Designing with Hybridity, Scalar Paradoxes, and Complex Dynamics

How Two Domestic Gardens Challenge the Contemporary Landscape Imagination


  • Bieke Cattoor Delft University of Technology
  • Valerie Dewaelheyns




landscape architecture, landscape imagination, landscape metropolis, garden complex, garden design, domestic gardens, everyday gardens, hybridity, scalar paradox, complex dynamics, Flanders


Belonging to the small-scale and private sphere, gardens are usually omitted from urban and regional landscape plans. Yet, we argue that the assemblage of everyday gardens – the garden complex – is an inherent component of the landscape metropolis that holds the potential to become a powerful landscape agency. This potential is enclosed, among others, within three particular qualities: hybridity, scalar paradoxes, and complex dynamics. Practicing these qualities as concepts for landscape design and analysis helps to expand the imaginaries of everyday gardens to more purposefully reflect and negotiate the condition of the landscape metropolis. By means of two case studies – two domestic gardens – we demonstrate that designing with hybridity entails versatility, simultaneity, and multiplicity, thereby engendering a richness of meaning and experiences. This pluralism is also inherent in the scalar paradoxes we observed. Cross-scalar interactions evoke design implications that transcend the confines of the private plot, surpassing individual, human gain, and making individual gardens enter into dialogue with each other and with their surroundings. Lastly, by working with an enlarged set of complex dynamics, the two case studies prove that a garden can be a driver of change and innovation, and thereby a valuable source of resilience.


How to Cite

Cattoor, B., & Dewaelheyns, V. (2020). Designing with Hybridity, Scalar Paradoxes, and Complex Dynamics: How Two Domestic Gardens Challenge the Contemporary Landscape Imagination. SPOOL, 7(1), 53–74.




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