The ASLA Planting Design PPN seeks to broaden landscape architects’ horticultural knowledge by promoting greater awareness of issues related to plants and planting design, including horticultural as well as ecological concerns. This specialized area of landscape architecture practice includes planting design theory, growth requirements of plants, plant nomenclature, plant selection and procurement, nursery production, and ecologically sustainable plant use. In addition to broadening knowledge about plants and planting design among ASLA members, an important goal of the Planting Design PPN is to increase understanding and collaboration between landscape architects and horticulturists, nursery professionals, and environmentalists.
The common thread that links the environments we design as landscape architects is plant materials. The common philosophy that guides the selection of plants for these environments is planting design ecology.
Our repertoire of trees, shrubs, ground covers, and grasses provides the extensive and complex base of ingredients we use to manipulate the spaces around us. We improve living conditions for humans, protect and balance the habitats of wildlife, and prevent the deterioration of the aesthetic environment with the proper selection and placement of plant materials. It is important, therefore, to begin a study of the elements of planting design with the processes of plants as they occur in natural spaces.
Elements of Planting Design, Richard Austin, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2002, at 2.