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The Education of a Modern Landscape Designer

Articles: The Education of a Modern Landscape Designer

Entry to Eckbo’s studio in the Berkeley hills. Photograph by the author. “I have been accused of using too many kinds of plants,” Eckbo observes. He delights, however, in compositions of varying forms, colors, and textures. The entry to his studio is embowered with staghorn ferns, fern pine, violet trumpet vine, and purple-leaved plum.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
H.G. Wells

As the practice of landscape design evolves, our understanding of what is modern also changes. At the turn of the cen­tury, in and around Chicago, Jens Jensen was creating urban parks and residential gardens using native plants with great subtlety to evoke the spirit of the prairies; his work was considered fresh and modern in 1910. In 1969 Ian McHarg’s book, Design with Nature, demonstrated an ecological approach to planning and design that had, to some extent, been anticipated by Charles Eliot in the 1890s. McHarg’s approach, too, could be considered modern in that it is appropriate to our own time and circumstances.

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