I am a landscape gardening student and have been asked why the word landscaping is used and its origin. Does anyone know?


Landscape - The visible features of an area.

Landscaping - changing the visible features of an area to be more pleasing.

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Wikipedia covers the origin of the word landscape.

Land is fairly obvious and the Wikipedia entry goes on at length about the origin of "scape". Here's a snippet.

On the suffix -scape:

'Landscape' is distinguished from 'land' by the suffix -scape, which is equivalent to the more common English suffix -ship.[3] The roots of –ship are etymologically akin to Old English sceppan or scyppan, meaning to shape (Merriam-Webster dict.2000. This suffix designates "something showing, exhibiting or embodying a quality or state"; as such, it generates an abstraction upon the term landscape. The suffix -ship thus designates the abstract ‘‘nature’’, ‘‘state’’ or ‘‘constitution’’ of something; these words are interlinked both as abstract essences (e.g. the nature or constitution of something) and as concretized and institutionalized entities (e.g. nature, the state, a constitution). The suffix -shaft and the English -ship are cognate, meaning essentially "creation, creature, constitution, condition).

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The word landscape has been explained in the other two answers, but have a look at the work of Capability Brown - he changed landscapes on a major scale, creating hills, dales, lakes and suchlike, transforming the original landscape into something altogether different. He did, though, work mainly under the direction of a Landscape Architect - so that makes Capability the 'landscaper' because he carried out the works. That's landscaping on a major scale, but creating a rockery and planting, or terracing with hard materials changes the landscape to a degree. Landscape gardening is somewhat different from simply being a horticultural student, or a garden designer, although all may include landscaping aspects, in particular, designing. The official dictionary definition of landscape gardening is "the art and practice of laying out grounds in a way which is ornamental or which imitates natural scenery".

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  • Capability Brown did some pretty amazing and long lasting stuff. Definitely one of the heavies in the field. – Fiasco Labs May 26 '14 at 17:45
  • Better get to know Frederick Law Olmstead...He is the father of Landscape Architecture. An amazing human that all Americans should know. nps.gov/frla/historyculture/index.htm – stormy May 26 '14 at 18:13
  • In what way does this answer the question? – J. Musser May 29 '14 at 20:42
  • @jmusser: to whom is your query directed? – Bamboo May 30 '14 at 11:53
  • @Bamboo Your answer doesn't say why it's called landscaping. – J. Musser May 30 '14 at 16:57

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