Here are the more interesting historical facts you should know about yards and landscaping:
The term “landscape” originated from the Dutch word “landschap,” which first came to mean “region of land” but that word earned artistic overtones during the early 16th century.
The first recorded gardens trace all the way back to the ancient era. Ancient Egyptian tombstones show drawings of the gardens that feature ponds surrounded by acacias and palm trees. Of course, one does not forget the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which is one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.
Aside from being a renowned poet as well as the translator of Homer, Alexander Pope was also considered the pioneer of informal modern landscape gardening. In an era where formal gardening was all the rage way back then, Pope expressed a wish to return to, in his own words: “amiable simplicity of unadorned nature.” He had studied horticulture and landscape design before.
The industrial revolution in Europe during the 18th century led to rapid urbanization and population growth. As a result, open green spaces became a rarity that people gradually had a renewed acknowledgment and respect for nature. Along with that newfound appreciation of nature came also the artistic conception towards gardens and landscape gardening. Prior to the industrial revolution era, classically designed formal gardens were in fashion, inspired by the legendary Greek utopia Arcadia, known for its pastoral charm.
Another favorite style of landscape gardening is the English cottage garden, whose design is utterly informal. It is known for its use of traditional materials, and lush, randomly growing plants that can be a combination of ornamental and edible types. Cottage gardens had humble, peasant beginnings, but due to its natural charm and romantic aura it exudes, cottage gardens became stylized in England during the 1800s. The popularity of cottage gardens soon became widespread throughout Europe.
Following the end of World War II there were a lot of new changes and trends coming. Peace and prosperity also ushered in. With the growing number of the middle class, it led to the increase of the home ownership in the United States that became responsible for the creation of the backyard.
By the middle of the 20th century the backyard and patio became somewhat more of an extension of one’s home. Families and friends would frequently spend at the backyard or patio for rest, relaxation, grill at the barbecue, play games and entertain. The affluent few would also have swimming pools in their backyards. Glossy magazines, films and television shows helped promote the glamrous backyards, complete with pools, sliding glass doors, outdoor courtyards and open floor plans.
Landscape architecture is also very much the same as landscape design. However, landscape architecture also involves many things like site planning, stormwater and land management, paving and other factors. Landscape architecture is quite connected to urban planning.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was an American landscape architect, considered as the “father of American landscape architecture.” In fact, he was the one who first coined the term “landscape architecture” while developing the Central Park in New York City.
Also called jardin à la française in French, the French formal garden strictly adheres more to symmetry and order. Lots of lines and sculpted plants can be found in this type of landscape gardening, interspersed with fountains, pools, and statues. These gardens tend to be in front of a large building, usually a palace or chateau. The French formal garden flourished during the 16th to 17th century and this style became popular throughout Europe.
During the 19th century backyard gardens were treated not as places of recreation but as utilitarian spaces. They kept a vegetable garden and raised farm animals like chickens, pigs and sometimes milk cows.
Now in this digital era, many people are starting to get back to the old ways — planting vegetables and building chicken coops. And as a lot of people are getting into the “organic” craze, more of them are involved into organic gardening in their own backyards.