Key character species and field layer

In the science of plant sociology, specific plant communities of the edge zones in different climates and soil types have been identified, and should be able to be used as a reference.

Basic management principles

In recent times, woodland edges are often left without management, with the obvious risk of missing a lot of interesting qualities, and with the risk that most of the edges will look the same. In the long term, particularly the ‘out-drawn’, shrub-rich types and the visually open, short edges will disappear.


To explore woodland design opens up new possibilities—possibilities which have stayed undiscovered for many reasons. To step back, reflect and rediscover a rich (both cultural and natural) woodland history is an important recommendation of this chapter. It is also suggested that visually attractive and structurally interesting reference landscapes and woodlands are identified that provide inspiration for future design. But that is far from all. There must be other, completely new concepts to discover as well as new theoretical fields to explore. The most interesting of the theoretical concepts should be taken into reality and thereby enable new reference landscapes to be created. This chapter has tried to present some of what have been considered as the most interesting or promising. The examples are from many corners of Europe today, and, as types, many of them are, so far, rare.

Key character species and field layer


Open edge with wild perennials from a garden at Dalby—the

perennials often move around until they find their best situation

Key character species and field layer


An extremely diverse edge zone in Oxhagen, Sweden. In many grazed landscapes the outer edge zone is sometimes very complex, with many pockets and shrub islands. To design something similar in housing areas can be done but there is often a problem with resources being available for longer-term management

Woodland design includes a whole range of basically very different concepts, which it helps to develop an articulated, deep knowledge about. It stretches from physiognomic perspectives, so wellknown in practice today, to structural perspectives, which are much less used, and it gives the chance to bridge in-between architectural and biological knowledge fields. A chapter like this can hopefully serve as an eye-opener, a starting point or as a stimulating mental processes. The many references to both research and practice provide a good opportunity to dig deeper.

It should also be stressed that woodland design is an activity aiming to be far-reaching in time and to succeed in bringing a gift to future generations. It is therefore an activity which, more than many other design activities, plays with dynamics—to set a long journey which should be highly enjoyable right from the start and through the complete process. A set of key elements are introduced to interact with each other and also with other dynamic natural processes, which can disturb or enrich the system over time. Within the chapter we also included a breakdown of the main types and sub-types, which can be seen as a basis for further design inspiration and interpretation. For example, if we want to use similar thinking concepts for the exotic or ornamental plants, or if we want to investigate other parts of Europe, North America and elsewhere, as well as the primarily Western European models that have been used here.