly maintain all forms of teaching. Specified time for consultations beyond regular classes.

Students' obligations

Regular attendance and fulfilling of set tasks.

Methods of grading

Evaluation elements Maximum points or Share in evaluation Grade rating scale Grade Direct teaching hours Total number of average student workload ECTS
Pismeni i usmeni ispit 66.7% 60%
Insufficient (1)
Sufficient (2)
Good (3)
Very good (4)
Excellent (5)
40 120 4
Pisanje i izlaganje seminarskog rada 16.7% Do 60%
Insufficient (1)
Sufficient (2)
Good (3)
Very good (4)
Excellent (5)
10 30 1
Praktikum - samostalni dizajn obroka za jednu kategoriju preživača 16.6% do 60%
Insufficient (1)
Sufficient (2)
Good (3)
Very good (4)
Excellent (5)
10 30 1
UKUPNO 100% do 60% 61-70% 71-80% 81-90% 91-10% neovoljan (1) dovoljan (2) dobar (3) vrlo dobar (4) Odličan (5) 60 180 6

Weekly class schedule

  1. (L) Course introduction. Overview of landscape design social role and importance in western and easter civilisations through history. (S) iIntroduction to generattion of landscape form project and seminar work.
  2. (L) A concept of theory – meaning and terms. Theory development. Theory as a set of fundamental knowledge and as a foundation of a certain field of activity. Theory as interpretation, certain reality explanation, codification or writing accompanying art in history. Theory as a set of principle guidelines. A concept of landscape. Landscape architecture – landscape design – landscape planning. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  3. (L) Landscape structural characteristics: volume, plane and linear components. Plane in landscape structure – a concept, significance, tipology, plastic characteristics. Volume and linear components in landscape structure– typology, plastic characteristics, significance and influence. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  4. (L) Color in landscape visual structure and design – characteristics, function in design and effect in composition. Color in natural landscape – color applicability in designed landscapes, simbolism. Other visual characteristics: texure, tonal values, shape, scale. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  5. (L) Types of order: order, succession, repetition, progression, klimax, accent, dominance, simetry, perspective, rhythm. Contrast as a type of order – term, spatial appearance, typology. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  6. (L) Abstraction as a fundamental process in development of expressive means in landscape design. General form of abstraction: space organization (regular arrangement, agglomeration, transformation of three-dimensional into planar, allocation, projection), natural material transformation, thematic restriction, color reduction, different scale synchronization. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  7. (L) Abstraction as the main method of making symbols. Four basic themes in the phenomenology of symbolism in landscape design ( verticality, centrality, regular distribution, planes). Phenomenology of symbolism in designed landscapes as it has been materialized in the historical traditions of the Far East on the one hand and the Western World on the other. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  8. (L) Articulation – term and role in landscape design. Articulation types. Consistency – coherence – cohesion. Articulation in landscape design as structural characteristic and creative process. Complexity – potential grounds for redundancy. Written exam - 1st part (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  9. (L) Mimesis (imitation theory) in landscape design. Hypothesis – possibilities – reality. Heuristic nature of landscape design. Relation natural – designed landscape. (S) Seminar work presentation
  10. (L) A concept of form. Natural – production – designed landscape: characteristics and formation patterns. Approaches to form generation in landscape design – functionality, after aprioristic choice, by derivation from the known forms, in a heuristic way (as a completely new phenomenon), decomposition as a method of creating new forms, the natural topography as a source of form, the urban pattern as a determinant of landscape form, evocation of historical patterns, contrasting relationship architecture – landscape as starting point for form, designed landscape as a metaphor of nature, idea of the urban landscape as a product of natural succession (ecological concepts). (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  11. (L) Landscape and architecture morphological interrelationship. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  12. 12. Field work
  13. (L) Possibilities and disputabilitiesod ecological approach to landscape design. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  14. (L) Contemporary trends in landscape design. (DE) Commentary and work on the design project.
  15. Written exam - 2nd part (S) Seminar work final presentation.

Obligatory literature

  1. Swaffield, S. (2002), Theory in Landscape architecture, University of Pennsylvania Press
  2. Doherty, G., Waldheim, C. (2015). Is Landscape…? Essays on the identity of landscape, London
  3. lecture notes

Recommended literature

  1. Jellicoe, G. (1965-1970), Studies in Landscape Design. Oxford University Press
  2. Corner, J. (1999), Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. Princetom Architectural Press
  3. Arnheim, R. (2002), Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, University of California Press
  4. Ogrin, D. (2010), Krajinska arhitektura, Oddelek za krajinsko arhitekturo, Biotehniška fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani

Similar course at related universities

  • Teorija krajinskega oblikovanja, Biotehniška fakulteta Univerze v Ljubljani
  • Landscape Theory, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Theories and methods of landscape architecture, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

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