Soil in Landscape Design

This course will cover the fundamentals of natural and human influenced soils and the effect of different soil conditions on landscape design, planting installation, plant growth and tree preservation. Building on a foundation of soil characteristics and plant response to different soil condition the course will cover site soil surveys, assessment and interpretation, soil modification, design, detailing, specification, installation and testing. This will include texture, drainage, aeration, irrigation, soil volumes and amendments. Specific areas of study will include the design of rooftops, urban streetscape/ plaza conditions, large site modifications, structural planting soils and sustainable soil issues in a variety of climate types. The course will also cover planting techniques and installation details for a variety of plant types and discuss issues related to soil protection and large tree preservation during the construction process.The course will be a lecture/workshop format with several field trips and hands on analysis of various soil problems.ObjectivesTo teach the importance of understanding the dynamics between soils and plants particularly at urban sites, and to provide the landscape architect with the skills to make informed soils and plant decisions within the design process such that the resulting planting portion of the project will be successful.1. Introduce the fundamentals of soil science by discussing the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils.2. Explain how soil supply plants and how plants interact with soils.3. Describe the difference between urban soils and undisturbed soils and develop strategies to overcome the problems to plant growth that are caused by urban soils.4. Describe methods of soil assessment and how this information can be used in landscape architectural problems.5. Describe the soil design, specification and installation process.6. Introduce fundamental arboricultural principles and how tree and plant growth are impacted by soils.7. Describe various nursery and landscape planting practices and the link between these practices. Soil conditions and long term plant success.8. Describe tree preservation techniques at construction sites to preserve the soils structure and root systems of trees.