Welcome to Aesthetic Ecosystems!
Landscape design solutions for a resource-limited world.
This site is designed to educate you in your ecological landscape design needs. Whether you call it green design, sustainable design, or ecological design, the intent is for you to fully understand what it means to be ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ when it comes to landscape design.
Aesthetic Ecosystems are those designs that are fully integrated into holistic ecological design mindset, while also evoking the human spirit by providing intrinsic aesthetic value through conscious design.
Aesthetic Ecosystems holistically incorporate both aesthetic design and ecological design for maximum human and natural benefit. As such, aesthetic ecosystem design evokes the human spirit by providing intrinsic aesthetic and natural value through conscious design.
Types of Landscape Design
There are two specific categories of landscape design that I focus on within this site: Aesthetic Design and Ecological Design
Conventional landscape design can be very attractive if done properly. This is what I refer to as Aesthetic Design.
However, conventional landscape design can also be very resource intensive, requiring a substantial amount of labor, investment, energy, or natural resources. These types of landscapes are often designed from a very human perspective – what is most functional and most appealing to the human eye and mind.
Aesthetic landscape design by itself isn’t necessarily wrong or right. And sometimes it can be very ‘sustainable.’
But I believe aesthetic design can be done better.
There are many designs that are implemented from a very different perspective – that the most important element to preserve is that of the natural ecosystem. This is what I refer to as Ecological Design.
Often, ecological designs can be very effective at preserving a semi-natural state, re-establishing degraded land, providing natural habitat, and evoking a feeling of connectedness with nature. Sometimes, however, ecological designs may be perceived as being rugged, messy, unkempt, or unnatural.
Ecological landscape design by itself also isn’t necessarily wrong or right. And sometimes it can be very attractive.
But I believe ecological design can also be done better.
Sustainable Design or Green Design
Many designers are perceptive and responsive to the growing trend of being more ‘sustainable’ or ‘green.’ Often, these designers come from a conventional aesthetic design background. Perhaps you are one of these designers. I applaud these designers that are on the forefront of introducing sustainable design elements into the conventional design paradigm.
Many elements, technologies, and techniques are implemented in order to bring about a more sustainable end product.
However, I feel current sustainable design and green design concepts are just a step toward a more complete and truly holistic design thinking.
From the time the first human altered the landscape around him, landscape design has always involved two main elements: the human element and the natural element. Throughout the ages, these two elements have often been at odds – often from the angle of the human element asserting control, dominance, or perceived order over the natural element. Such a mindset exists to this day – in many ways in which we are often unaware.
I believe we are on the verge of an evolution in human thinking, not just in landscape design but in all aspects of life, as we realize that our actions can exert a massive and widespread impact on the world around us. This evolution will require a fully integrated and pervasive change in the conventional design mindset.
Aesthetic ecosystems take a fully integrated approach to design by taking the following and other elements into account during the design process:
- Form and function
- Aesthetic value
- Planting schemes
- Spiritual or metaphorical value
- Implementation labor
- Maintenance labor
- Ecosystem understanding
- Climatological influences
- Planting needs
- Soil building
This site helps you to begin that evolution to a fully integrated design mindset. You will find resources and examples throughout the site to help you on this journey.
A great place to begin is on the Get Started pages.
I also want to extend a special thanks to you for your interest in this field. I am excited to be part of this journey, and am also excited for you to join me!
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Image Credit: Flickr edkohler