Required Reading for Landscape Architects

Activating Land Stewardship and Participation in Detroit: A Field Guide to Working With Lots, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category image: Andrew Potter
Activating Land Stewardship and Participation in Detroit: A Field Guide to Working With Lots, 2016 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category
image: Andrew Potter

With the holidays and end-of-year break nearly upon us, you may be looking for a few new books, whether to give as gifts or to read yourself. In addition to the Best Books of 2016 highlighted on The Dirt, we also asked ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) for books that should be required reading for all landscape architects. Though many of these are classics you may have already read, we hope you find a few titles to add to your must-read (or must re-read) list.

The top 5 books selected by PPN members were:

  1. Design with Nature, by Ian McHarg
  2. A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
  3. Landscape Architecture, by John Simonds
  4. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs
  5. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr, Hon. ASLA

A few authors were mentioned for multiple works, including Kevin Lynch for three different books (The Image of the City, Site Planning, and What Time is This Place?) and Julie Moir Messervy for two (The Inward Garden and Contemplative Gardens). Other popular choices, each selected by four or more respondents, were:

Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv

A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander

The Image of the City, by Kevin Lynch

The Landscape of Man, by Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe and Susan Jellicoe

Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy and Rick Darke

Design on the Land, by Norman Newton

Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards, by Leonard Hopper, FASLA

Site Engineering for Landscape Architects, by Steven Strom, Kurt Nathan, and Jake Woland

Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture, by Charles Harris, FASLA, and Nicholas Dines, FASLA

The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson

Petrochemical America, 2013 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category image: Richard Misrach
Petrochemical America, 2013 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category
image: Richard Misrach

If you are looking for a particular genre or topic, here are a few more titles that were mentioned:

Biographies

A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century, by Witold Rybczynski, Hon. ASLA

Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, by Justin Martin

Apostle of Taste: A Biography of Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815-1852, by David Schuyler

Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 2015 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category image: Landscape Architecture Frontiers (LA Frontiers)
Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 2015 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category
image: Landscape Architecture Frontiers (LA Frontiers)

Ecology & the Environment

Design for Ecological Democracy, by Randolph T. Hester, Jr., FASLA

Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth’s Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise, by Michael Rosenzweig

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

Design for Human Ecosystems, by John Lyle and Joan Woodward, FASLA

Futures by Design: The Practice of Ecological Planning, by Doug Aberley

Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams

Gardens

Gardening with Nature, by James van Sweden

Gardens Are For People, by Thomas Church

The Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page

The Brother Gardeners: A Generation of Gentlemen Naturalists and the Birth of an Obsession, by Andrea Wulf

The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, by Anne Whiston Spirn, FASLA

Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA, 2012 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category image: SWA Group
Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA, 2012 Professional ASLA Honor Award, Communications Category
image: SWA Group

Business, Leadership, & Management Guides

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek

Project Management for Design Professionals, by William Ramroth

Ready, Set, Practice: Elements of Landscape Architecture Professional Practice, by Bruce Sharky, FASLA

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

Novels, Drama, & Poetry

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

Dune, by Frank Herbert

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

Plum Island, by Nelson DeMille

1984, by George Orwell

Arcadia: A Play, by Tom Stoppard

Robert Frost’s poems

At the start of 2014, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: career paths in landscape architecture. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2014, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the annual PPN Survey, see LAND’s PPN News section.

3 thoughts on “Required Reading for Landscape Architects

  1. Kristin Faurest December 13, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    No category for history?? I wouldn’t leave out Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory, for instance.

    • Vivian Delgado December 31, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      Kristin: Couldn’t agree more! What about Theory in Landscape Architecture by Simon Swaffield?

  2. Vivian December 24, 2016 / 11:01 am

    I’d like to add a suggestion: The Fundamentals of Landscape Architecture by Tim Waterman.

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