History and present state of Landscape Designs in Sri Lanka (South Asia)
Sri Lanka has a great history in landscape design and the evidence have found from different places of the country. The first evidence of parks was found from Anuradhapura (Ancient Kingdom in Sri Lanka)period (5th – 4th century BC). However included flowering trees like “Saraka asoka” (Asoka), Mesua ferrea (Na), fruit trees like “Mangifera Indika“ (Mango). The classic example is Mahamevna gardens built by king Mutasiva.
Another evidence for a park called Ranmasu uyana was built at 3″ century BC. It was built as a pleasure park. This park includes ponds, steps, paved areas, and shade trees. A classic example of a formal garden is Sigiriya. However, It is built by King Kashyapa. Four different garden types; water garden, boulder garden, terrace garden, and palace garden can be seen.
At Polonnaruwa period Nandana uyana (10th – 12h AD) was constructed as a resting place. It includes shade trees like Mesua ferrea (Na), Shorea robusta (Sal), Saraka Asoka (Asoka), Syzygium malaccensis (Jambu) and water features like ponds.
Later at Kandy period Royal park at Peradeniya was the last park constructed by kings in 1780. At the 19th century under British rule, Kew gardens at pettah, Hakgala garden, and Gampaha Henarathgoda garden were constructed using both native and exotic plant species. The informal English garden was established at Badulla and Nuwara Eliya in 1883.
Present status of Landscaping Industry in Sri Lanka
Now landscaping is widely used and famous not only among rich people but among ordinary people. They attempt to design their home garden by themselves or through a landscape designer. Landscaping of hospitals, schools, and gardens for disable people are practicing today as a pleasant environment is good for both mental and physical health.
Urban beautification is one of the main concepts of the current government. It is achieved mainly through the landscaping. Roundabouts, avenues, urban parks are landscaped using both soft and hard landscape materials. Establishing trees and paving interlocks along roadsides enhance the urban greening and comfortable walk.
Current home gardens in urban areas are more compact due to space limitations. Hence, people intend to go for options like indoor gardens, roof gardens. Edible landscaping and low maintenance gardens also have taken the attention of people in Sri Lanka.