Baiyun Li

Department of Landscape Architecture

PhD Student


During my previous study, I realised there are so many fascinating plants can be used for the urban environment. People can experience different beautiful flowers, feel the seasonal change without going to the nature. Planting design can play a significate role on urban landscapes. On the other hand, how to create a low maintenance but high aesthetic value urban planting is such a challenging question.

After I had a close look at climate-change, I found the main issue for urban landscapes in UK is summer drought. Precipitation will be less and less; dry periods will be longer and longer. So, I wanted to explore an ecological approach to creating sustainable and naturalistic plantings, which have a character, for sunny, dry, open, exposed conditions.

Then I started to consider the potential of steppe meadow communities as climate-change adapted urban landscape vegetations. Steppes are always locate in the central position of continents and contain vast plants species, among them grass, perennials, shrubs, bulbs and annuals. Steppe vegetations share many commonalities such as tolerance of extreme hot and cold temperature, limited rainfall, and heavy wind.

To test the potential, I monitored the vegetation dynamics of designed steppe meadows at the Beech Gardens, Barbican from March to November in 2016. The vegetation there are typical steppe meadow communities which are designed by Prof. Nigel Dunnet. It’s an innovation to use steppe vegetations in urban context. I also did questionnaires both on site and online to undertake evaluations of public visitors and residents’ attitudes towards this new planting style.

  • 2010-2013, Master of Landscape Gardening, Zhejiang University
  • 2006-2010, Bachelor of Agronomy degree in Landscape Gardening, Zhejiang University
Research interests

Thesis Title: Climate-change adaptation for urban landscapes: designed steppe meadows for urban podium landscapes, roof gardens and other dry situations.

Date started PhD and proposed submission date: 2014-2018

Other interests:

  • plant species selection for urban landscape;
  • plant establishment and management;
  • planting aesthetic value evaluation
Research group