There is a growing demand for designed landscapes — from public parks to backyards — to be not only beautiful and functional, but also sustainable. Truly sustainable landscapes work with natural processes to sustain life with minimal inputs and to be resilient in the face of change. But, until now, there has been no straightforward guide to creating such landscapes.

With “Principles of Ecological Landscape Design,” landscape architect Travis Beck gives professionals and students the first book to translate the science of ecology into landscape design practice. This groundbreaking work explains key ecological concepts and their application to the design and management of sustainable landscapes. Beck makes these concepts more accessible with numerous photos and figures, as well as by drawing out guiding principles as section headings.

“Principles of Ecological Landscape Design” covers topics including biogeography, building plant communities, avoiding invasive species, integrating animals, and dealing with climate change. Beck draws on real world cases where professionals have put ecological principles to use in the built landscape, highlighting particularly effective examples throughout the text.

Forward-thinking landscape design requires not only carefully considering the needs of individual plants, but also planning holistically. We stand to benefit greatly if we can successfully incorporate ecological principles into the design of our landscapes: we can reduce their need for water and maintenance, increase their ability to clean air and water and protect soil, and build resilience, even in urban areas. By designing with an eye to ecosystem services, we can integrate our growing cities with the natural world.

For constructed landscapes to perform as we need them to, we must get their underlying ecology right. “Principles of Ecological Landscape Design” provides both the inspiration and the practical tools needed to do just that.

Travis Beck is Landscape and Gardens Project Manager with the New York Botanical Garden. He is a registered landscape architect and LEED Accredited Professional with a Master’s degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University.


Principles of Ecological Landscape Design
By Travis Beck
Island Press Paperback and E-Book
296 pages | Price: $ 40.00
ISBN: 978-1-59726-702-1 (P)