1st Edition

Landscape Architecture as Storytelling Learning Design Through Analogy

By Bob Scarfo Copyright 2023
    320 Pages 177 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    320 Pages 177 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book introduces students, practitioners, and laypeople to a comfortable approach to learning landscape architectural design free of design jargon and derived from their existing knowledge. A step-by-step process has readers consider their knowledge of language as metaphorically related to basic design and landscape design. Through information delivery and questioning processes, readers build on what they already know, their tacit understanding of language as applied to problem solving and storytelling. Everyone is a storyteller.

    Taken one step at a time through a three-tiered analogy of language, basic design, and landscape design, readers learn the makeup and role of such design features as points, lines, planes, volumes and sequential volumetric spaces that make up their worlds. With that, in a sense, new world view, and numerous questions and examples, readers begin to see that they in fact daily read the environments in which they live, work, play, raise families, and grow old. Once they realize how they read their surroundings they are helped to recognize that they can build narratives into their surroundings. At that point the existence of authored landscape narratives finds readers understanding a design process that relies on the designer-as-author, landscape-as-text, and participant, user-as-reader. That process has the reader write a first- or second-person narrative, visually interpret the written narrative into a storyboard, and turn the storyboard into a final design, the physical makeup of which is read by those who participate in it.

    1. Three-tiered Analogy  2. Typology  3. Points  4. Lines  5. Planes  6. Volumes and Volumetric Spaces  7. Narrative  8. Authoring a Landscape Narrative  9. Storyboarding: turning words into images  10. Ethics in Landscape Architectural Design Practice


    Bob Scarfo, BLA, MLA, and PhD, is an Emeritus professor with Washington State University. He is a registered landscape architect in Washington and Massachusetts. Landscape Architecture as Storytelling is a dream come true, one he looks to share through invited workshops and talks.

    Front cover watercolor by Ken Spiering, sculptor, artist.

    Front cover layout by Robert Parton, designer, illustrator.

    "Landscape Architecture as Storytelling deftly delves into the neglected realm of narrative in the landscape; a principle once practiced by masters from Le Nôtre to Olmsted. Today’s designers can benefit from a design approach embedded in storytelling to create intimate and impactful experiences for site users; and Scarfo provides the tools to return narrative and experience to the forefront of design."
    Benjamin George, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, Utah State University

    "When designing a campus master plan, aquarium, zoo, or nature preserve, understanding the ‘narrative’ first is key to identifying the kinds of experiences we are trying to create. Equally critical is making that narrative visual. Storyboarding, as an iterative process early on in design, helps us quickly conceptualize key experiences and fun learning moments, share them with our clients and various stakeholders, and through that collaborative effort help ensure a project’s desired outcomes are achieved. Landscape Architecture as Storytelling clarifies and strengthens that narrative, storyboard, and design process."
    Gregg Leicester, ASLA, Principal, LEED Green Associate, USA

    "The Analogy meets beginning students where they are, advocates narrative tools familiar to them, and enlarges their design and planning ability through use of Scarfo’s coherent design method. It offers students what landscape architect Garrett Eckbo called 'know-why,' in addition to 'know-how.' This knowledge leads to articulate, empathetic design and communication with diverse clients and users."
    Joan H. Woodward, Landscape Architecture Professor Emerita, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and author of Waterstained Landscapes: Seeing and Shaping Regionally Distinct Places