Designing Plant Communities

Legibility in Design, Diversity in Function

From Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West.

From Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West.

Understanding the distinction between design and functional layers is crucial to balancing beauty with function. Aesthetically pleasing design can be highly complex and diverse. Designers have great flexibility to create patterns or dramatic seasonal moments with plants in the design layer; all the while, the less visible plants in the ground layer provide diversity and ecological function. Our mantra for planting design is to create legibility in the design layers and diversity in the functional layers.

From Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West.

From Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West.


Taken from Planting in a Post-Wild World © 2015 by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. Used by permission of the publisher