LAR 347K / LAR387K  

Creating sustainable, healthy, and culturally meaningful landscapes requires an understanding of plant biology and ecology. Living Systems I forms the foundation for this understanding by investigating the relationships between plant ecology and the use of plant materials in design. Students will gain a working vocabulary of plant materials, including plant morphology, the relationship of plants to soil and hydrologic processes, plant communities, successional patterns, population biology, and species competition.

By the end of the course, students should be able to identify a minimum of 150 native and adaptive plant species and have a working knowledge of their use in sustainable site design and ecological restoration. The course will include lectures, hands-on activities, online work, and field studies. Visits to local landscapes, including the LBJWC, will provide the opportunity for learning in the field as well as how plants are utilized as a means of design. 

The dynamic nature of plants and their use in the design of managed landscapes will be explored through sketching, orthographic drawings, temporal studies, detailed site observations, fieldwork, and case studies.


  • Demonstrate how interactions between biotic and abiotic elements of the environment define an ecosystem.
  • Understand the role of plant biology and plant ecology in the creation of sustainable, healthy, and culturally meaningful landscapes.
  • Understand how to apply the concepts of plant biology, ecosystem function, and ecosystem services to inform a site assessment and appropriately integrate plant communities within a designed landscape


Landscape Architecture


Fall 2023