skip to content


Landscape Technology (HS 495XY)

4 credits (2.5-3-0) Spring and Fall

Preq: HS 495Z and HS 342

Course Description

HS 495XY, Landscape Technology, is imperative in understanding and working sensitively with site conditions and features as well as designing and placement of site structures on the land that are both aesthetic and functional. Landscape Technology combines design skills with technical knowledge that allows students to design meaningful yet safe and functional landscapes that do not negatively impact the environment.

This course focuses on site planning issues and construction materials used in small scale landscape design. Specific topics we will cover include landform as an art form, interpreting two-dimensional site plans, surveying, grading and drainage, site inventory and analysis, user/client needs, circulation, functional role of vegetation, site structures and special population requirements. Simultaneously, we will be investigating appropriate construction materials used in a variety of landscapes and settings.

Course Objectives

The overall goals of this course are to provide students with an understanding of the technological aspects of landscape design, and to understand the impact that new designs have on existing landscapes.

Students will:

  1. Learn to visualize and understand topographic form of the land and how to sensitively and artfully manipulate landform as a design element;
  2. Introduce principles of land surveying, learn how to perform field work and transfer that information to a paper document;
  3. Develop an understanding of the essentials of vehicular and pedestrian circulation (roads, small parking lots, sidewalks, steps, ramps, handicap accessibility issues, etc.);
  4. Develop a basic understanding of hydrology, storm water and site drainage;
  5. Continue to develop a process for analyzing site characteristics;
  6. Develop a process for analyzing user behavior, determining user needs;
  7. Introduce students to site requirements of special populations; and
  8. Gain an understanding of landscape construction materials by themselves and in combination with others (this information presented simultaneously with other topics).
  9. Identify larger contextual issues that impact smaller scale landscapes; and vice versa
  10. Identify how plants are used in functional ways and apply that information to design work

Course Methods

Learning will be accomplished through several steps: knowledge acquisition, technique development, practice, and evaluation. Class sessions will serve to introduce basic knowledge and present the technique to apply the knowledge. Knowledge will then be applied to a range of hypothetical and real world projects. Class time will also be used for working on projects and exercises and for local field trips. A series of projects will be completed incrementally through the semester to reinforce your ability to develop necessary skills. A midterm and final exam will provide additional evaluation of your understanding. Weekly or bi-weekly pop quizzes will also be given.

Students conduct a site inventory and analysis to learn how urban conditions impact green spaces.
Students conduct a site inventory and analysis to learn how urban conditions impact green spaces.