Territoriality is probably a concept you associate with animals on some National Geographic special.

But as crazy as it sounds, there is territoriality in landscape design.  We want others to know, “this is our space”.

Many landscape architects apply the principal routinely.    Fencing, shrub borders, stone walls and other structures on the perimeter of a residential property create boundaries (territory).

Territorial elements like those above are physical boundaries which may keep pets in and neighbors out.   They are hard barriers.

But even a row of trees along a property line or an elevated soil berm defines and creates territory.

Those are soft barriers.

Defining boundaries, whether with an impenetrable fence or a line of trees, landscape architects are frequently establishing territory with design.   Territoriality creates emotional comfort for the resident and if the homeowner is more comfortable they are more likely to enjoy the space.   And part of good design is reliability and usability of space.

It’s why you rarely see a patio, pool or back yard social space that is without solid or partial screening from adjacent properties.   We all want our own space even with the world’s best neighbors.

Territoriality is neither good nor bad, but simply a landscape design theory and practice applied by landscape architects to enrich the landscape experience for their clients.

Like a lion or leopard marking their territories, we will continue to mark our spaces.   But as accomplished landscape designers and architects we will use barriers and baffles, not pheromones.