Understand Nature

To the physical planner, nature reveals itself as the eternal, living, formidable, yet beneficent setting for every project and plan. It is essential to the success of our efforts that we come to know and understand nature.

Just as a hunter is at home with nature—drinks of the springs, uses the cover, hunts into the prevailing winds, knows when the game will be feeding on the beechnut and acorns of the ridges and when on the berries in the hollows; just as he senses the coming of a storm and instinctively seeks out shelter; and just as a sailor is at home on the sea, reads the shoal, senses the sandbar, interprets the sky, and observes the changing conformation of the ocean bottom—just so must planners be conversant with all facets of nature, until for any major tract of land, local building site, or landscape area we can instinctively recognize the natural characteristics, limitations, and fullest possibilities. Only by being thus aware can we develop a system of compatible relationships.

John Ormsbee Simonds, Landscape Architecture: The Shaping of Man’s Natural Environment  (1961)

John Ormsbee Simonds

Arts in advance

At all times the arts of painting and sculpture have been in advance of that of architecture. The reason for this is simple; architecture, mother of the arts though she may be, is cumbersome. Buildings must serve a purpose, and that purpose is usually traditional; they are made of involved and complex materials; they pass through many hands during the long period from the creation of the idea to completion; and upon the completion they cannot be put under glass and are subject to the whims of the owner. If this appraisal applies to architecture, it applies still more to landscape design.

Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe, Landscape from Art (1961) 


Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (1970)