Landscapes in Art, Part 2

ASLA 2013 Student Collaboration Award of Excellence. Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum / image: Megan Bean

In the previous post taking a look at Professional Practice Network (PPN) members’ favorite portrayals of landscapes in art, we focused on paintings, photography, posters, and prints. This time, we’re taking a look at all the other forms of art mentioned, from music to movies.

A few members also mentioned more unusual art forms, such as advertising, including landscapes captured in Anthropologie photo shoots and elsewhere: “I like seeing designed spaces in a lot of current marketing/advertising—it’s becoming part of the embedded culture.”

Below, we run through some of the films, books, and other works of art where landscapes figure prominently.


Avatar or Star Wars because of the creativity it takes to make believable fantasy worlds.”

Leighton Pierce did a film installation piece I saw in NE at the University of NE in Lincoln. It was from his time in the American Academy in Italy. It is about time and space in a garden and is shown on the walls in a room so you are surrounded as the viewer. It was so good I put a link to it in my Master’s thesis.”

2001: A Space Odyssey

500 Days of Summer

A River Runs Through It

Cold Mountain

Days of Heaven by Terrence Malick

Egyptian desert landscape in The English Patient



Mon Oncle—“French film from 1958 by Jacques Tati with fabulous landscape modernism”

Out of Africa—“The natural settings are spectacular – hard to improve on that!”

Rivers and Tides, a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy

South of Santa Fe, NM in Wild Hogs

The Hobbit, filmed in New Zealand

Versailles in Marie Antoinette

Witness—”featuring the made and natural landscape of the Amish”

ASLA 2015 Community Service Honor Award. Starkville Public Library ‘read’ Garden / image: Cory Gallo

Literature & Non-Fiction

“Descriptions of the beauty and ugliness of spaces and places in India by Arundhati Roy in The God of Small Things.”

“Graphic novels are rich in atmosphere and telling details for urban landscapes in particular.”

“I loved The Devil in the White City; it was a great look at Olmsted in his later years.”

“The Shire – in both the movies & books (The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings).”

A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era, by Robin S. Karson

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

Beach Music, by Pat Conroy—“very vivid description of the SC Low Country/coast.”

Dune, by Frank Herbert

Mississippi River in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson

ASLA 2015 Professional General Design Honor Award. Public Media Commons / image: Powers Bowersox Associates, DLANDstudio, Cobalt Office, Nine Network, Jason Winkeler Photography


The Grand Canyon Suite, by Ferde Grofé

Video Games

“The Star Wars games. Seriously. They depict plants at enormous ecological scales. The imagination and effort put into creating these landscapes is cool.”

At the start of 2015, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: creativity and inspired design. 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 2015, 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.

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