Having a bit of land of your own apart from your residence is a great luxury, so many people make the most of it by going for landscaping. Landscaping businesses are also on the rise, but this task is much like an art form as well as a business opportunity.
In fact, the Hanging Garden of Babylon, which is among the Seven Wonders of the World, is also an ancient form of landscaping. This says a lot about landscaping as part of our cultural and social history. Here are some of the more interesting historical facts you should know about yards and landscaping:
The Origin of the Term
The term “landscape” originated from the Dutch word “landschap,” which first meant just a “region of land”. However, that word earned artistic overtones during the early 16th century.
The Ancient Gardens
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’s works, Alexander Pope is also considered the pioneer of informal modern landscape gardening. In an era where formal gardening was all the rage, Pope expressed a wish to return to, in his own words: “amiable simplicity of unadorned nature.”
He had studied horticulture and landscape design before and hence was equipped to make this particular trend possible. While some researchers say that he only made this interest occasionally apparent to the public, there is evidence that he designed a garden himself. This is the Marble Hill Garden, said to be one of the lost gardens of Georgian England.
Developing Views on Gardening
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. Due to this, people in that area developed a renewed acknowledgment and respect for nature.
Along with that newfound appreciation of nature came an artistic interest towards gardens and landscape gardening. Prior to the industrial revolution era, classically designed formal gardens were in fashion. These were said to be inspired by the legendary Greek utopia Arcadia, which was known for its pastoral charm.
Another favorite style of landscape gardening is the English cottage garden, where the design is utterly informal. English cottage gardens are known for their use of traditional materials, and lush, randomly growing plants. The produce here can be a combination of ornamental and edible plants/fruits.
Cottage gardens had humble peasant beginnings, and their overall appearance isn’t very extravagant. However, due to the natural charm and romantic aura they exude, cottage gardens became stylized in England during the 1800s. The popularity of cottage gardens soon became widespread throughout Europe.
The American Backyard
In the time that followed the end of World War II, there were a lot of new changes and trends coming. Peace and prosperity were also ushered in, allowing for everyone to have some semblance of a fresh start. With the growing numbers of the middle class, there was a significant increase in home ownership within the United States. This was one of the many factors that became responsible for the creation of the backyard.
Popularity of Backyards and Patios
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, grilling at the barbecue, playing games, and entertaining. Some would even take their meals out during the summer months in order to enjoy their food in the relatively cool air.
The affluent few would also have swimming pools in their backyards. Glossy magazines, films, and television shows helped promote the glamorous backyards, complete with pools, sliding glass doors, outdoor courtyards and open floor plans.
Now, hanging out in the backyard, or sitting in the patio has taken on yet another layer of enjoyment with the rise of social media. Both young and old generations like to utilize this comfortable time spent outside as a photo op, taking lovely pictures and posting them online.
Landscape architecture is also very much the same as landscape design. However, landscape architecture involves many additional things such as site planning, stormwater and land management, paving and other factors. Landscape architecture is connected to urban planning, so one should also look into this is they’re considering hiring a landscaping service for their yard.
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was an American landscape architect, who was considered to be the “father of American landscape architecture.” In fact, he was the one who first coined the term “landscape architecture” while developing Central Park in New York City.
French Formal Gardens
Also called Jardin à la française in French, the French formal garden strictly adheres to symmetry and order when it comes to landscaping. Lots of lines and sculpted plants can be found in this type of landscape gardening, interspersed with fountains, pools, and statues.
Instead of being attached to residential homes, 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.
Backyard Gardening in the 21st Century
During the 19th century, backyard gardens were treated not as places of recreation but as utilitarian spaces. People usually kept a vegetable garden and raised farm animals like chickens, pigs and sometimes even cows.
Going Back to Organic
The practice of planting your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs is coming back. This is mostly due to concerns about pesticides, chemical, additives, and preservatives in the food available at supermarkets. This is why many people are starting to get back to the old ways, with planting in their own space and building chicken coops. As a lot of people are getting into the “organic” craze, more of them are involved in organic gardening in their own backyards.
Reading Up on Restoration:
If these historical facts about yard and landscaping interested you, the book called “Landscaping Ideas of Jays: A Natural History of the Backyard Restoration Garden” might be a logical investment. With this work, readers would be able to learn much more about landscaping from a single source. Check it out here:
Authored by Judith Larner Lowry, this guide is both a delight to read and a practical handbook for landscaping. It’s organized according to season, so one should be able to make use of it throughout the year.
More specifically, this book focuses on a different kind of landscaping called restoration gardening. Lowry shows us how to shape our gardens with the right tools, and how to collaborate with nature in order to have the best landscaping result. The work might be more geared toward California gardens, but one might use it for areas with a similar climate as well.
Today, landscaping is considered more of a necessity than an extravagant luxury. The expectations have also become more reasonable, with a few trees and a patio usually being considered sufficient. Basic landscaping is the norm, but many homeowners also take things a bit further in order to enhance the curb appeal of their home.
Curb appeal, especially with a well-maintained yard, can actually increase the value of your home on the market. Landscaping will also help in putting your own mark on your dwelling in order to make it unique and comfortable for yourself. If you haven’t already done so, start reading up on how landscaping can benefit you as soon as possible.