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The History of Gardens and the Evolution of

the Environment

Elena Micoulina

There exist a number of fundamental of the fomnation of the garden image,

works on the history of the art oflaying since this image will be the expression
out parks and gardiens which give an of an attitude towards nature ata given
excellent picture of the subject based stage in the development of civiliza-
on a comparison between contempo- tion. An "image" in landscape architec-
rary works and works belonging to the ture is something specific to its own
different stages in the development of field.
which they are the final outcome. How- AlI landscapes, whether natural or
ever, in such books the finished gardens artificial, create a certain aesthetic im-
are considered independently of the pression, either an accidentally fonned
progressive changes made by man in image or one intentionally designed by
his treatment of the naturallandscape. an artist. Taken together, the individual
When analysing this approach one may images of actuallandscapes will serve
compare it with that adopted by some to give a general picture of the man-
researcherstowards certain well-known made or agriculturallandscapes of their
architectural works. which used to be period. And the original creation in
viewed as though they existed inde- garden design will be either a reflec-
pendently of the immediate townscape, tion of various aspects of this contem-
wherea$in reality the history of a town' s porary landscape or a rejection of them.
development will fumish the clue to ln their tum, the existent gardens of
better understanding of the changes in original design win conectively pro-
its composition and the inclusion of duce an overall image of the gardens
new town-planning features and new characteristic of a given school in a
structures. given age.
ln this respect, landscape architec- Different creative approaches to the
ture theory hasnot kept pacewith town- environment win produce different
planning theory , since it contiunes to be general images, each with its specific
basedon the study of individual works. features. ln the process of historical
We are in need of a single theory of park development, each approach has been
and garden design enabling us to deter- embodied in a number of styles.
mine, for each period in history , the An objective analysis ofthese differ-
relation between the individual workof ent types of collective or general image
landscape architecture and the man- and their emergence under given his-
~;: made landscapeand environment. Such torical conditions can provide an effec-
a theory would involve an investigation tive instrument for an understanding of
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Elena Micoulina

the laws of garden design. great monuments of the past created by

If .we take the general imag,e as a the brotherhood of peoples of the USSR.
criterion when classifying our s1Jlbjects This policy provides us with extensive
of research, we can cover the problem opportunities for preserving and restor-
on a broad scale and draw comparisons ing works of landscape architecture as
between garden design as it developed monuments of the past which, in view
in different countries and under differ- of their particular nature, are also in
ent natural and historical conditions. fact a part of our country's national
The adoption of this method 'by no resources.Their rational utilization bas
means involves rejection of other ap- become especially important in that
proaches to classification and analysis, they offer us a substantial amount of
least of all those based on the general spacesuitable for use by the public for
laws goveming the formation of style rest and recreation. However, this her-
in architecture and in garden-design itage of works of landscape architec-
and on the public role and functions of ture is no less important as a factor in
gardens. But in analysing garden-de- the reconstruction of towns and areas,a
sign in thelightofthe transformation of task Dow assuming ever-increasing im-
the environment from one period to portance. The principles established in
another we are discovering new and this paper may be applied in this latter
more generallaws. field both to the planning itself and to
The method of research adopted the theoretical research connected with
consists in systematic comparison of it.
the use made of natural surroundings I. Processes in the Formation of the
(i.e. the formation of the man-made Environment as reflected in the Art
landscape) with the same process as of Garden Design
reflected in the.theory and practice of It shoulcibe noted that there are signifi-
garden-designing. Individual works cant differences between man's per-
were chosen for analysis in thelight of ception of a natural landscape and bis
their importance in the general picture perception of a landscapemade by man.
of development. Quite apart from other The impact of a naturallandscape is
considerations, this bas made possible a matter of overall perception of what is
an exploration of the process by which first and foremost an assemblage of
certain images periodically recur and diverseand sometimescontrastingtypes
the discovery of the reasons for this offeature.Only some man- made land-
phenomenon. scapesoffer a harmonious impression
.The practical significance of this pa- (one of the reasonsbeing the adaptation
per derives from the nature ofprlesent- of individual features to suit given pur-
day tasks in connection with the preser- posesinstead of treatment of the land-
vation of the historical and architec- scapeas a single whole). Hence one of
tural heritage. Ever since the Soviet the most important tasks in the creative
statecameinto existence, the party and sectorof the landscapearchitecture field
the Government have steadily pursued- bas always been harmonization of sur-
as they are still doing today-a policy of roundings and the creation of a con-
conservation and ration al utilization of certed unit y conciliating conflicting
the country , s natural resources, and
protection of its historic heritage of ln the presentpaper we haveattemped
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to show four different approachesto the the surrQundings of an architectural
visual aspect of garden-design, based work -a further extension of the build-
on four initial principles namely: ing and a means of giving it a special
I. creation of a landscapein accordance distinction and importance.
with the laws of architectural com- The functions of the architectural
position. garden are as varied as those of a build-
2. organization of a landscape on the ing. Most surviving works oflandscape
basis of a visible rational principle architecture belong precisely to this
(deriving from its productive func- group.
tion). It might be weIl here to list the gen-
3. direct reproduction of the natural eral features of gardens of this type:
features of the landscape (primarily a. Dominant role of architectural struc-
its vegetation). tures and members in the composi-
4. representation of an existent land- tion of the whole.
scape, either real or imaginary . b. Particular attention paid to varia-
Having listed fout conceptions of tions in level as the most "architec-
garden design, we are now in a position tural" aspect of the landscape; al-
to ask a number of ,questions: . most exclusively decorative use of
a. Do all these approaches equally ex- water for accentuating aspects of the
press an objective process of reflec- architectural design.
tion of the environment in the artist's c. Disregard of the natural properties
creative consciousness? ofvegetation, except insofar as veg-
b. Aie all of them equally prornising etation is amenable and adaptable to
from the point of view of further artificial, architectural shapes.
development of the creative outlook d. Use of the same principles oflayout
in landscape architecture? and spatial composition for external
ln order to answer these questions it as for internaI space.
is essential to analyse the history of e. Predominance of the "non-produc-
landscape architecture as the history of tive" principle in the composition of
the general image of the garden asit can the garden and its systern of visual
be ascertainedin its variations from age effects.
to age. Such an aIialysis may be based The second type of garden is treated
on a certain number of works of land- as an ideal version of a cultivatedplot;
scape architecture forming part of the a harmonious combination of human
international heritage and on historical effort and natural forces produces an
records describing works belonging to impression of equilibrium as a basis for
a variety of periods. the visual image of the garden.
2. The general Image of the Garden It is possible, with the ad of the
at different stages in history surviving gardens and the available de-
The "architectural" type of garden scriptions and pictorial records, to list
design was basedon mathematicallaws the following features as generally
as expressedin the system of architec- characteristic of gardens of this type:
tural proportions adopted. The garden a. Layout involving a number of sepa-
was thought of as a medium for serving rate plots, thesizeandshapeofwhich
certain essential purposes, primarily were dictated by economic or by
recreation. At the saInetime it provided agricultural considerations.
b. Existence of an individual "water artificial ponds or canaIs imitating
factor", since the system of use, and natural rivers or lakes and providing
hence the plan, of the garden de- suitable conditions for the growing
pended entirely on its water supply of plants.
c. Paying of more than usual attention
and drainage system. to the natural peculiarities of the
c. Use oftrees as standard elements in
the design of the spatial structure of vegetation. which it is eamestly
sought to preserve notwithstanding
the garden.
d. Isolation of each plot from the rest differences in environement.
d. Attempts at achieving the illusion of
("gardens inside the garden") and of
the garden as a whole from the area greater size. combined with appar-
ent isolation (for example: planting
outside. along what looks like the boundary
e. Subordination of the recreational to
of a "wild forest... dense .hedges.
the utilitarian function (for example,
provision of seats in the shade of a etc.)
e. Predominance of decorative func-
vine or fruit-tree, etc.) tions. apparent in the zoning. the
A third type is the "naturaI" garden,
choice of locations for planting. and
based on the preservationof nature or
its re-creation by direct reproduction of the attempts at "disguising.. the more
natural features. This is considered to un attractive plots.
The fourth approach is based on the
be the most recent type of garden it
idea that a garden is an imitative work
developed as a reaction against the
process of urbanization and the subse- of art.
quent worldwide exploitation of natu- We may say that such imitativeness
raI resources. There are practically no is particularly to be found at periods
when the direct connection with proto-
surviving gardens of this type dating
types has been lost. The gardens of this
from remote periods in history .Doubt-
type have their sourcesnotin nature but
less those artificial landscape which
in conventionally romantic painting. or
were created on an analogy with exist-
ent onesand under the samenatural and sometimesin literary descriptions.They
may be designed on one of two differ-
climate conditions frequently "dis-
solved" into their surroundings, while ent principles. each involving a given
those laid out in unfavourable sur- attitude towards movement in space.
They may either fo11ow clearly traced
roundings proved to be short-Iived,
quickly lost their "naturaI" aspect and itineraries. each offering a succession
of views. in which case they are per-
perished. ceived as a seriesof pictures. or else the
The general principles und,erlying
the characteristic appearance of such movement may be free. in arbitrary
gardens may be outlined as follows: directions. so that the spectatorviewing
the whole composition seesa vllCetyof
a. Useofvegetationasthefactordeter- combinations of volumes and spaces.
miningthegarden'sappearance, with
Despite the formaI diversity of such
plants grouped either on the princi-
gardens. there are a number of general
pIe of recreating those combinations
principles determining their system of
which exist in nature,or else with a
view to colour effects. construction:
b. Composition as a whole centred on a. Underlying their composition there
The History of Gardens and dIe Evolution ofthe Environment

is a complicated scheme of move- periods in history , the fonner process

ment dictated either by the layout of cornes to be reflected in the latter. We
the walks or by the garden' s orienta- are visibly in the presence of two regu-
tion in space. larphenomena fully in keeping with the
b. There are no clear divisions which laws goveming the reflection of reality
might suggesta deliberately planned in art, i. e.:
and harmoniously composed park or I. New processes by which the land-
garden. scapeis altered, each of which marks
c. There is no central feature in the the beginning of a period in the his-
design, whose architectural elements tory of man's influence on his envi-
are treated as parts of a spatial ronment, necessarily find their artis-
structure basedon contrasts between tic expression in the fonn of out-
solid volumes (banks, large tree- standing works of garden design.
covered areas, clumps of trees) and 2. Such works do not generally appear
empty spaces (stretches of water, until a few decades after the intro-
clearings, paved areas.) duction of the new processes in
d. They are designed as enclosed areas question.
inside park fences, to avoid interfer- This second phenomenon is prob-
ence with their imitative character ably to be explained by the fact that a
on the part of a reallandscape outside. certain period of time must elapse for
e. Their appearance has an artificial there to be general awareness of the
character deriving from idealized, changestaking place in the environmet
literary notions of nature and reality and for an attitude to emerge in thec
which contrast with the nature and mind of the public.
reality of the real world. Man-made landscapes created as a
A historical analysis will show that result of the adoption of new-found
creative landscape architecture has processes have occationally been 10-
continued to develop in accordancewith cated in the immediate vicinity of gar-
these four trends, which exist dens, but more often they have been
simulaneously. The trend which will totally separate. The further develop-
dominate in any given country will be a ment of society has often accelerated
matter of the conditions of its historical changes already in progress or brought
development, its specific natural fea- direct changes in existent landscapes.
tures and landscape and the peculiari- Yet even the most "mobile" man-made
ties of its national culture, while their landscapes, which have changed over
influence on one another has a positive and over again to suit new require-
effect, one cannot replace another, since ments, have always evolved, at each
each equally reflects given laws gov- stage, in the light of the conditions
eming utilizationof the environ ment. existing at the preceding stages;in other
3. Comparative analysis of the His- words, each landscape has had its own
tory ofGarden Design and ofChanges history as a developing phenomenon.
in the Landscape. The notion of "historic landscape"
If we compare the processof graduaI has thus emerged within the context of
emergence of a man-made landscape the history of landscape architecture
with the development of original gar- and its emergance reflects the exten-
den design, we will find that, at aIl sion of the scope of research on the
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Elena Micoulina

evolution oflandscape in the course of the remains of the gardens of the coun-
history. try residencesofMarkovo and Kryvitsy.
Bach historic landscape, like any Ry analysing the above mentioned
other historical monument, embodies four groups -each of which is charac-
in a special way and bya special proc- terized by a given type of general aspect
ess a givenstage in the development of -and viewing them in the light of the
society. Under the heading of "historic development ofhuman use of the envi-
landscape" we may in fact include not ronment, it has been possible to work
only historic gardens but a great many out a classification for aIl gardens of
other historical monuments or monu- original design. This is intended to
ments of the past. embrace gardens of aIl types,whatever
The gardenslaid out in the past have their natural surroundings, climatic
always had a given spatial relationship conditions and related urban layout.
to the surrounding landscape. their size and function or their period.
This could be of two sorts: For purposes of logical classifica-
a. The garden was a focal point, an tion one single criterion was adopted,
embodiment of the essence of the namely, relation to the environment.
surrounding landscape and its struc- Tomeet this requirement, itwas neces-
tural centre, deriving its characteris- sary to leave aside any attempt to view
tic appearancefrom the peculiarities the development of garden design as a
of its surroundings; reflection of the development of archi-
b. The gardenwas an element designed tecture. and any analysis of form and
to contrast with its surroundings, in aspe~t in architecture and garden de-
which case its appearancewas a re- sign according to period (Renaissance.
flection oflandscape or architectural baroque, classical, etc.).
features which had little in common 4. Influence of the historical herit-
with these. age on the formation of modern
Where a park or garden is laid out attitudes.
round a farmstead, the influence of the Roth in the academic and the practi-
surrounding fields remains clearly vis- cal sense,the historical heritage in the
ible. With rare exceptions, thisis troe of field of garden design is being treated in
almost all Russian gardens, irrespecti- an essentially new way. Research and
vely of the group they may belong to. planning are for the most part con-
All of them -kolomenskoye, cemed with the protection and restora-
Lefortovo, Archangelskoye andthe rest tion of existing historic gardens.
-were initially laid out in the light of The listing and classification ofhis-
their visual relationship with their sur- .
toric gardensare done in different ways
roundings. according to country ; the cri teria for the
Russian gardenslaid out in the vicin- assessmentof their importance and state
ity of towns were regarded as focal of repair, as weIl as the method of
points in the generallayout which de- approach to their restoration and pro-
termined the spectator's spatial percep- tection, also vary from one country to
tion of the entire historic townscape. the next. However, there is one central
An example of this is the section of the document -the world List of Historic
Moscow river valley as seen in con- Gardens drawn up by the ICOMOSI
junction with the town ofBrofifiitsy and IFLA Commit tee for Historic Gardens
-which can be regarded as a basis for an ture, extension of scale, or omission of
analysis of the surviving gardens of the certain details of the decoration, the
past. result being a new general appearance
AlIlandscapes, including works of distinct from the original one.
landscape architects, are moving and The appearanceof any work ofland-
unstablethings. They constantIy change scape architecture is, we have said,
with the passing of time, taking differ- something unstable.The perception and
ent forms, and "ageing". Changes in interpretation of the appearanceof any
deliberately designed landscapesoccur concrete phenomenon will vary as a
in the course of their natural develop- result of physical changes, social and
ment and as a result of the dying-off of economic reorganization and the evo-
their vegetation. AIl existent works of lution of ~ublic opinion. As a result,
landscape architecture have lived -de- this appearanceas it were finds a life of
pending on their age -through five or its own and can influence the subse-
six different stages in the history of quent development of landscape.
their vegetation. The more stable fea- A particularly important aspect of
tores -water, and the physical features historic gardens has always been their
of the ground -will u ndergolesschange, role in the improvernent of aesthetic
but they too are governed by the natural standards in landscape planning.
laws of graduaI change in landscape. Frorn an analysis and study of the
As a result, the garden seen by each peculiarities of the development of gar-
successivegeneration is somewhat dif- den design as seen in the vast field
ferent from that seenby its predecessor. covered by those gardens which have
The process ofadapting a--gardento . corne down to us, wehave been able to
new types of use regularly involves draw the following conclusions;
substantial alterations. These may be a. The present -day outlook of the
divided up as folIows: designer should involve a radically
a. radical alteration with a view to a new conception of the heritage of
deliberate change in appearance or parks and gardens, suited to bath the
composition. theoretical and the practical tasks of
b. interference due to the put ting up of the present day.
new buildings on the site. b. The characteristic appearanceof any
c. alterations due to the building of garden of original design is always
roads and the creation of public utili- the outcorne of given solutions to a
ties. nurnber of special problems con-
d. changes due to an increase in the nected with the treatment of nature;
number of visitors. this is clear frorn a retrospective
The most complex problem relating analysis of those historic gardens
to general appearanceis that of restora- still in existence.
tion or reconstruction of the individu al c. The historic gardens of each period
work. One may find quite a number of are in a given style in the history of
works whose characteristic appearance architecture corresponding to a given
has been altered through restoration, use of space. Taken together they
and this is a constantly growing ten- provide a historically-based general
dency today, typica1 aspects of which image of the garden as designed at
are simplification of the original struc- that period.

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Elena Micoulina




d. Present-day histories of garden de- g. At the present stagein thehistory of

sign do not give a description of the landscape aichitecture and the de-
objective development of the vari- velopment of its theoretical basis it
ous creative trends -a development is Dot enough merely to analyse the
which will naturally be irregular -but design of the individual work, or
describeonly its individu al phasesin even that of a whole series. The
their respective historical and social attempt must be made to discover
contexts, and it is these individual the principles determining its ap-
phases which primarily attract the pearance, which will be a reflection
attention of researchesrs. This ac- of its role in the ~evelopment of
counts for the tendency to concen- attitudes towards art and towards the
trate on individu al gardens and to environment.
underestimate the correlation be- h. The historical period under review
tween the development oflandscape has seen the development of four
architecture and the treatment of the main trends in landscape
natural Landscape,while at the same architecture.These four trends will
time underestimating the extent to emerge most convincingly ifwe ex-
which that naturallandscape is amine a few outstanding works of
steadily transfonned by the hand of garden design in conjunction with
man. the lesser gardens of the same peri-
e. A typical feature of art history re- ods which we might calI their
search -including research in the satellites.These minor gardens will
history oflandscape architecture -is reveal the general trend more clearly
the tendency to concentrate on indi- than will single works isolated from
vidual works of the past. In this way their historical context.
a work acquires as it were a static i. Eachof these four trends is charac-
image "preserved" in a theoretical terized by a given idea of what a
universe, whereas in the mind of the garden shold be, which is expressed
public and in contemporary archi- in the quintessential image of each.
tectural practice it has acquired a We thus have the architectural gar-
new life. den, the ration al garden, the "natu-
f. It is impossible to make an objective raI" garden and the imitative or "pic-
assessmetof the artistic value of a turesque" garden. AIl four are based
work oflandscape architecture with- on objective principles of treament
out making allowance for the fact of nature and harmonious correla-
that its appearanceis something un-- tion between nature and man.
stable,that it undergoeschangeswith j. If we accept this thesis of the si-
the passing of time as a result of the multaneous existence of these four
purposes it is made to serve. the trends in garden design we can dis-
alterations occurring in its surround- cover a correlation between the
ings and the changes in the ,attitude process of utilization of man-made
of the public; its appearancewill be space amd the general manDer in
determined by the fact that jt forms which it is reflected in the garden as
part of the general image belonging a work of art. Hence historical and
to the works of its particular cat- theoretical researchin garden design
egory. may help to solve present-day prob-
78 '"'
lems rela-ting to the rational forma-
tion of the environment.
k. There is a close connection between
historical analysis of the laws gov-
erning the creation of visual effects
in landscape architecture and the
forecasting of their future develop-
ment. It is possible to picture the
development of landsape architec-
ture as a continuous and permanent
process, belonging to the past but at
the same time oriented towards the
future. When seen as a part of this
process of development each indi-
vidual garden or group of gardens
acquires a new significance asa cen-
tre which, at a given moment in
history, has been the focal-point of
the man-nature relationship.

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