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.

2019 – 2020 Course Lists

2020 Spring L ARCH Courses

2020 Winter L ARCH Courses + Other Courses of Interest

2019 Autumn L ARCH Courses + Other Courses of Interest

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.

Winter 2020

L ARCH 353 History of Modern Landscape Architecture
MWF 11:30–12:50, honors section F 11:30-12:50 | Maria Taylor
5 credits, VLPA / I&S + Writing (SLN 16152)

What makes an urban landscape modern? A great public park? An inspiring work of landscape art? This course will explore the history of gardens and landscapes as designed, built, critiqued and used in diverse cultures and places, in particular the differences and continuities relevant to the 20th Century’s division of “capitalist” “socialist” and “developing” worlds. We will begin in the late 19th century period of industrialization and modernization by examining the first parks designed for the public, and work our way up to the “post-industrial” parks and landscapes of the late 20th century. We will study small gardens that inspire the poet and large nature preserves, as well as city plazas, corporate roof gardens, and the neighborhood park.

L ARCH 361 The Human Experience of Place
TTH 10:00–11:20 | Lynne Manzo
3 credits, VLPA / I&S + Diversity (SLN 16154)

This course brings together the social sciences (psychology, geography, anthropology and sociology) and the design disciplines (landscape architecture, architecture and urban planning) to provide a richer understanding of the human experience of place. Starting with foundational theories on place attachment and place identity, we will also explore our relationships to nature, landscape perception and cognition, safety and environmental design, urban change and gentrification, community development, and urban public space.

flyer for Perceptions of Nature course (text is featured on the site)L ARCH 498/598C Perceptions of Nature Seminar
W 5:30-8:20pm | Laure Heland (
3 credits (SLN 23239)

There is a current trend to design green environments and infrastructure in dense cities, which claim to be “natural” or “representing nature.” What is the “Nature” that designers and planners are referring to—and for what purpose? Is Nature a pristine condition in an untouched environment, or can it be a hybridization of human and natural systems? How do such definitions and perceptions impact both professional approaches, and the public acceptance of new design idioms? Through lectures, readings and discussions, this class will explore various perceptions and definitions of Nature associated with experience of places and projects of green infrastructures.

poster for floating wetlands workshopL ARCH 498/598K Floating Wetlands Workshop
Leann Andrews (andrewsl@uw.ed)
1-2 credits

Get hands-on experience preparing, constructing, and deploying experimental floating wetlands! Floating (or constructed) wetlands are a highly efficient ecosystem restoration technology that can be used to retrofit degraded urban shorelines and provide a wide variety of wetland ecosystem services to improve water quality and conserve wild fisheries.

This unconventional class consists primarily of Saturday field work. Students meet for 2 classroom lectures, 1 field trip, and 6-7 field work shifts. Field work shifts are on Saturdays, will take place outdoors, and involve light construction and physical labor.

1. Lectures

Friday 1/10 9:30-10:20 am
Friday 2/28 9:30-10:20 am

2. Field Trip (required)

Saturday 1/11 8:00-noon

3. Field Work Shifts (at UW or on site at Duwamish River)

Students will choose six-to-seven 4-hour shifts on the following 8-hour Saturdays (exact times TBD): 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29, 3/7.

For more information, contact Leann Andrews at

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