At its most basic level, landscape design serves nature. Landscape designers often write about sustainability, ecology, preservation, and other topics. This area of environmental design deals with issues like drainage, soil erosion prevention, and creating an outdoor environment that lasts through time, just as the natural setting did before man changed it.

Landscapers often talk about the need to bridge the gap between man and nature. This function is sometimes described by planting designers using contrasting language. One artist defined it as the combination of culture and nature. Another term refers to reconciliation between man and nature. Another definition of landscape design is the perfect and beautiful integration of “man-made buildings into the natural environment.” Another landscape architect speaks of “blending man’s technology in the natural setting.” An environmental designer explains the importance of maintaining “fluidity” between interior and exterior space. Some outdoor site planners place equal importance on culture and nature. Others give more weight to one. One site designer explains that clients need to feel more connected to nature. Another emphasises the importance of “deepening connection between people and the land.” Some practitioners view nature as serving man-made buildings. Landscapers, in their view, should create a “beautiful setting for a building,” protect it from wind and “create a beautiful surrounding environment around the building.”

Environmental engineers often emphasize the artistic side of their job. Some highly trained landscapists describe nature as a palette with which they create art. You will find many references to “creating beauty” in the comments of these practitioners. Some Landscape Architects in Melbourne are more interested in the beauty of nature when they practice their craft. Some are more focused on creating art. They describe their work as creating “manifestations of art that can live in and be enjoyed.” These two perspectives are not mutually exclusive. Many Melbourne landscape designers use “the principles and beauty of art” in their work but are guided first and foremost by the people’s personalized preferences.

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Designers often focus on the client’s viewpoint. This aspect of their work is described with phrases like “expressing the client’s vision”, “evoking nature in ways that are responsive to the…client,” or “considering the landscaping needs of the user.” Many designers also focus on the practical benefits that their artistic landscape design brings to clients. Few landscape designers emphasize the importance to elicit strong emotions in their visitors. They want to appeal to all the senses and create an emotional response in the garden setting. Their goal is to “inspire, imbue and guide the eyes of the beholder.”

Some landscapers view landscape design as something that transcends all the above-mentioned considerations and serves a religious purpose. To bring out the “spirit” of a place, they use religious teachings. They emphasize that they are trying to create a spirituality that is intrinsically present in the area, a landscape that feels “totally at ease in its surroundings.” Site engineers also create gardens that can be used as meditation or contemplation areas. They offer a refuge into nature, as Ralph Waldo Emerson described in “Walden”. Perhaps they have moved beyond the conflict between man and machine found in Walden. Their intelligent retreats are designed by landscape designers to offer sanctuary within the context of modern living.