The History of Landscaping
The first instances of landscaping include the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, way back in 600 B.C. Considered one of the 7 wonders of the world, these gardens were created by King Nebuchadnezzar for his sickly wife, who missed the plants and flowers of her homeland in Persia.
Mayans lined walkways leading to their temples with intricate plants and flowers, the Romans created courtyard gardens within the boundaries of their properties for the enjoyment of their family and friends, and royalty would plant profuse amounts of flowers and trees as a symbol of their wealth. In the 17th century in Jamaica, slave plantation owners would line the walkways to their mansions with Royal Palms. Throughout history, landscaping was used as a sign of not only beauty, but also wealth, power and respect.
Hardscaping is the use of the terrain itself, or rocks and stones brought in from other places. Nowadays it’s mostly just rocks and stone walls for aesthetics, but hardscaping was also used for practical purposes. The most obvious example of this is the Great Wall of China. Qin Shi Huang unified all the states of China in 221 B.C. and to block invasions from the Xiongnu people in the north, ordered that the wall be built to help protect his new borders from enemies. Of course in this case hardscaping was completely utilitarian.
Another example of hardscaping is the mystical Stonehenge of England. The mystery of these rocks is that though they are in England now, they actually came from Whales, which means that the builders somehow transported these rocks over 200 miles. This has led to many theories of everything from aliens to astronomical miracles. Most likely these creators were just very dedicated (or well-paid) individuals committed to finishing the product.
Nowadays, from the San Joaquin Valley of California to New York’s Hudson Valley, landscaping and hardscaping are now used for personal homes and commercial businesses as a way to improve the quality of peoples’ physical surroundings and to give a sense of nature in an increasingly material world.