Story: Landscape architecture

Landscape architects design outdoor spaces, from domestic gardens to city waterfronts and large urban areas such as Auckland’s Aotea Square.

Story by Kerryn Pollock
Main image: Pukeahu National War Memorial Park design

Story summary

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Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor spaces, from domestic gardens to large public parks.

Garden design and landscaping before the 1930s

Most people made their own gardens and only a few, generally owners of large houses, employed garden designers in the 19th century. Alfred Buxton was one of the leading garden designers in early 20th-century New Zealand. His company designed gardens for individuals and local councils.

The emergence of the landscape architect, 1930s to 1960s

Swiss-American Fred Tschopp lived and worked in New Zealand from 1929 to 1932, and has been described as New Zealand’s first landscape architect. He designed large parks and recreational facilities in Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua, and was one of the first to use native plants in public spaces.

Other landscape architects in this period included Odo Strewe, originally from Germany, Mary Lysaght and Anna Plischke.

Modern landscape architecture, 1960s to 2000s

The first courses in landscape architecture were taught at Lincoln College (later Lincoln University) in 1969. In the 2000s degrees in landscape architecture were also offered at Unitec (Auckland) and Victoria University of Wellington.

The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA), the professional body for landscape architects, was formed in 1973.

In the 1970s and 1980s most landscape architects worked for local councils or central government. In the 1990s more started their own companies. Most major work still comes from councils and the government. This has included redesigning waterfronts and the redesign of central Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake.

Many landscape architects try to make their work environmentally sustainable and often use native plants.

How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Landscape architecture', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 June 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 22 October 2014, updated 26 March 2015