Landscape Architecture major

The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) at the University of Delaware is a professional degree program that provides undergraduate students with specific competencies for leadership within the profession of landscape architecture including the knowledge, skills and abilities required for successful practice. 

Key subject areas include plants and ecosystems; communications; site design and engineering; design, planning and management; public policy and regulations; computer applications; natural and cultural systems; sustainability; history, theory and criticism; professional practice; professional values and ethics; creative problem solving, art, business, math and science.

The landscape architecture major at the University of Delaware evolved from the Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC) Department’s long established and respected landscape horticulture and design program.

From 2006-2012, many faculty members had been working to establish a Master’s program in landscape architecture, but in 2012 Dean of the CANR Mark Rieger commissioned a focused educational survey which suggested that a Bachelor’s program was more feasible than a Master’s program. The conversation promptly switched to the creation of a Bachelor’s program instead of a Master’s.

In April 2015, Dr. Jules Bruck convened a focus group of professional landscape architects for a one-day workshop to help establish a relevant curriculum for a new Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture (BSLA) program. After the curriculum was developed, the program proposal was sent to the University and approved by the faculty senate in the spring of 2016. 

That following September, the BSLA program, a First-Professional Degree Program, accepted its first class of 24 students and has been expanding its size and scope ever since.  In 2020, the degree was changed to a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and the program earned its initial six-year accreditation in December

It is the preference of the BLA program that students use a PC system, as this is the platform used to teach introductory computer-aided design and is the platform required to run most of the software used in subsequent BLA courses. Learn about computer requirements for the BLA major.

Please email Dr. Jules Bruck with any questions.

The landscape architecture faculty conduct research in a wide variety of areas.

Photo headshot pf Associate Professor Harsh Bais
Harsh Bais Associate Professor of Plant Biology
 302-831-4889

Dr. Bais's rhizosphere biology research is focused on understanding the biological significance of root exudation. Root-root, root-microbe, and root-nematode communications are continuous occurrences in the rhizosphere, but due to the underground nature of roots, these intriguing interactions have largely been overlooked. His lab research is taking a multidisciplinary approach by interfacing plant biology and chemistry to unravel the underground communication process.

Headshot photo of Dr. Carmine Balascio
Carmine Balascio Associate Professor of Water Resource Engineering
 302-831-8872

Dr. Balascio works in the areas of low-impact development, stormwater management, urban hydrology, and hydrologic modeling. Dr. Balascio works to manage the cycles of water, the problems caused by storm water, and the quality of water in urban areas in conservative ways that affect the ecosystems in the least intrusive fashion. Dr. Balascio also researches the assessment of problem-based student learning and teaching with technology.

Headshot photo of Eric Bardenhagen
Eric Bardenhagen Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
 302-831-1388

Dr. Bardenhagen is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture who teaches "The Built Environment Studio," which is an introduction to principles involved in the design and installation of landscape elements: stone, brick, concrete, wood and metal.

Headshot photo of professor Sue Barton
Sue Barton Professor and Extension Specialist, Ornamental Horticulture
 302-831-1375

Dr. Barton investigates roadside vegetation management strategies that enhance the environment, are aesthetically pleasing, and economically sound. She promotes sustainable landscape practices through a variety of publications in the Plants for a Livable Delaware series, series of brochures that educates Delawareans on plants that will easily survive in Delaware’s climate, help build more healthy ecosystems, and not become invasive species.  

Headshot photo of Professor Jules Bruck
Jules Bruck Director of Landscape Architecture
 302-831-1373

Bruck is a registered landscape architect who created the UD Coastal Resilience Design Studio, which aims to reduce the risk of flooding on the coasts and mitigate the hazards that coastal flooding poses to coastal communities. Her scholarship includes design-based learning, creativity, and public perception of sustainable landscape practices like designing to support improved ecosystem services. She also researches and designs green infrastructure for community redevelopment and recently extended that research into coastal resilience.

Headshot photo of Professor Erik Ervin
Erik Ervin Chair and Professor, Turfgrass and Horticultural Systems
 302-831-3902

Physiology and ecology of turfgrass responses to abiotic stresses and the use of synthetic and natural plant growth regulators for improved stress response.

Adaptation (variety and germplasm evaluation) and cultural management (irrigation, fertility, mowing, cultivation) requirements of cool- and warm-season turfgrasses used on golf courses, lawns, parks, athletic fields, and roadsides.

Ecology and adaptation of native grasses and forbs for pollinator meadows in the mid-Atlantic.

Photo headshot of professor Jeffry Fuhrmann
Jeffry Fuhrmann Professor of Soil and Environmental Microbiology
 302-831-1371

Dr. Fuhrmann investigates the ecology and diversity of microbial populations in soil-plant systems, microbial community responses to environmental perturbations, effects of soil-borne viruses on microbial communities and rhizobia, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

Headsho photo of assistant professor Tara Trammell
Tara Trammell John Bartram Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry
 302-831-1387

Dr. Trammel is an urban ecologist whose lab studies how interactions with humans and the consequences of human society affect urban ecosystems’ structure and function. She investigates how collections of trees and plants that grow within cities respond to threats such as pollution and invasive species, and how these urban forests provide ecosystem services to the inhabitants of the city.  

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Anna Wik Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
 302-831-1439

A registered landscape architect with experience in urban design, community engagement, and historic and cultural landscapes. She is passionate about equitable design and is interested in historical, social and cultural influences upon the urban landscape. Other research areas include outdoor learning environments and their effectiveness, productive landscapes such as edible forest gardens, and strategies of coastal resilience.

Zach Hammaker Adjunct Professor
 610-716-0832
Nicholas Jabs Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture
Rodney Robinson Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture
Beyond Burle Marx group photo

Students choose many different pathways and interest areas. The PLSC BLA allows students the flexibility to obtain a minor and further develop their skills in the interest areas of their choice. Many students find work doing what they love – whether that is designing and planning ways to make the environment more sustainable or researching ways to preserve or conserve historic landscapes, the career options for landscape architects are plentiful. To see the many interest areas of current practitioners, visit the ASLA Professional Practice Networks website

Penn University Insignia

The fellowship provides a pathway for talented undergraduates to pursue their graduate education by offering financial support to assist with the cost of tuition. As potential fellows, top UD applicants to PennDesign’s Department of Landscape Architecture will receive special consideration each year to pursue either a master’s or a dual graduate degree.

Philanthropic support for students through the comprehensive campaign, Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, will greatly help expand resources to fully prepare and support our landscape architecture students, including through partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s highly respected and cutting-edge landscape architecture master’s degree program.

To grow this partnership, the college seeks graduate scholarship support that will help financially support Blue Hens accepted to Penn’s master’s program, after gaining their undergraduate foundation in landscape architecture at UD. Donor support will greatly help further the landscape architecture program’s vision to fully provide for students, expanding opportunities for our CANR Blue Hens achieve their professional goals. Read more on this prestigious collaboration

The BSLA program contributes to the community by engaging students in service learning projects.  The program seeks to expose students to the most pressing issues of our times through relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, and participation in both local and national conferences. The semi-annual student-run symposium allows students to actively network and develop relationships with practitioners while honing their leadership skills.

As students engage in active learning in studio courses and complete a required internship, they develop their capacity to creatively and successfully solve problems while advancing critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

We collaborate regularly with local, state, and regional partners on conceptual designs for projects ranging from urban design, to coastal resilience, to landscape management and master planning. If you are interested in interacting with our students in a visioning or conceptual design project, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in a Landscape Design Community Partnership, please contact Anna Wik and fill out the questionnaire.

In recognition of the impact of the landscape architecture profession on public health, safety, and welfare, states regulate landscape architects through licensure. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is a group designed to spread the importance and legitimacy of the field of landscape architecture. One of the society’s main functions is to ensure that all programs comply with externally mandated minimum standards via their Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), the official accrediting body for first-professional programs in landscape architecture.

UD's BLA program is accredited.

Every other year, the landscape architecture juniors spend six months planning and executing a professional symposium.  The past two symposiums have been held at Delaware Center for Horticulture.  The programs are found below.  Here is a link to the 2019 symposium, including a list of sponsors. 

Here are what some of the attendees said, "It was my first time attending and I was very impressed with the student’s work and the event as a whole.  Having a local event with such great speakers if wonderful.  It is also always great to see local colleges who I don’t get to speak to as often as I would like."

The landscape architecture students conduct research in a wide variety of areas. 

Landscape Architecture Program: Senior Capstone reports

Coastal Resilience Design Studio

Graduate research - coming soon.

Course highlights

This studio course provides a basic understanding of digital representation techniques commonly used in the site design process. Instructors cover production of construction documents (including plans, sections, and details), 3D modeling, conceptual renderings, presentation drawings, and digital portfolios. The course focuses on common software programs, including AutoCAD, Sketch Up, and Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. In addition to gaining basic skills in these programs, students learn workflow techniques and graphic conventions used by landscape architecture and engineering professionals.

The focus of this studio course is on understanding the role of site in the design of landscape architectural spaces. The studio investigates how landscape narratives construct meaning as students explore elements, process and forms in designed spaces. This work includes an exploration of spatial and sensory patterns and conditions found within large scale landscape sites. The semester emphasizes observation and analysis as design processes intended to deepen our understanding of these sites prompt authentic, contextualized responses.

This studio course is a hands-on investigation into the vast array of materials and methods that are commonly used in landscape design and construction. Through practical exercises, students will learn the drafting and graphic communication skills typically used in construction documentation. Topics include statics and mechanics of simple structures; properties and procedures of wood, masonry and concrete construction; construction sequencing and adoption of sustainable materials and methods. Construction observation field trips and development of a small construction document package will be undertaken. Active participation in a hands-on team construction project will also be included.

This advanced studio focuses on the role the landscape architect can play in the creation of the just and sustainable city. The landscape architect is well positioned to make connections between the human, the natural, and the historical systems that exist in the urban context. On a macro level, the designer can analyze the city through mapping of social, ecological, and circulatory patterns. On a micro level, they can conceive of and implement dynamic green spaces, functional ecosystems, and welcoming streetscapes that provide great benefits to communities. Through the projects and material covered in this course, the student is invited to develop solutions that simultaneously mitigate some of the issues and take advantage of the opportunities that the city presents. Over the course of this semester, this studio transitions in focus from the macro to the micro scale.

This capstone design course imitates the scenario of an emerging professional landscape architect working on a design in industry or student entering graduate school. Defining what problem they would like to solve, students initiate a project. They work with community partners to define the project program and develop a design that meets the needs of the site and user. Instructors give flexibility to produce a senior project for a graduate school portfolio. Industry partners are consulted for project ideas and critiques. By the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the value of creative problem solving and have an opportunity to apply concepts to an actual site.

Instructors cover stormwater quality and regulatory considerations. Students study stormwater control measures for sustainable and low-impact development in urban and suburban settings. The objectives of this course are to apply knowledge of hydraulics and hydrology for design of the key components of sustainable storm-water management systems — surface drainage, bioswales, bioretention basins and filtering and infiltration practices.

Student Testimonials

Related Student Organizations