top of page

Welcome to ARCH 072: The History of Landscape Architecture

Are you ready to take a journey?  Because this course is not your traditional history lesson.  I will not be asking you to memorize dates or the chronological order of events!  This course is really about both time travel and visiting places all across the globe.  Think of this space as your virtual world tour while understanding the origins of landscape design.  I will do what I can to be your tour guide.  We will learn about the people and cultural influences that nurtured the designs of the past, from ancient civilizations to present day landscape architecture.  If you are new to studying landscape architecture, you are in the right place.  Consider this course as your introduction, where you will gain access to the world of landscape design.


The following syllabus is abridged for general reference.  Students will have full access upon enrollment at West Valley College.



  • Catalog Description: This course is a study of world landscape architectural history from prehistory to present.

  • Objectives

    • Describe how landscape architectural movements are a response to broader conditions of society.

    • Identify key works of landscape architecture in history by name and designer.

    • Identify the major landscape designers/architects of a period under study, including but not limited to “Capability” Brown, Andre le Notre, Frederick Law Olmsted, Beatrix Farrand, Russell Page, Lawrence Halprin, Ruth Shellhorn, Peter Walker and Martha Schwartz.

    • Recognize key aspects of the roots and major movements of modern landscape design/architecture including but not limited to: Classical Designs, Arts and Crafts, Bauhaus, Expressionism, and Environmentalism.

  • Student Learning Outcomes:

    • Research and critique a significant work of landscape architecture from the period under study.



Maintaining a sketchbook is highly recommended for those of you who wish to pursue a degree in landscape architecture.  Landscape architects doodle, sketch, compile photos all the time.  It is a good habit to acquire, even if you do not pursue the degree but are interested in design and creative expression.

Recommended Study Habits

This course can be challenging for differing reasons but can offer tremendous rewards if you are considering a career in landscape architecture.  My only ask is that you commit yourself fully to the course, as many of the assignments are geared toward your own reflections on what you are learning.  This course is presented asynchronously, meaning there are no set lectures to attend.  Rely upon your independent participation and group message threads via Canvas modules.  Here are some recommendations:

  • Stay Connected: Make sure you set up your college email and Canvas notifications so that you receive course information, due dates, and responses from your peers and me.  The Canvas platform will provide instructions that you can follow to make sure you stay connected through the course.

  • Read and Respond: Fully read all chapters of your textbook and ask questions when a concept is difficult.  You will only have a week to read each chapter.  At the end of the week, you will be prompted to respond to a question in the form of an informal essay (no more than a page).  You will also be asked to participate in a message thread with your peers.

  • Prepare Your Paper: As a college level course, you will be asked to research a designer and one of their project sites, examine how landscape architecture played a role in the site's development, and bring readers up to date about the site today.  This means you should be seeking out your inspiration early on in the semester, and I will guide you through that process.

  • Quizzes and Exams:  Open book and open notes, so you do not need to rely upon memorization.  That said, you should be taking notes about your readings so you know where to find the information.  Skimming the textbook just before an exam is not advisable.

bottom of page