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Detailing for Landscape Architects: Aesthetics, Function, Constructibility

ISBN: 978-0-470-54878-3
272 pages
February 2011
Detailing for Landscape Architects: Aesthetics, Function, Constructibility (0470548789) cover image


The new industry standard on landscape architectural detailing

Detailing for Landscape Architects takes the reader on an educational journey across three major areas of landscape architectural detailing—aesthetics, function, and constructibility—to demonstrate how powerful design patterns can transform thematic ideas into awe-inspiring built realities. Richly illustrated examples accompany concise discussions of a varied blend of landscape design/detailing issues such as water movement, soil environments, articulating structures and construction assemblies, life cycle costing, sustainability, health and safety, and more. This book approaches the subject of detailing in a systematic manner, and provides a balanced framework for design and workmanship that conveys the essence of the built landscape.

Detailing for Landscape Architects shows how details can:

  • Reinforce design ideas through the continuity and discontinuity of patterns

  • Actively contribute to the overall form or geometry of the design

  • Be designed to be durable and flexible while enhancing the entire design

  • Gracefully accommodate the natural growth and change of plant materials

  • Anticipate maintenance needs to minimize future disruptions

  • Maximize their cost effectiveness through understanding their function while designing to meet those functions

Including chapters that apply detail patterns to the design of an urban plaza, a roof deck, and a residence, Detailing for Landscape Architects offers guidance on solving specific technical requirements, while preserving and enhancing the visual qualities that celebrate innovation, and carry forth a timeless quality of building.

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Table of Contents





CHAPTER 1 Aesthetics.


CHAPTER 2 Controlling Water Movement.

CHAPTER 3 Controlling Subsurface Water Movement and Sedimentation.

CHAPTER 4 Accommodating Movement.

CHAPTER 5 Accommodating Growth.

CHAPTER 6 Providing Structural Support.

CHAPTER 7 Providing Passages for Pipes and Wires.

CHAPTER 8 Health and Safety.

CHAPTER 9 Providing for the Life Cycles of the Landscape.


CHAPTER 10 Ease of Assembly.

CHAPTER 11 Forgiving Details.

CHAPTER 12 Efficient Use of Construction Resources.

CHAPTER 13 Sustainability.



CHAPTER 14 Detailing a Traditional Plaza.

CHAPTER 15 Detailing a Rooftop Garden.

CHAPTER 16 Detailing a Residence.


APPENDIX A: The Detailer’s Reference Shelf.

APPENDIX B: Formulating Exercises for Self-Study or Classroom Use.


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Author Information

Tom R. Ryan, FASLA, is Principal of Ryan Associates, Landscape Architecture and Planning. He has more than thirty years of experience as a practicing landscape architect, and has taught in the landscape architecture departments at the University of Pennsylvania, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Edward Allen, FAIA, has been a member of the faculties at Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has frequently taught as a guest at other institutions across the United States over the past thirty years. He is also the best-selling coauthor of Fundamentals of Building Construction and The Architect's Studio Companion (both with Joseph Iano), Form and Forces (with Waclaw Zalewski), and Architectural Detailing (with Patrick Rand), all published by Wiley.

Patrick Rand, FAIA, is a Professor in the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University, where he teaches design studios, construction systems courses, and detailing seminars. He is coauthor of Architectural Detailing along with Edward Allen.

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"This eminently readable, profusely illustrated book is obviously designed as a professional reference, but its effect is more like consulting with a passionate expert than merely receiving a listing of standard recommendations. This pattern-based approach, in lieu of a mechanical categorization based on materials (wood, metal, stone) or application (paving, walls, canopies), focuses on conveying general principles, as well as specific details, across a range of conditions, which is impressive. This emphasis on aesthetics — and not just visual, but aesthetics that appreciate elegance, simplicity, and timeless details — permeates the book, and is part of what lifts it above other catalogs of technique." (Landscape Architecture Magazine, Oct 2011)
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Detailing for Landscape Architects: Aesthetics, Function, Constructibility (US $90.00)

-and- Modeling the Environment: Techniques and Tools for the 3D Illustration of Dynamic Landscapes (US $65.00)

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