We offer a wide variety of courses and are receiving increasing recognition for our leadership in the use of innovative teaching methods in studio courses, research on emerging landscape design issues, and community-building services.

Our courses integrate the development of core design skills with our research, teaching and service focus on urban ecological design. Highlights include:

  • Culturally-based place making, through design build studio, cultural landscape, and community design studios
  • Ecological infrastructure through natural processes, ecological planning and design, and landscape technology studios
  • Design for ecological literacy in all coursework
  • Participatory design in advanced landscape architecture and interdisciplinary studios

The University of Washington Course Catalog provides a general description for our courses. See below for recent and current course lists. Contact for course syllabi.

2020 – 2021 Course Lists

2020 Autumn L ARCH Courses + Other Course of Interest

2019 – 2020 Course Lists

2020 Summer Courses of Interest

2020 Spring L ARCH Courses

2020 Winter L ARCH Courses + Other Courses of Interest

2019 Autumn L ARCH Courses + Other Courses of Interest

Summer Courses

L ARCH 498b Landscape Literacy

Full-term | Tuesday/Thursday 10–11:20am
Jennifer Engelke
Course Flyer

It is crucial for planners and designers to engage site users through design allowing them to form meaningful connections with the land. In this advanced seminar, we will study lenses of ecological literacy, ecological placemaking, and environmental storytelling and delve into strategies for effectively incorporating them into design. Through readings, research, and discussion, we will: a) discover educational opportunities, personal connections, and stories that landscapes tell us, b) identify designed landscapes that reveal past histories, present conditions, and future possibilities, and c) explore approaches used to encourage landscape literacy and demonstrate ways to promote it within our own designs.

L ARCH 407 Fairytales of the City Summer Studio (BLA and MLA students only)

A-Term | June 22–July 23 | MTTh 1–5pm
Mackenzie Waller,
Course Flyer

Explore urban theory, creative writing, illustration, and design. Inspired by the Fairy Tales design competition (, this month-long design studio tackles real world issues with creative abandon.

The Fairy Tales of the City Studio asks students to re-interpret ‘the City’ through a strong narrative lens. A fairy tale is intended to provide a memorable and clear lesson to its readers. How can a design narrative provide a moral of, about, and for the City? What extraordinary story could frame or identify untapped potential solutions to contemporary urban problems?

Students will select a city that they have personal experience and re-envision a fairy tale (800-1400 words). They will integrate traditional orthographic drawing types into five graphic illustrations to expand upon and beyond their fairy tale narratives.

Autumn 2020
Courses for non-majors and special topics

L ARCH 212: Designing the Future

MWF 10:00–11:20 | Keith Harris
3 credits, VLPA / I&S (SLN 16935)

How do landscape architects and other designers shape our cities, our lives, and our futures? Through fieldwork, hands-on activities, research, and discussion, this course explores innovative and interdisciplinary design thinking and practice that addresses critical human issues from the local to the global scale.

L ARCH 300: Intro Landscape Architecture Design Studio

MWF 1:30–5:20
6 credits, VLPA (SLN 16937)

This studio provides an introduction into the methods and practice of integrating landscape architectural design into urban environments. This is a heavily collaborative class in which students work closely with instructors and one another to discuss, observe, and design local environments.

L ARCH 341: Site Design and Planning

TTh 10–11:20
3 credits, VLPA (SLN 16939)

“Site design and planning is the art and science shaping the places we live and work. Its aim is foundationally moral and aesthetic: to enhance everyday life. This course serves as an overview of the varied issues, scales, land uses, and contexts of site design and planning.”

L ARCH 352: History of Landscape Architecture

MWF 11:30–12:50
5 credits, VLPA / I&S + Writing (SLN 16940)

A critical and historical analysis of the breadth of landscape architecture as idea, art form, experience, place, and practice. How do we read designed landscape, particularly in an urban context? How has the design of landscape reflected ideas about nature, culture, and cities throughout history? How has the role of designer manifested in design of landscapes across cultures, places, and history?

Courses for non-majors and special topics
Spring 2020

L ARCH 322 Intro to Planting Design
MWF 11:30–12:20 | Kristi Park
3 credits, VLPA (SLN 15758)

This course explores design thinking through the medium of plants. Because they are living, infinitely varied, and malleable, plants are a fascinating medium with which to design. Online presentations replace lectures freeing class time for discussions, in-class design exercises, guest lectures and campus field trips. Two larger design projects replace midterm and final exams. Students will study aspects of planting design ranging from the creation and use of space to urban ecological design. No prior knowledge of plants, space, drawing, design or ecology is required but a willingness to explore the topic, think afresh, and work hard is essential.

L ARCH 363 Ecological Design + Planning
Asynchronous / Flexible | Brooke Sullivan
3 credits, NW (SLN 15759)

Ecological challenges that arise due to phenomena of urbanization require designers to develop innovative and practical solutions to improve the health and well-being of people and the planet. Success in ecological design and planning In this course, students will develop both theoretical and practical skills from the arts and sciences and problem-solving thinking required to adapt to environmental conditions we face in the 21st century and beyond.

L ARCH 423 Plant ID + Management
Asynchronous / Flexible | Brooke Sullivan
3 credits, NW (SLN 21196)

Plants and the soil in which they grow are the living materials that form the foundational palette from which landscape architects work to design and manage landscapes. Learn to identify plants, their ecology and understand their maintenance requirements. Provides students with the opportunity to gain insight into the field of botany, biological complexity of plants and their structural contributions to urban ecology.

L ARCH 454 History of Urban Landscapes: Street Trees and Smokestacks
MWF 11:30–12:50 | Maria Taylor
5 credits, Writing (SLN 15764)

Explores the history and historiography of urban landscapes and the design of cities with an emphasis on urban industrialization and urban afforestation, and the influence of each on the development of urban ecological awareness from the early nineteenth century to the present-day. The environmental history of specific cities will be considered in the context of broader global histories of industrialization, urban environmental design, and urban cartography.

L ARCH 498/598G Design As Activism: Exploring Pathways & Toolkits
Jeff Hou (jhou@uw.ed)
3 credits

The field of planning and design is experiencing a surge of interest in design for transformative social and environmental outcomes, broadly defined as design activism. Unlike conventional practice, design activism seeks transformative impacts beyond the typical scope and approaches of professional work. In landscape architecture education, this growing interest has been reflected in recent award-winning student projects as well as student initiatives. The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s (LAF) New Landscape Declaration, with a strong focus on social and ecological justice, resilience, and democracy, is also indicative of this growing interest.

Given the pressing challenges facing the planet and the society, is the current model of design education providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a proactive practice? What are the appropriate tools and methods for design activism? Building on the work of an ongoing Landscape Architecture Foundation Fellowship project, the goal of the seminar is to produce a resource guide for tools, methods, and practices, to be disseminated to national and international audiences. In producing the guide, we will explore concepts and precedents of design activism, techniques for teaching, practice, and community engagement, and case studies of emerging practices that push the boundaries of the profession.

*This seminar fulfills the Socio-political Dimension of Design Selective for MLA students.

2018 – 2019 Course Lists

2019 Summer L Arch Course List & Other Courses of Interest

2019 Spring L Arch Course List & Other Courses of Interest

2019 Winter L Arch Course List & Other Courses of Interest

2018 Autumn L Arch Course List & Other Courses of Interest