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APL8010 : Landscape Architecture Studio 4: Design with Plants and Ecological Greenspace Management

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Usue Ruiz Arana
  • Lecturer: Mr Clive Davies, Ms Stef Leach
  • Visiting Lecturer: Professor Catherine Dee
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce students to the range of scientific and horticultural knowledge applicable to landscape architecture. To introduce and develop skills in planting design and an understanding of the role of landscape management in the care of land to ensure that landscapes can fulfil needs and aspirations in an effective and sustainable manner for present and future communities of users.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module covers the following:

The principles of botany, ecology, horticulture, geology, soil science and climatology applicable to landscape architecture.

Introduction to plant materials for landscape design. Styles of planting (e.g. Gardenesque, Arts and Crafts, Modernist, Ecological etc.)

Selecting appropriate material for site and environmental conditions, including waterside planting.

Aesthetic considerations in planting design: scale, texture, colour, form etc. Functional aspects of planting: shade, shelter, structuring space, groundcover, screening etc.
Ecological principles in planting design: biodiversity and maintenance considerations.

Landscape architectural planting plan conventions. Plant schedules. Preparing a planting plan.

The role of planting in the climate and biodiversity emergency: carbon absorption of planting materials

Long term maintenance and management of greenspace.

Students will also go on short guided walks around the campus, looking at examples of planting. There will be a day visit to a nursery and/or a botanic garden.

Students will also complete a planting design exercise, accompanied by a short written statement on landscape management intent and a calculation of the carbon absorption of their proposals.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Present in person.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching53:0015:00PIP in studio design tutorials in group, including critical final review.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching52:0010:00PIPin studio design tutorials in small groups.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork28:0016:00Site Visit subject to prevailing Covid-19 guidance.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1150:00150:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time31:003:00Synchronous online.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is structured around a lecture course which introduces students to sciences with a bearing upon landscape architecture practice. As the module progresses, the emphasis shifts towards the landscape architect’s role as a designer with plants. At the same time students are introduced to longer-term issues of maintenance and management. The module also utilises experiential learning, as the lectures are linked to a series of practical tasks. At the outset, these are quite delimited (e.g. identifying trees from their leaves or testing a soil sample) but they become more complex and more creative as the module progresses (e.g. creating a detailed planting plan).

Site visits (e.g. to plant nurseries, botanic gardens or planting operations) give students the opportunity to connect their theoretical knowledge to the professional activities of landscape architects.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M40Five short practical exercises throughout the semester
Design/Creative proj1M60Planting design exercise and carbon absorption calculation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The acquisition of knowledge and skills is assessed through a series of exercises undertaken over the course of the module. In the latter half of the module students are also required to produce a creative planting plan supported by a short written statement of landscape management intent. These are complex tasks which test the extent to which students are able to usefully synthesise knowledge gained over the course of the module.

Reading Lists