How Rural Landscape Design Works

Rural Landscape Design Features

­­The breathtaking beauty of the natural countryside is part of what makes the U.S. so special. Imagine if someone had decided to build a new condominium com­plex inside the Grand Canyon or decided to mow down Yellowstone National Park to make way for a shopping center. It just wouldn't be the same, would it?

Existing attributes like lakes, streams, rolling hills and forested lots can be protected through rural landscape design. New developments built with proper landscape design principals can enhance these attributes, make them more accessible and even help maintain these natural resources for years to come.

The best rural landscape features include sustainability. Making sure that new developments satisfy current needs and potential future needs without adding costs or harming the environment is crucial.

Rural landscape design feature projects are diverse. They include:

  • Parks
  • Nature centers and wildlife refuges
  • Recreational areas
  • Residential neighborhoods
  • Non-residential villages
  • Commercial developments

Rural landscape design features protect agricultural lands, waterways and natural resources. They also establish the best transportation methods, land use, facilities and services that will have the best effects and least distractions for people living in the surrounding areas [source: Talbot Comprehensive Plan].

By developing but not exploiting rural areas, cities and communities can:

  • Increase economic development
  • Introduce new housing markets
  • Bring jobs to the area
  • Establish better use of lands
  • Offer more community services
  • Establish recreation areas
  • Preserve the feel of their community and historical offerings [source: Talbot Comprehensive Plan]

So the next time you see a community meeting to discuss new development, join in the conversation. You can make a difference and let your voice be heard if you take the time to help develop your local lands. And for related information, check out the links on the following page.

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More Great Links


  • Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy. "Buffalo Olmstead Park System Map & Guide." (Accessed 11/22/08)
  • Coker, Matt. "Native Americans Seeking to Protect Ancestors Buried at Bolsa Chica Get No Relief…Yet." OC Weekly. 11/19/08. (Accessed 11/22/08)
  • Keen, Judy. "Neighbors at odds over noise from wind turbines." USA Today. 11/03/08. (Accessed 11/21/08)
  • National Register Bulletin. "Characteristics of the Rural Landscape." National Park Service. Accessed 11/20/08)
  • Talbot County Comprehensive Plan. "Introduction and Summary" Talbot County, Maryland. 02/15/05. (Accessed 11/20/08)
  • Talbot County Comprehensive Plan. "Chapter 13: Community Design and Appearance." Talbot County, Maryland. (Accessed 11/20/08)
  • University of Minnesota. "Sustainability and Landscape Design." (Accessed 11/20/08)
  • University of Minnesota. "Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series: Introduction." (Accessed 11/22/08)
  • "Rural Area Design Guide." Change 33: Ridgelines & Hilltops (Visual Amenity) & Rural. Area. 2006. (Accessed 11/20/08)