Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
HOR 291
Course Title:
Landscape Design Process
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Fosters a critical thinking approach to landscape design. Covers methods for the use of line, proportion, color, scale and texture in the creation of landscape spaces. Includes the study of landscape architectural history and historical sites. Prerequisites: HOR 290 and (HOR 226, or HOR 227, or HOR 228, or HOR 255, or HOR 272, or LAT 262). Recommended: A total of 9 credits of HOR 226, HOR 227, HOR 228, HOR 255, HOR 272, or LAT 262. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Section one of the course explores the historical evolution of landscape design, developing research skills that are needed in the initial phases of landscape design. Section two focuses on spatial development exercises, developing approaches and skills needed in the conceptual phase of design. The final section studies specific landscape design approaches and a synthesis of the data and concepts developed in the first two sections of the course.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use research skills to develop criteria for designing with historical, regional and/or local design styles.
  2. Utilize field measurement and client data gathering techniques to provide base information for design.
  3. Utilize critical thinking to formulate design concepts including:
    1. Analysis of data as it relates to landscape design
    2. Synthesis of data to develop conceptual ideas
    3. Finalization of concepts to be presented in oral, written and graphic modes
  4. Use proper writing and documentation skills in presenting ideas and concepts developed through research.

Course Activities and Design

The course will consist of lectures utilizing multi-media presentations that present relevant concepts and ideas followed by a series of lab projects that develop data gathering and graphic design skills. Overall design process skills are developed through an actual design project that is done by all students for comparison and self evaluation.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

This is a pass/no-pass course. All of the assigned projects and paper(s) must be completed for a passing grade. "Passing", will be considered as completing the course requirements to a level commensurate with a 70% level of meeting project requirements. Class evaluations will be based on the following:

  1. 1 research paper
  2. 3 graphic and oral design projects
  3. 1 term design project

Requirements for individual projects will be presented as each is begun

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Understand how historical culture, societal attitudes, art and design approaches (styles) evolved and how they effect localized landscape designs today
  2. Use traditional, "high-tech" and personal research methods to gather data
  3. Apply a critical thinking path using analysis, synthesis and formulation to landscape design process
  4. Apply societal, psychological, and physiological requirements in the development and definition of landscape spaces.
  5. Apply basic principles of art in the design of landscape spaces
  6. Express concepts and ideas in oral, written and graphic formats
  7. Visualization of landscapes as three dimensional, interactive, and evolving entities


  1. Use available research methods and materials to gather data and evaluations of historical landscape traditions and local/regional landscapes.
  2. Write a research paper on a local or regional landscape evaluating the landscape "style", the historical background of that style, evaluation of how well that style was incorporated into a Northwest Landscape/Garden and provide proper documentation of research sources.
  3. Recognize the influence of historical and regional "landscape styles" on existing local designs and be able to reflect those in the student's design work.
  4. Perform site measurement and information gathering necessary for supporting design concepts and ideas.
  5. Prepare a graphic scaled site plan
  6. Define the client(s) who design work is being performed for.
  7. Collect data on client's preferences in design style, materials, and desires for landscape use.
  8. Analyze and synthesize site and client data to create a conceptual plan for use areas and circulation patterns in the landscape and to study the impact of the site analysis.
  9. Use the basic principles of art to develop the lines, size and proportion of spaces and criteria for the selection of materials for the design.
  10. Graphically layout a preliminary design for evaluation in meeting the dictates of the site and the desires of the client.
  11. Utilizing a knowledge of plant material and hardscape materials select final materials for a design project.
  12. Draft a final landscape planting plan that is professional in appearance and that can be utilized by the client or contractor to obtain materials and execute the design
  13. Orally present the concepts and ideas developed to a client or group.
  14. Explain the order of implementation of a design that would be recommended.
  15. Evaluate landscape designs as to how well they met the requirements of the site, the desires of the client(s) and the design criteria used.