Landscape Architecture Theory

Cover with abstract painting of green plants on white background.

Paperback - April 2017 - AU $54.99

Re-examines the fundamentals of the field, offering a new approach to landscape design.

For decades, landscape architecture was driven solely by artistic sensibilities. But in these times of global change, the opportunity to reshape the world comes with a responsibility to consider how it can be resilient, fostering health and vitality for humans and nature. Landscape Architecture Theory re-examines the fundamentals of the field, offering a new approach to landscape design. + Full description

Drawing on his extensive career in teaching and practice, Michael Murphy begins with an examination of influences on landscape architecture: social context, contemporary values, and the practicalities of working as a professional landscape architect. He then delves into systems and procedural theory, while making connections to ecosystem factors, human factors, utility, aesthetics and the design process. He concludes by showing how a strong theoretical understanding can be applied to practical, everyday decision making and design work to create more holistic, sustainable and creative landscapes.

Students will take away a foundational understanding of the underpinnings of landscape architecture theory, as well as how it can be applied to real-world designs; working professionals will find stimulating insights to infuse their projects with a greater sense of purpose.

- Short description


Paperback | April 2017 | $ 54.99
ISBN: 9781610917513 | 336 pages | 229 x 152 mm
Publisher: Island Press, USA
Illustrations, Photographs


Part I: Substantive Theory
Chapter 1: Substantive Theory
Chapter 2: The Biophysical Landscape
Chapter 3: The Human Landscape
Chapter 4: Design Purpose
Chapter 5: Design Form
Part II: Procedural Theory
Chapter 7: Design Process
Chapter 8: Problem Definition
Chapter 9: Design Collaboration
Chapter 10: Design Thinking


Michael Murphy was a professor of landscape architecture at Texas A&M University from 1969 to 2012, and served as head of the landscape architecture department from 1989 to 1991. Dr Murphy has extensive experience in both practice and teaching, also serving as department head at the University of Pretoria. In earlier work he held appointments as urban designer and ecological planner on large-scale landscape assessment, planning and design projects at Chris Mulder Associates Incorporated. In his teaching and practice he has been particularly interested in ecological design, and in programming as a means of integrating the talents of multidisciplinary planning and design teams. He has undergraduate degrees in rangeland ecology and landscape architecture from Texas A&M, a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and PhD from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Since his retirement from teaching he has been involved in landscape restoration in the hill country of central Texas.