University of Gothenburg

Gardening crafts

Today, historic gardens and parks are seen as cultural and historical objects, and heritage gardening is becoming increasingly important in the safeguarding and development of the cultural environment. The Craft Laboratory investigates historic environments, plant materials, and gardening craft methods, as well as develops instructions and coordinates collaboration between gardeners, managers, and property owners to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Our research areas

Compost and soil

Nutrient-rich soil with good structure has always been the basis for successful horticulture. In the shadow of climate change, it is important to work with green cultural environments in a sustainable way, and traditional horticultural practices need to be combined with new knowledge on composting, fertilisation, tillage, crop rotation, and watering. The Craft Laboratory explores the methods and materials of the past with the aim of reclaiming important horticultural knowledge and developing it for a new era of great challenges.

Flowers in gardens

Ornamental plantings in flowerbeds and urns have throughout history been welcoming and interesting features in various gardens. The Craft Laboratory works to preserve flower plantings in cultural environments and to spread and develop knowledge in the maintenance and propagation methods required for a flowering cultural heritage.

Photo: Tina Westerlund

Fruit trees and orchards

Caring for older fruit trees in cultural environments presents a particular challenge. Each tree must be cared for and pruned based on its conditions but also in relation to the surrounding cultural environment. The Craft Laboratory works to document, develop, and spread knowledge about the traditional management of fruit trees and orchards.

Photo: Tina Westerlund

Gravel pathways

Gravel pathways are an important design element in many historic gardens. Historically, sand and gravel have been the most common paving materials in garden paths in Sweden. The Craft Laboratory works to develop knowledge about how gravel and sand paths looked and were managed historically and how they can be managed today in a sustainable and culturally historically correct way.

Photo: Tina Westerlund

Networks for craft professionals

Meeting and exchanging experiences is important for developing new knowledge and for identifying needs for future research.

The Craft Laboratory coordinates networks for craft professionals within our main focus areas: building crafts, cultural landscapes and gardening crafts.


Great resources are spent on the maintenance of hedges in parks, gardens, and cemeteries. Despite that, there is a lack of knowledge about appearances, historical management, and how cultural-historical values ​​can be maintained. The Craft Laboratory works to increase knowledge of the craftsmanship involved in maintaining culturally historically valuable hedges.

Photo: Tina Westerlund


The lawn is an essential structural element in historic parks and gardens. However, the appearance of the lawn and the ways to cut and manage lawns have varied throughout history. In close collaboration with the heritage site Gunnebo House and Gardens in Mölndal in Sweden, The Craft Laboratory has investigated historic lawn management regimes and crafts, and heritage management today.

Photo: Tina Westerlund

Deepen your knowledge

The Department of Conservation offers study programmes in gardening and landscape crafts on bachelor's level (in Swedish) and on master’s level. The International Master´s Programme in Conservation is designed to deepen your knowledge about the multiple layers of meaning of cultural heritage, and offers a great deal of flexibility if you are interested in specialising within gardening and landscapes.