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    Landscape Design Principles for Residential Gardens

    Release Time:2017-05-09  Views:1525

    Its tempting, in a field as subjective as garden design, to feel that rules do not apply. However, after 28 years and hundreds of projects later, Ive come to believe in certain rules and guidelines that are neither fussy nor constraining. All have proven invaluable to me over my years of garden-making. Applied by any gardener, amateur or professional, they will result in a more successful, satisfying design.

     

    01: OBEY THE 'LAW' OF SIGNIFICANT ENCLOSURE

    Yes, this ones a law,not just a rule! It addresses the root meaning of garden, which is enclosure.This, to me, is absolutely critical in creating a sense of refuge and of feeling oneself within natures embrace. The law of significant enclosure says that we feel enclosed when the vertical edge of a space is at least one-third the length of the horizontal space were inhabiting. Probably derived from behavioral psychology studies, this rule came to me from a professor in graduate school, and it was one of the best things I learned.

    02: FOLLOW THE REGULATING LINE

    My formal architectural education also introduced me to the concept of the regulating line.The idea is that an element of architecture (for example, a doorway, or a building edge, even a window mullion) or a distinctive landscape feature (prominent tree, existing pool, property boundary) can generatean imaginary line that helps connect and organize the design.

    03: USE THE GOLDEN RECTANGLE TO GET PROPORTIONS RIGHT

    Certain rules help us refine design. One is the Golden Ratio which is a ratio of proportion thats been observed in everything from the Great Pyramids at Giza to the Greek Parthenon and has been used throughout history as a guide to a pleasing sense of balance and order. The practical application that I make of the Golden Ratio involves its sibling, the Golden Rectangle, in which the ratio of the short side to the long side is equal to the ratio of the long side to the sum of both sides (a/b = b/a+b)you probably didnt know that landscape architects had to learn math. Numerically, the Golden Rectangle ratio is close to 1: 1.6, a proportion I regularly use to lay out terraces, patios, arbors, and lawns. The raised beds in my vegetable garden are 5 by 8 feet. Its a rectangular proportion that always looks goodthey dont call it golden for nothing!

    04: TURN TO THOMAS D. CHURCH WHEN DESIGNING STEPS

    Another ratio may even be platinum: Thats what Ive always called the rule for step design advocated by landscape architect Thomas D. Church, often credited with creating the California style. Laid out in his seminal work Gardens Are for People, it says simply that twice the height of the riser plus the tread should equal 26 inches. That means that if the riser is 5 inches, the tread (what you walk on) should be 16 inches. All I can say is that the rule is true, and Ive used it from steep canyon faces to gentle changes of patio levels. A useful corollary states that 5 feet is the minimum width for two people climbing steps side by side.


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