Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
LAT 214
Course Title:
Plant Composition I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers aspects of plant arrangement in landscape projects with emphasis on plant use, styles of planting, color, texture, form and scale. 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, 227, 228, 255, 272, or LAT 262. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Plant Composition focuses on the actual selection of plants for use in the landscape. The plants' physical characteristics and growth requirements will be the basis for selecting and grouping plants for landscape designs. Lab projects will allow students to develop several graphic styles for exploring plant arrangements and making presentations.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to :

  • Select plants for design problems to:
         + Achieve optimum growth requirements in given macroclimates and microclimates.
         + Meet the criteria of use in the landscape scheme.
         + Form aesthetically pleasing plant groups relative to the basic principles of art in design.
  • Present plant combinations in sketch, drafted landscape drawing and picture collage formats.
  • Orally discuss the concepts used in plant selection projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work as an individual and as part of a group.

Course Activities and Design

This course is set up on a lecture and lab basis. The lectures will illustrate key concepts and ideas relative to plant arrangement with a multi-media format. The labs explore selection of plants for specific styles or types of landscapes, plant associations and the combination of plants using basic art principles.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

This a pass/no-pass course. A passing grade will require completion of 5 of the 6 assigned projects; a 70% or higher score on the midterm and final exams; and completion of the notebook. Passing level on the projects will be at a level commensurate with 70% completion of the requirements of the project. Evaluation will be based on the following:
1 - In-class midterm written short answer quiz
1 - In-class final essay exam
6 - Lab projects
1 - Sketchbook/notebook, graphic and written reference notes and ideas

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Understand the relationship of a plantĀ°s successful growth to its total environment
  2. Demonstrate the selection and arrangement of plants based on landscape use
  3. Demonstrate the selection and arrangement of plants based on basic art principles
  4. Record observations of plant usage, in both written and graphic formats
  5. Use graphic techniques to develop criteria for plant selection
  6. Utilize traditional and current technologies for researching plants for landscape use
  7. Make oral presentations of your plant selections and arrangements


  1. Discuss ( and explain ) the macroclimates of the Pacific Northwest and their impact on plant selection
  2. Discuss the microclimates of the greater Portland Area. Recognize and select plants for, nine microclimates.
  3. List the 8 basic principles of "Xeriscaping"
  4. Design a plant arrangement for our area using "Xeriscaping" principles
  5. Define plant associations, regionalism and style as applied to landscape design
  6. Draw a series of sketches and plans illustrating plant observations
  7. Be able to list the principles of art; creating unity through the use of simplicity, variety, balance, emphasis, sequence and scale as applied to plant selection for landscape design
  8. Use the "backward process" to study the art aspect of plant selection and develop plant combinations from it
  9. As part of a design team, select plant arrangements for specific landscape styles; i.e. formal, natural, oriental
  10. Make an oral presentation illustrating the plant selection criteria used for a project and how the plants chosen fit that criteria
  11. Utilize graphics to illustrate the use of plant physical characteristics in plant arrangement