This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Garden Project: Reclaiming the Garden as an Intimate Connection to Place




Hendry, Molly

Type of Degree

Landscape Thesis


Landscape Architecture


The garden is a relationship. It brings humanity into tension with nature, creating an assemblage of shared moments over time. The Garden Project is exploring the potential of the garden in the modern profession of landscape architecture. The garden is often not a part of the critical discourse in the current profession. Although gardens are being designed, they are not seen as a powerful tool for addressing the environmental challenges facing the future of the landscape. The Garden Project is asserting that the garden is more relevant in this age than ever before. The garden is poised to bring a society that is detached from the surrounding world back into a direct relationship with place. Many of the current issues of modern society are born out of our consumer culture, which demands instant gratification with the least amount of effort. The garden stands in direct opposition to personal detachment by requiring both time and effort. Through an investment of time, the garden yields a relationship that not only speaks to the genius loci, the spirit of the place, but also the genius animi, the spirit of the soul. The key to activating genius animi is to infuse the design with a series of qualities that can evoke emotional engagement from a person in the garden. The Garden Project explores three qualities: light + shadow, movement + pause, and ephemerality + fixity. Each quality is explored by interrogating how they can be manipulated to achieve a certain effect within the garden. The findings of the study culminate in a manifesto, calling the profession of landscape architecture to reclaim the garden as a valuable tool for forging a personal connection to place through the humble moments of a garden.