Biophilic Landscaping

Course CodeBHT343
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Our Surrounding Landscape Impacts on Our Well-Being

Presence of plants can provide extensive, physical, mental and physiological benefits. Well designed landscapes can impact positively on the health of those who inhabit them.

  • Plants greatly affect the 'people friendliness' of a garden.
  • Increase productivity
  • Risks to health and wellbeing are minimised


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Relationship between Outdoor Environments and Human Well-being
    • What is Biophilia?
    • Understanding Biophobia
    • Health Problems of Biophilic Design
    • Urban Heat Island Effect
    • Psychological and Physiological Street
    • Breakdown of Ecosystems
    • Environmental Degradation.
    • Health Benefits of Biophilic Design
    • Theories of Stress Recovery -attention restoration, stress recovery
    • The Value of Green Space
    • Terminology -biophilia, biomimicry, cityscapes, urban landscaping, built environment, etc
  2. Design Considerations
    • Evolution of Design Considerations.
    • Not Designing for Use
    • Do not Fail to Involve the Local Community
    • Avoid Isolation from Nature
    • Avoid Poor Accessibility.
    • Connect with Nature
    • Develop a Sense of Place
    • Achieve Long-Term Sustainability
    • Develop Sensory Stimulation
    • Achieve Beneficial User Experience.
    • Practical Considerations - Multidisciplinary Approach, Town Planning, Consideration of Outcomes.
    • Looking at the Future - Further Research, Amendments to National Standards.
  3. Patterns and Principles in Urban Design
    • Introduction.
    • Design Principles.
    • Design Patterns.
    • Terrapin Bright Criteria
    • Nature and Space Patterns
    • Natural Analogue Patterns
    • Nature of the Space Patterns
    • Relationship to Health
    • Application of Patterns
  4. Components of the Landscape
    • Introduction - Biophilic Components.
    • Hard Landscape Components - Surfaces, Stone and Brick, Timber, Metal.
    • Soft Landscape Components - Turf, Plants.
    • The Relationship Between Health and Design Components
    • Direct Experience of Nature -light, air, water, plants, animals, weather, natural landscapes, fire
    • Indirect Experience of Nature -nature images, natural materials, natural colour, information richness, biomimicry, etc
    • Experience of Space and Place -prospect and refuge, organised complexity,transitional spaces, mobility, etc
    • Some Natural Components in More Detail - Trees, Vegetation, Animals, Water.
    • Water quality issues
  5. Providing Services to People
    • Introduction.
    • Five Principles of Healthy Places
    • Healthy places improve air, water and soil quality
    • Healthy places help overcome health inequalities
    • Healthy places make people feel comfortable
    • Healthy places optimise opportunities
    • Healthy places are restorative
    • Water Harvesting, Retention, and Re-use - Stormwater, Rainwater, Urban Runoff, Integrated Urban Water Management.
  6. Affecting the Individual
    • Biophilia in different Environments
    • Environmental stress
    • General Adaptation Syndrome
    • Physiological effects of stress -gastric ulcers, immune system, heart disease
    • Biophilia in the workplace
    • Noise levels
    • Temperature
    • What biophilia can and cannot do
  7. Affecting Environmental and Climatic Conditions
    • Water contaminants
    • Chlorination
    • Microbiological Problems
    • Water quality in aquaria and ponds
    • Legionnaires Disease in Soil and Potting Media
    • Using Plants to Extract Contaminants
    • Growing Plants in Contaminated Soils
    • Biological Filters for polluted and waste water
    • Air Quality
    • Roof and Wall Gardens to Improve Air Quality and Aesthetics
    • Roof Garden accessibility and safety
    • What is a Vertical Garden -advantages and disadvantages
    • Pruning to prevent problems
    • Decorative Plant Supports
    • Temporary Props
    • Types of Roof Garden Installations
    • Types of Wall Gardens
    • Narrow Profile Green lines
    • Plant Selection - considering climate, structure, aesthetics, etc
    • Construction of Roof and Vertical Gardens
    • Sealing with weight, water, leaks, heights, etc
    • Waterproofing
    • Plant damage
    • Plant knowledge -epiphytes, ground covers, etc.
  8. Assessing and Analysing Existing Landscapes
    • Assessing Component Attributes of a biophilic experience
    • Using a checklist
    • Problems of Assessment
    • Measuring Pollutants - air, water, noise
    • Creating Buffer Zones for Pollution.
    • Using Windbreaks, Hedges, Screens
    • Creating Shaded Areas
    • Designing a New Home Garden using Biophilic Design Principles
    • Creating a Natural Approach to Gardening
    • Avoiding Problem Materials
    • Disposing of Waste
    • Work with Nature
    • Simple Design Procedure
  9. Integrating Biophilic Design into Existing Landscape
    • Introduction.
    • Retrofitting Green walls and Roofs.
    • Using hydroponics for a Vertical NFT Wall
    • Redevelopment of Public Institutions - adding biophilic elements
    • Redesign considerations
    • Water Chemistry of Runoff - urban runoff quality, pollutant loadings, etc
    • Improving water runoff and recycling - stormwater management, biofiltration
    • Reducing the Use of Pest Control Chemicals in the Garden
    • Natural Pest and Weed Control
    • Biocontrol
  10. Working in/ Improving Urban Development
    • Introduction and Population Growth
    • Challenges for Design - Green walls and Roofs, Permaculture, Hydroponics, Swales for Water Retention, etc.
    • Working in Urban Development -Beatley's Biophilic City Qualities.
    • Case Studies.


  • Discuss the relationship between physiological and psychological health and outdoor environments.
  • Determine the important biophilic factors which should be considered when designing or renovating an outdoor space.
  • Explain different principles and patterns which have been identified as underpinning biophilic landscape design.
  • Describe how different elements of an urban landscape can be incorporated into a design so that they contribute in a positive way to human wellbeing.
  • Describe how a range of landscaping techniques and methodologies can be utilised to benefit human wellbeing.
  • Evaluate outdoor environments to identify both negative and positive effects on individuals; and to recommend changes to landscapes in order to improve the effects upon individuals.
  • Evaluate landscapes and determine actions that can be taken to improve the environmental conditions of people in those places.
  • Conduct consultancy jobs to assess and analyze existing landscapes
  • Redesign a landscape to meet biophilic requirements for a renovation of an existing landscape

How Can a Landscape be More People Friendly?

Obviously a cleaner environment, and protection from the extreme weather elements is always friendlier. There are other factors as well though that can impact both the physical and the psychological well being of a person.

People have a range of inherent needs and for any landscape to be people friendly, it must accommodate those needs. These may include such things as:

  • Physical needs including water, food, protection from extremes weather, lack of danger
  • Social needs such as freedom to move, places to congregate; experiences to share.

In a people friendly landscape, people should be able to access water to drink, food to eat, transportation services, toilets, shelter from rain, places to sit, places to congregate, places to be alone ...etc. and all with minimal risk.

  • At night, places should be well lit when anyone moves into or through them.
  • Surfaces that are walked or driven over should be even, not slippery, and able to be safely navigated.
  • Plants, animals and inanimate objects within any public area should be safe; free of any harmful chemicals, dangerous microbes, sharp edges or other threats.
  • Public areas should be well maintained.
  • All ages and types of people should be accommodated in the design.

These provisions will always be able to be improved; but the degree to which a place satisfies such things, is a measure of how people friendly that place is.



  • Garden designers
  • Landscape architects
  • People working in horticultural therapy
  • Landscapers interested in building sustainable and people friendly spaces
  • Garden centre owners and employees
  • Planners
  • People wanting to improve their own gardens and incorporate biophilic design





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