UCB Libraries

Subject Guide: Landscape Architecture

  • Keywords
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Web Resources
  • Evaluating & Citing Sources



This brief guide will help you research landscape architecture, including gardens, parks, urban and rural spaces, the natural environment, important sites, and much more.

"Landscape architecture is the art of arranging land to support human activity and ecological stability."

Daniel Joseph Nadenicek, "Landscape Architecture," from Christopher Fitter, et al., "Landscape," in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, edited by Michael Kelly. Available via Oxford Art Online.

If you need additional assistance, please use Ask Us to contact a librarian via phone, email, IM, text message, or in person.


Keywords: What are you looking for?

Choosing appropriate search terms is an important first step in the research process. Take a few moments to brainstorm a list of keywords that describe your topic. Think of similar words that express the same concepts, broader and narrower terms, and important contextual information.


Your list of keywords might include:

  • name of garden, park, site, or location of interest
  • landscape architect, designer, artist, or cultural group responsible for production
  • type of space (e.g. garden, park, etc.)
  • location
  • era or time period of construction or design
  • style and/or materials
  • notable related events or people

In addition to generating a list of keywords, take time to think about how those keywords are related. In general, knowing broader terms will help you find books, while narrower terms will be more useful for finding articles.


Important Reference Resources

Need help generating a list of terms related to your research topic, including contextual information? Try consulting one of the specialized reference resources listed below. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other tools can be very helpful during the early phases of your research.


Oxford Art Online

Specialized encyclopedia for art and architectural history. Entries are written by scholars in the field and include bibliographies and images. Most important reference resource for art history. Includes strong coverage for the history of architecture, landscape architecture, and related areas. VPN required for off-campus access.


Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture

Art & Arch Reference - N5610 .G76 2007


Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture

Art & Arch Reference - N6260 .G75 2009


Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Art & Arch Reference - NA31 .C86 2006

also available online


Handbook of Soils for Landscape Architects

Earth Sciences Library Stacks - S591 .K385 2000


Encyclopedic Dictionary of Landscape and Urban Planning

available online


Handbook of Regenerative Landscape Design

available online


North American Plantfile: A Visual Guide to Plant Selection -- for Use in Landscape Design

Science Library Stacks - SB435 .H534 1998


Encyclopedia of Gardens: History and Design

Art & Arch Reference - SB465 .E63 2001


Landscapes and Gardens for Historic Buildings: A Handbook for Reproducing and Creating Authentic Landscape Settings

Science Library Stacks - SB466.U6 F34 1991


Dictionary of Today's Landscape Designers

Art & Arch Reference - SB470 .N5313 2003


Ecological Design Handbook: Sustainable Strategies for Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, and Planning

Art & Arch Reference - SB472.7 .E36 1999


Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture

Art & Arch Reference - SB475.9.S72 T55 1997



Chinook - How to Find Books & More @ CU-Boulder

Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to renew books, see what you have checked out or on hold, and much more.

Chinook Catalog

When searching Chinook, you can connect your keywords using terms like AND, OR, NOT. You can also used parentheses, quotation marks, and asterisks.




AND: park AND design (must find both terms)

Phrases: “landscape architecture” (must find phrase in that order)

OR: park OR garden (must find one of the terms)

Synonyms: (park OR garden) AND English

NOT: English NOT language (must find first term and not second term)

Wildcards: classic* will find classics, classical, classicizing, etc.


Prospector - How to Find Books @ Other Libraries in Colorado

If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of many libraries in Colorado and Wyoming.


Prospector is the FASTEST way to get a book if it is unavailable here at CU-Boulder.


WorldCat - How to Find Books @ Any Library

There might not always be an entire book about your research topic, or there might not be many books published on the subject.


Given that fact, you will want to use WorldCat instead of Chinook to search for books. WorldCat is an online catalog for over 9,000 libraries in the US and world wide, and it allows you to do a more thorough search than Chinook because you are not limited to only the items we already own. Instead, you are effectively searching the catalogs of most major libraries world wide.


For any books you find in WorldCat, you will be able to see if CU-Boulder owns that item. If you find something in WorldCat that we do not own, you should:

  1. Search Prospector to see if the book is available. If it is, request it via Prospector. The book will typically arrive in a few days, and you'll receive an email when it is ready for pick up.
  2. If the book isn't available via Prospector, you can request it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Please be aware that items ordered via ILL can take up to several weeks to arrive. Obviously, if your assignment is due very soon, this will not be an option.


Accessing WorldCat from Off Campus
If you want to use WorldCat while you are off campus, you must use VPN. For more information about how to download and install VPN, see the library's page on Off Campus Access.



Accessing Resources from Off Campus
If you want to use databases like the ones listed below while you are off campus, you must use VPN. For more information about how to download and install VPN, see the library's page on Off Campus Access.


Important Journals in Landsape Architecture

Garden History

available via JSTOR


Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes

PASCAL - SB451 .J76

also available online


Landscape Journal

Art & Architecture Stacks - SB469 .L35

also available online


Choosing a Database

In order to find articles on your topic, you will need to use a database. The library provides access to hundreds of databases, and many of them focus on a particular discipline such art, art history, or architecture.


The Find Articles & More page provides access to all of these resources and arranges them by subject.


Selected Databases for Landscape Architecture

Art Full Text & Art Retrospective

Provides access to scholarship on art and architectural history from prehistory to the present. Some full text available. Art Full Text covers publications 1984-present, while Art Retrospective covers 1929-1984.


America, History & Life

History database with a focus on the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Useful for finding scholarship about the history of important places, sites, events, and people.


Avery Index

The Avery Index is the most comprehensive database for researching architecture, landscape architecture, and the built environment. It includes citations and abstracts from books, journal and magazine articles, essays, exhibition catalogs, dissertations, and websites. It is also an excellent source of plans, sections, elevations, and drawings.


Design & Applied Arts Index

Excellent resource for scholarship on design topics, including interior design, furniture, metals, ceramics, industrial design, product design, landscape architecture, and related topics in the the applied arts.


Historical Abstracts

History database with a focus on the history of the world (excluding the United States) from 1450 to the present. Useful for finding scholarship about the history of important places, sites, events, and people.


Engineering Village

With a focus on engineering literature, this database will help you find articles on structual or architectural engineering, construction, and related topics.



Provides full text access to a number of important journals for architectural history and landscape architecture, including Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Garden History, Buildings & Landscapes, and several others.



Image Resources from the Libraries


Over one million images of visual and material culture, covering all geographic areas and historical periods. VPN required for off-campus access.


Art & Art History Collection via CU Digital Library

Maintained by the Department of Art & Art History Visual Resources Collection. Provides access to a growing collection of high-quality digital images. VPN required for off-campus access.


Architecture & Planning Collection via CU Digital Library

Maintained by the College of Architecture & Planning Visual Resource Center, this collection of over 46,000 images focuses specifically on architecture, landscape architecture, and the built environment. VPN required for off-campus access.


AP Images

Search for images from the Associated Press. Useful for finding images from newspapers, magazines, wires, etc. Excellent source for contemporary photos of historical sites. VPN required for off-campus access.


Aerial Photographs of Colorado

See the landscape of Colorado change over time via almost 1,700 digitized aerial photographs of Colorado taken by the U.S. Forest Service from 1938 to 1947.


Image Resources on the Web

HABS/HAER/HALS - Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Collection

Images from the Historic American Buildings Survey, the Historic American Engineering Record, and the Historic American Landscapes Survey. Thousands of images documenting American architecture, engineering, and landscape design. New additions to the collections are contributed by the National Park Service's Heritage Documentation Programs.


Flickr & Flickr Commons

Useful source for images of architecture and historical sites. Note that user-contributed photos vary in quality. Flickr Commons contains images from photographic archives, museums, and libraries.


Google Image Search

Use the advanced search options to find larger, higher quality images.



Useful Websites

The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Not-for-profit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of historica landscapes.


American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

Professional organization for landscape architects.


Accredited Programs in Landscape Architecture

Maintained by the ASLA.



Creative Commons licensed 2D and 3D objects, CAD blocks, and textures.


Google 3D Warehouse

3D objects for use with Google SketchUp and other tools.



Meta-search for models and textures from many different sources. Not all images are free; legalese varies by source.



How to Evaluate a Website

So you've found a website, and it looks like it might be useful. But how do you know if it is trustworthy? Scott Rosenberg has written an excellent guide to evaluating websites. The instructions below are adapted from his "In the context of Web context: How to check out any Web page."


What is the site's top-level domain?

Is it an educational site (.edu)? A government site (.gov)? Or a commercial site that anyone can produce (.com, .info, .net, etc.)? While a .edu or .gov domain does not guarantee trustworthy content, it can give you an indication of who authored the site or is maintaining it.


Does the site have ads?

Are the ads the primary focus of the site? Are they for products and services related to the site's content? Generally, the more ads you see, the less authoritative the website is.


Can you find out who is responsible for the site?

Is an author listed anywhere? Is there contact info or a feedback form? Does the author claim any credentials? Do those check out if you search for more info on the author?


Does the site contain references, sources, or links?

Do those references point to reputable sites? Or questionable ones?


Is the content unique? And does it make sense?

Google a chunk of text. Does it show up word-for-word on other sites? This could be a cause for concern. In addition, if the content is little more than a pile of disconnected keywords, the site might be just link bait.


Scholarly vs. Popular Sources





Original research presented with evidence, critical arguments, and other material.

Discussion includes personal opinions, and typically focuses on material for entertainment or leisure.


Author's credentials are given, usually a scholar with subject expertise.

Author may or may not be named; often a professional writer; may or may not have subject expertise.


Editorial board is listed on cover or near the Table of Contents. Some publications may also note that articles are refereed by peer reviewers.

No editors listed and no referee process described.


Scholars, researchers, students.

General public; the interested non-specialist.


May use specialized terminology.

Vocabulary in general usage; understandable to most readers.

References (Endnotes, Footnotes, etc)

Required. All quotes and facts can be verified. A bibliography is also usually included.

Rare. Little, if any, information about sources.


Contribute to your understanding of the text; could include diagrams, charts, or other technical material.

Often merely provide pleasing visual content rather than support for assertions in the text.

Example Publication

Buildings & Landscapes

Architectural Record


Citation Styles & Management

For information about citing print and electronic sources in a range of styles, see “How to Cite a Source.”


Using MLA Style? See the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Using Chicago Style?  See the Chicago Style Quick Guide or the full version of the Chicago Manual of Style.


Writing a longer paper and need to keep track of citations? RefWorks allows you to save citations and retrieve them later using "Find it at CU" buttons. Citations from most databases can be easily exported directly to RefWorks. RefWorks can also create bibliographies in virtually any citation style, and can be used with Microsoft Word to format footnotes and endnotes correctly. Zotero is a similar tool that is available for free.


Need More Help?

Wondering if you're citing something correctly? Or maybe you need help with structuring your paper? Take advantage of the CU Writing Center. Making an appointment with a consultant at the Writing Center allows you to receive one-on-one help with your writing.


Want to speak with a librarian right now? You can contact us in person, via the phone, or even over IM. Use the Ask Us page to chat with a librarian even if you're away from campus.