While the historic roots of Landscape Architecture can be traced back to the Paloelithic period and the first ceremonial and funerary monuments, the term Landscape Architect was indeed, first coined by Fredrick Law Olmstead in 1858. Fredrick law Olmstead is generally credited as the father of modern Landscape Architecture.
As late as 1975 the American Society of Landscape Architects defined and recommended the definition of landscape architecture as:
… the art of design, planning or management of the land, arrangement of natural and man-made elements thereon through applications of cultural and scientific knowledge, with concern for resource conservation and stewardship to the end that the result environment serves useful and enjoyable purpose.
Landscape Architects offer diverse landscape architectural services which primarily serves residential, commercial and government agencies. Landscape architects have considerable expertise in the area of park an resort recreation design, commercial beautification, irrigation design, community resource planning, urban and regional design, environmental planning and management.
The areas mentioned above offer an overview of the range of activity and services offered by landscape architects which are inclusive of:-
- Analysis Services
- Feasibility Services
- Site Selection and Utilization Analysis
- Design and Planning Services
- Contract Documentation and Administration
Landscape Architects are employed by clients who may be private individuals firms, business, corporations or by public agencies. Landscape architectural firms sometimes form collaborative associations to offer full service work on projects. This would involve temporary partnership between two or more firms for a specific project. They may sell their services to other firms as consultants.
Why Use a Landscape Architect
- To save on the risk of spending money without sacrificing the quality of work
- Enhance the value of your property with relatively low inputs
- Rationalization of your outdoor space through sound design and planning principles
- Conservation and improvement of the natural environment
Professional fees are not necessarily high and are usually calculation on a time basis or as a percentage of the projects cost depending on the nature of the project. The division of services and fees is clearly stated in advance of project commencement.
The Landscape Architects’ Chapter was formed in 1989 after almost 10 years of deliberation by the AAK. From its earliest days the chapter was fortunate to have the support of Mr. Ruben Mutiso who worked tirelessly to smooth the way of formation and create recognition for the profession.
Since its formation the growth of the chapter has been slow due to the fact that not many universities offer Landscape Architecture degree in Africa. The small group of practicing landscape architects in Kenya does, however undertake a wide range of different types of work from landscape planning, environment impact statements and education to urban design, commercial and residential landscape design.
In recent years, the Chapter of Landscape Architects and the profession has experienced a changed in its role and development. Development has mainly bee at the Association level where our members have actively taken part in the very real process of restructuring the AAK. This was a concerted effort by all the AAK members Chapters.
Although Landscape Architects practice their profession in this country without legal constraint, it is important for the profession to begin laying foundations for a regulated system of conduct. This is in anticipation of a time when there will be many of us practicing and so the need for order in a structured environment. The regulatory aspects of the profession must be address now for the future so that laws governing the practice are put in place to ensure the profession remains scrupulous in its practice and conduct.
The landscape architecture is a little known profession, but this definition by Garret Ecko serves to illustrate how it fits with some of the other building profession under the umbrella of AAK.
Landscape architecture is the design process which makes it possible to control completely the quality of our gardens, parks, neighborhoods, communities and regions. Planning provides a diagrammatic control of land use and circulation, architecture and engineering provide the structural network of buildings, utilities and traffic-ways, which house the most detailed and refined social processes; landscape architecture organizes all the open space between and immediately around these elements, ties up the loose ends trailing from them, completes the three dimensional pattern and continuity of our physical surrounding and establishes a direct recreational relationship between man and nature.
It is obvious therefore that Landscape Architects’ are urgently required in Kenya to address the many environmental problems and conflicts inherent in our rapid developments.