The land is a canvas and your yard is your own personal work of art. Landscaping our plots of land to become aesthetically pleasing is a practice that goes back thousands of years – before even the first English rose garden or French hedge maze. Researchers across the world have studied when, why and how landscaping became a common human practice.
What Is Landscape Archaeology?
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have made it their goal to shape the landscape into a more accommodating environment to use for whatever they see fit. The study of this seemingly strictly human phenomenon is often called landscape history or landscape archaeology. Researchers use archaeological techniques and practices to determine how humans physically changed their environment to fulfill their needs, either for survival or aesthetics. How humans manipulated the landscape informs researchers of the cultural practices and societal hierarchy of the period, allowing scientists to not only study how humans accomplished this feat, but also why they did it in the first place.
The landscaping we know today was not widely used until hundreds, perhaps thousands of years after the dawn of civilization. In fact, the practice was originally utilized for agricultural purposes as hunter-gatherer societies began to settle down and farm to survive. These clans and villages adapted their farming practices to the regions in which they settled, allowing their agriculture to prosper and grow.
With the success of these farming communities and a surplus of food, humans increased their population, requiring even more land to be used for farming and livestock. This rapid expansion of humanity produced the world’s first civilizations, which thrived by changing the land to accommodate their needs.
Whether it was clearing a forest to allow for open pastures for livestock or digging irrigation channels to grow crops in dry environments, human ingenuity sculpted the land into whatever was required for prosperity.
Gardening and landscaping for aesthetic purposes came along with the emergence of the great ancient and classical civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Persians and Romans. Developing enclosed outdoor areas for ornamental design and planting became a hallmark of wealth and power.
These ancient gardens showed off the status of their patrons with exotic and meticulously designed plant-life and water features. Often, gardens and landscaped areas were used as settings for teaching, studying or philosophical musing alone or with others. Throughout the rise of monarchies and dynasties, landscaping was used to decorate the civilization’s most important buildings – temples, churches and palaces. Some civilizations such as the French, Spanish and Italians even constructed landscaped public parks.
Cottage-style gardens and landscaping became popular in the 18th century with the dominance of the English and French landscape gardens. In this way, any homeowner with a small plot of land could enjoy a small garden of their own. With the emergence of the middle-class suburban lifestyle in the mid-20th century, lawn and garden landscaping became a status symbol and “keeping up with the Joneses” was expected.
This personal gardening and landscaping practice has carried through into the 21st century, where style and design have changed, but yard upkeep has not diminished in importance.
Enjoy a Beautiful Yard from Landservices, Inc.
Let Landservices, Inc. construct your dream landscaping escape. With our experienced landscaping professionals, you can enjoy a lawn and garden that stands the test of time with classic and elegant design. To learn more about our landscaping services, contact us online or call 503-644-8575.