5 Broad Purposes of Landscape Design

Defining the purpose of landscape design is a redoubtable undertaking, as it requires synthesizing the many explanations of the phrase that seems as vastly different as the number of landscapes. So much so that presenting a summary of outdoor design philosophies becomes a bewildering task. To simplify matters, however, I have placed the different approaches into one of five categories.

At its most basic level, landscape design serves nature. The writings of most landscape designers include concepts related to sustainability, ecology, and natural preservation. This aspect of environmental design is concerned with issues such as insuring proper drainage, preventing soil erosion, creating an outdoor milieu that will last through time — as did the natural setting before man altered it — and more poetically, being “responsive to the nature of the site.”

At a more abstract level, most but not all landscapers talk about bridging the gap between man and nature. Some planting designers employ contrasting language to describe this function. One artisan mentioned combining culture and nature. Another refers to the reconciliation between man and nature. Another designates the purpose of landscape design as blending “manmade buildings into the natural setting.” Another nature artist talks about “blending man’s technology into the natural setting.” An Islamic environmental designer describes the need to maintain “fluidity between internal and external space.” While some outdoor site planners give equal importance to culture and nature, some give more weight to one or the other. On the side of nature, one site designer describes the need to strengthen the client’s “sense of connection to nature.” Another emphasizes the importance of “deepening the connection between people and their land.” On the side of technology, some practitioners see nature as serving man-made structures. From their perspective, landscapers should ensure “a beautiful setting for a building,” “protect the home from the wind,” or in the words of another planner “create a beautiful environment around the building.”

Many environmental engineers emphasize the artistry inherent in their profession. A Harvard trained landscapist calls nature a palate with which she creates her works of art. Reading about what the various practitioners have to say you will find numerous references to “creating beauty.” In practicing their craft, some designers focus more on the beauty in nature and talk about, “evoking the beauty of the natural world.” Others, like the Harvard trained landscapist, focus more on creating a work of art and describe what they do as creating a “manifestation of art that can be lived in and enjoyed.” The two views, however, are not mutually exclusive. An Islamic landscaper revealed that artistry is only one of the means she employs. While using “the principles of art and beauty” in her work, she is first and foremost guided by the religious principles found in the Koran.

Some designers focus extensively on the client’s perspective. They describe this aspect of their work with phrases such as “expressing “the client’s vision,” evoking the beauty of the natural world in ways that are “responsive to the… client,” or considering the landscaping ” needs of the user.” At the same time, many designers emphasize the practical benefits their work bestows upon clients. These boons include “providing the necessities of modern living;” providing “comfortable seating, scenic and seasonable variety, practical areas for family leisure, child play, entertainment, play space;” “shaping the land for people to use and enjoy;” “giving occupants a healthy breath;” and “creating an inviting and soothing atmosphere.” A few landscape designers, such as Michelle Derviss, focus on the importance of evoking a strong emotional response in visitors to their sites. In designing her projects, she wants to engage “all the senses and creating an emotional response within the garden setting.” Her goal is to “inspire the heart, imbue the senses, and inspire the eye of the beholder.”

Finally, some landscapers, such as the Islamic designer Emma Clark, see landscape design as transcending all of the fore mentioned considerations and serving a religious purpose. She uses Islamic teachings to bring out the “spirit of the place.” However, she emphasizes that her goal is to bring out a spirituality that is innately present in the spot, a landscape that is “totally at home in its environment.” In like manner some site engineers create gardens that serve as sanctuaries or places of meditation and contemplation. In this regard they offer a retreat into nature such as Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about in “Walden.” But perhaps they have progressed beyond the man machinery conflict found in Walden in that their intelligent retreats are engineered by the landscape designer to provide sanctuary within the context of modern living.

Responsive Design Tips for Website Developers

In order to prevent an expensive and laborious redesign process, it is essential to make the design responsive right away. More people are using mobile to accesses websites. With this being said, it is vital to design websites that adapt themselves to multiple platforms with variable screen dimensions to give the user a dynamic feel.

It is important to deliver a speedy, practical, and compatible experience to mobile users. The key is to focus on the overall performance from the very beginning of the design.

Issues at Sketch Phase

To deal with initial sketching issues, a developer can sketch a responsive design for all web pages and apply it to the most accepted tablet and mobile screen dimension. Involving a client in the design phase to share information regarding re-flow of design on devices can help the developer. This aids in the confusing stage of prototyping design elements, their organization, and reorganization based on variable device dimensions.(1)

Content Quality

This applies to any website and whatever device is used to view it. Users are looking for valuable content. Keyword stuffing and cross linking pages is a thing of the past, since search engine spiders have become smarter in deciding which websites have useful and valuable content. It is important to focus on the quality of content and check how users are going to access the content in the prescribed design format. Content should be flexible so that it can adjust according to the device.(2)

User Friendly Navigation Tools

With different levels of complexity in websites, it can be difficult for users to navigate smoothly across web pages. Studying the levels that data is presented in a website and the value of that particular website for a buyer helps a designer in making user friendly navigation options. This can be further cross-checked across physical devices to check user experience in relation to navigation.(3)

Flexible Images and Responsive Tables

It is essential that developers postpone the load time of images that do not fall in direct view range of a user to make sure graphics on a high pixel compact device do not get blurred and in-congruently scaled. This helps optimize the browser. Designing images that can accommodate changes in screen dimension enhances user experience without compromising on visual quality.(4)

Similarly, making smaller tables can be replaced by pie charts. Using limited content and colorful tables, instead of columns with limited horizontal scrolling, prevents tables from appearing complex and puzzling over a mobile device.

No Compromise on Information

Complicated websites with sophisticated search options, huge data sequences, layered forms and tables, and control panels with third party information involves too much information load for a smaller device. Users do not like to compromise on information content just because the device is mobile. Information on a mobile website should never be reduced to mobile size because this might lead to user frustration. Thorough optimization is possible by setting priorities and removing unwanted redundant elements. For example, navigation option off-screen or different content area that appears in a new window section and providing link to the full site on mobile version.(5)

Faster Load Time

Load time of websites over a mobile device can be enhanced by ensuring conditional loading of only specific information. The focus should be on enabling the loading of content first, followed by graphics, and then other aspects of the website. Only specific components that are critical in conveying the message should be kept. Conditional loading enables future modification of the site with great ease, as various options for scalability and image caching are used.(6)


A responsive site has to depict robust functionality and intricate design components across multiple devices. With that being said, the design process, development cycle, and testing process is a long journey. Allowing a responsive design to advance and evolve on its own in a gradual manner is a suitable option compared to doing a complicated renovation and revamping process.

Polyfil Plugin for Older Versions of Internet Explorer (IE)

In order to ensure that older versions of Internet Explorer browsers display efficiently, developers should modify page layouts based on screen size through JavaScript, and use the polyfiller plugin that provides the facilities not built into the browser. A polyfil code provides the technology that a developer expects a browser to provide locally. For example, web pages can utilize HTML 5 for versions of IE older than 8/9 which do not support HTML 5 by installing a polyfil. (7)


It is essential to express the benefits of a responsive design to clients to initiate this type of development process. Making a client understand that a responsive design is more interactive and useful to its multi-device functionality and availability across a greater customer base. It can reduce the cost of redesign and modification in the future.

Emphasis of the designer should be to enable a responsive design in order to appeal to the audience base and enhance user experience for a greater advantage.


(2) Bleiel, Nicky. “Making content flexible with responsive design.” July 2014. TC World Website. 27 January 2015

(5) Fernanado, Divi. “Responsive vs Adaptive Design: What Fits Better Your Needs?” 24 November 2014. WooRank Website. 27 January 2015

(1,3,4,7) Strelchenko, Kirill. “10 Responsive Design Problems and Fixes.” 13 November 2014. UX Magazine. 27 January 2015

(6) Thomas, Jacqueline. “10 Tips to Get You Started with Responsive Design.” 12 August 2014. UX Movement Website. 27 January 2015

Explore the Process With an Engagement Ring Designer

If you’re turned off by cookie cutter engagement rings, consider buying your jewellery piece through an engagement ring designer. It’s no secret that the glass display cases found in most retail stores are full of mass-marketed, machine-made products. Once upon a time, if you wanted to buy someone a token of affection, you would visit a small jewellery retailer that offered a unique selection of handcrafted bespoke pieces. Today, the growing market trend towards the artisan engagement ring designer reflects a return to this old-fashioned sensibility and renewed demand for distinctive, irreproducible pieces suggests that more couples are seeking customized ring designs that defy typical conventions. If you find yourself feeling the bespoke vibe, here are some tips on how you can get the best possible ring for your dearly beloved.

Go to the Source

If you see a designer’s work at a jewellery store, liaise with a salesperson and get in touch with the designer. Otherwise, you can search online or get referrals for designers from friends and family. After that, let your eyes and heart do the choosing.

If you’re cold-calling a designer, inquire about their style, their professional affiliations, where you can see their work (maybe they have a boutique store or a website), and how long they’ve been in business. If they pass the phone test, meet them face to face. Visit the store and handle the rings in person. Is the ring you’re considering carefully and skilfully constructed?

When you speak with the engagement ring designer or salesperson, make sure that you will feel comfortable and confident working with them. Stand by your ideas but also listen to their input, as they know what doesn’t work on a ring, no matter how amazing it looks in your imagination.

Don’t Rush

Start the search process early. You should typically allow six weeks for delivery of the ring once it has been ordered. Not only will you need time for ring research and to find a designer you like and trust, but consider too that finalizing the ring’s customisation may require some back and forth dialogue and hence more time. A bespoke ring takes considerable time to hand-assemble, especially when features like personal engravings are added.

Protect Yourself

If you’re working directly with an engagement ring designer, ask what guarantees are offered. Be sure to get everything in writing should contract disputes come up later on. For instance, to help ensure that the final piece matches what you envisioned, have the designer sign a piece of paper that lists the elements you agreed would be included (I.e. purity of metal, details of setting, gemstones etc). Verify in this contract the deadline delivery date as well as the price. If the engagement ring designer is supplying the stone, make sure it is accompanied by a quality grading report, or else have it appraised before being set. Be certain that your ring’s appraisal report (which you’ll need in order to get it insured) notes that the ring is custom designed. This will affect the replacement value set by your insurance company.