Soil in Landscape Design

This elective course will cover the characteristics of soils in natural as well as built environments, giving as much emphasis to the biological aspects of soil formation as to its chemical and physical composition. Lectures will cover a range of topics including soil formation, structure and development, drainage issues associated with construction, plant nutrition, and planting strategies and techniques. In the course of four field trips, the class will visit various sites in the Boston area where soils have been manufactured or modified to fit specific landscape situations. Students will gain experience in the processes of taking soil samples, interpreting soil test results, amending soils, writing soil specifications, and developing appropriate plant lists. Finally, the class will examine the latest design applications and technical specifications for landscape soils in a variety of contemporary design situations, including roof gardens. The course is seen as an extension of GSD core courses in earthworks, plants, and site technology. It is intended for landscape architects, urban designers and architects but welcomes environmental studies, engineering and design students from Harvard College and MIT.