I love walking through my urban neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska, on early spring mornings. Although it is nestled between main arterial streets, I am enveloped in nature through thoughtful design. The rising sun penetrates areas of the urban design landscape that fade into the shadow as the day progresses. During these glimpses of new activity, the tiniest hints of color enliven a world still enshrouded in winter slumber.
Small details can have the biggest impact on a design. They can make a difference on the personal aspect of our environment and pull people in with anticipation of the next new element. Small details can provide intimacy and warmth in otherwise large landscape architecture plans and urban design.
This is not, and cannot be, a recipe for success across the diverse regions in which we live unless we learn and experience the details for ourselves. We must think about those things that don’t always find a place in the larger scope of purpose. We should strive to embrace the differences in seasons and character in ways they pertain to our landscape architecture plans.
5 suggestions for implementing details include:
- Observing changes over time;
- Noting colors and textures;
- Understanding local climate;
- Studying topography, soil, hydrology, and aspect;
- Inventorying native and adapted species.
Big landscape designs aren’t always monumental, but rather are built from interesting and intimate details. Showy elements can attract, but features that stimulate curiosity, reflection, and warmth promote appreciation and value, developing more meaningful space.