Have you ever wanted to describe an area of the countryside but found you didn’t have the right words? If so, we’ll fix that this week with a look at words and phrases that we use to describe different landscapes.
To start with the most basic description, an area of land that is mainly covered with grass or trees is often described as green: There are so few green spaces in the city. An area that is especially green, in a way that is attractive, may also be described as lush: lush green valleys. A more literary word for this is verdant: All around her were verdant meadows.
Meanwhile, a landscape that has few or no plants because there is so little rain may be described as arid: Few animals can survive in this arid desert landscape. (A technical description for an area that has little rain but is not completely dry is semi-arid: a semi-arid zone.)
Land that is extremely dry because rain has not fallen for a long time is often said to be parched: parched earth/fields. Sun-baked, meanwhile, describes land that is hard and dry because it has received so little rain for so long: The sun-baked earth was full of cracks.
Other words describe the shape of the land. A hilly area has lots of hills: The countryside round here is very hilly. The phrase rolling hills is often used in descriptions of attractive landscapes with many gentle hills: Everywhere you look, there are rolling hills. The rather literary word undulating is also used to describe this type of landscape: This picturesque village is surrounded by undulating hills.
Meanwhile, a landscape with bigger hills – mountains – is mountainous: a mountainous region. If those mountains have snow on the top, they are often referred to as snow-capped: a snow-capped mountain range.
Still with the shape of the land, craggy describes an area with lots of rocks sticking out: a craggy coastline. Rugged is very similar, describing an area of land that is wild and not flat: These photographs really capture the rugged landscape of the region.
Of course, not all landscapes are green and hilly. An area may be flat. If there are no trees, hills or other interesting features, it may appear rather featureless: It was a grey, featureless landscape.
Two negative adjectives that are sometimes used to describe featureless landscapes are bleak and desolate. Both are used for areas of the countryside that seem empty and cold, with nothing pleasant to look at: The house stands on a bleak hilltop.
Another adjective sometimes used in this context is windswept. A windswept area of land has no trees or other high structures to protect it from the wind: The picture shows a desolate, windswept landscape.
When were you last out in the countryside? How would you describe the landscape?