Idealization of natural images as an inhibition of creative design

Until now, the dynamic properties of plants have played a relatively sub­ordinate role in the designs of landscape architecture. Toleration of dy­namic processes in the history of gardens was usually linked with an image of intact and undisturbed nature. This idealized vision made it difficult for the designer to use the dynamics of plants creatively and to playfully inte­grate plants into designs. Process-oriented design seemed to be bound a priori to a semi-natural aesthetic and therefore allowed no designed inter­ventions that could be recognized as manmade (Grosse-Bachle 2003: 116) Only a sufficiently open vision of nature makes creative handling of the dynamics of plants possible.

Current examples of contemporary landscape architecture show that a new willingness exists to be free from inhibited ideas about nature and to experiment freely with the dynamics of vegetation. Strategies and methods based on accepted responsibilities toward nature have been developed that allow vegetation room to develop freely while permitting interventions to guide the development process.

The following examples illustrate possibilities that exist for incorporat­ing the natural dynamics of vegetation into design. The inherent dynamics of the natural development of vegetation are made perceptible and guided in different ways.

Design strategies

If the natural dynamics of vegetation are to be used in process-oriented de­sign in order to create flexible and suitable spaces, a more exact knowl­edge of plant-specific strategies is needed. In population biology and plant sociology, the term "strategy" indicates the combination of genetically de­termined physiological and morphological adaptations for dominating a site under optimal use of resources. This includes processes from self­thinning to succession. In the following design examples individual ele­ments of such processes are selected and manipulated through design.