First Steps to Garden Design


Viewpoint from Indoors

I can’t imagine how many pictures in these pages have come from the vantage point of my front window! That’s because I sit there whenever I’m working in the house (unless I’m cooking or drawing). I watch the birds, the water, the leaves and grasses blowin’ in the wind, and all the seasonal changes.

So one of the most important aspects of garden design is viewpoint. Where are you going to be looking, and where are others going to be looking. Margaret Roach’s article “Look Out the Window” in A Way to Garden reminded me of this. Because of the way my tiny house is built and situated and “decorated”, there are few indoor spots from which I can sit or stand and look outdoors. So the view from the front window is particularly important to me.

Front yard pond
Front yard pond

A focal point draws the eye to itself–like the pond above; but the eye doesn’t stop there. It  travels around subtle lines and edges–like the edge of the pond. You can’t help but look at the rocks and grasses and mosses immediately around the pond, and then follow the path further around. It’s not intentional, rather just how our minds work.

What draws your eye from your favourite vantage point? Does the best viewing spot have a sub-optimal focal point, like the bare wall of a garage or a messy fence. You probably don’t like to look out those windows then, which limits your appreciation both of the indoor spot, and the outdoor view.

Margaret writes, “… there’s one particular living-room window that catches my eye most of all when I come down the stairs, as if to say hello.” (My italics.)

Does your garden say ‘hello’ to you?

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