The Landscape Code

The Hedgerow Landscape Code is a simple recipe for making a beautiful landscape.

A “landscape” is composed of three things:  Buildings, Land, and their Layout.  In a Hedgerow Landscape:

  • Buildings use traditional local styles, elements, materials. Buildings  have an old-fashioned intimate feel.
  • Land is organically farmed using local flora, traditions and styles, to create dense patchworks of fields, orchards, gardens, ponds, woods, etc.  Simple elements are combined in infinitely varying combinations depending on local conditions.
  • Layout.  The land and buildings are combined in a people-friendly way, with village squares, local shops, shady trees, cafés,  markets.

We apply the Landscape Code using common sense.  To each guideline is an implied “where possible and where it makes sense” – which is why they are called “guidelines” and not “rules”.  The goal is to be simple and practical.

The Landscape Code is very broad.  It can be implemented in an infinite number of ways at any given location.

Every part looks good. Each building element (windows, doors, etc.) and each landscape element (hedges, roads etc)  looks good.  Thus the whole landscape looks good.

1. Buildings and Layout use traditional local styles and materials.

  • All building elements, from windowsills to doors to rooms to buildings, streets and  neighbourhoods,  are formed, where practical, from a set of simple patterns contained in Christopher Alexander’s book A Pattern Language.
  • These elements are combined according to local conditions.
  • Building exteriors merge with the land in an intricate “fractal” artisanal way.   Compare a bland suburban exterior (a blank white wall fronting a manicured lifeless lawn) and a traditional house exterior (natural materials, porch, trellises, garden, climbing plants, vegetable garden, fruit trees, maybe a few chickens).
  • Each element is attractive, including windows, sheds, pavements, and other “minor” elements.
  • Use locally made items.
  • The result is the creation of places that feel intensely human, timeless, “just right”, in the same way that traditional villages, towns and cities are satisfying.
  • To make this easy to implement, the code only governs building exteriors.  This ensures the landscape looks good.   Of course, where possible, practical and desired, the building interiors, too, are formed from the simple patterns contained in Christopher Alexander’s book A Pattern Language.

2. Land is organically farmed using local species and styles.

  • The land is managed as an intricate patchwork of local traditional elements ranging from small herb gardens to fields to wilderness.  Idea is to maximize “edge zones”.
  • Land is farmed & maintained without harmful chemicals.
  • Land is tidy and attractive: sheds, fences, storage areas, other “secondary” elements all look great and are made from local materials.
  • Paths and roads are lined with trees and/or hedges.
  • Wherever possible, paths and roads are dirt or gravel. For more-travelled roads, use asphalt with grass growing on it.
  • The landscape is quiet.  No noisy machines.  E.g. use rakes not leafblowers.
  • Land should be teeming with flowers, butterflies, bees, birds, wildlife.  Via dense mixed hedges, intricate boundaries and maximized edge zones.
  • Use hardy local species of crops, flora and livestock.   No irrigation.

3. General Guidelines

  • No offensive sights, sounds, smells.
  • Use natural materials sourced locally
  • Use local workers, artisans
  • No naked lights indoors or outdoors.  Use locally made shades.
  • No noisy machines or loud music
  • No chain stores: only local proprietors
  • Use simple designs with local natural materials than can be repaired easily and cheaply using local materials.