Paying attention to the sequential experience of the landscape

One of my very favorite design principles is what I call the sequential experience of the landscape. It may sound complicated, but believe me, it's easy to understand and put into practice. First, think of a garden setting where you can see everything in the whole place at the same time. In this type of setting, you can stand and scan from one end of the place to the other in 30 seconds. Then it's time to go back inside because you've seen all there is to see. The landscape offers no excitement and no sense of depth, and nothing very intriguing is going on.

But if you were to create some subtle divisions within that space — such as a shrub that partially conceals a portion of the garden — your mind would start to work on it and you'd become curious about what's going on behind the shrub. So take on the role of the benevolent design dictator and run a curvy pathway around that shrub, creating the possibility of access. (See the earlier section "Controlling people's feelings and behaviors with your design" for more on becoming a design dictator.) Put something really cool behind that shrub, such as a secluded bench or a pond full of rubber duckies, and you've created a feeling of mystery — of being invited into a special, secret world. By doing so, you've made the process of moving through the landscape an adventure. Check out Figure 5-7 for a sample landscaping plan that shows this design principle.

Bench is secluded sequential experience technique.

Figure 5-7:

Creating mystery with the

Shrubs and trees block view —

Bench is secluded

Shrubs and trees block view —

c^s Columns provide ^ transition

HBE*

When you create this type of subtle separation in your yard, you've also created what some people call an away place. Imagine the difference between having a cool drink at the end of the day on the patio just outside the kitchen door and taking it back to that secret spot to visit your rubber duckies. One location makes you feel like you're still on the hamster wheel, and the other feels like a mini-vacation because you've disappeared for a little while. You can create away places for one person or for a whole crowd. When you get to your away place, you literally see the world, and your garden, from a totally different perspective. How refreshing is that?

Landscape design is about creating places that not only look good and work right but also make you feel good. You might say that's the winning combination: beautiful, sustainable, and emotionally satisfying.

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Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening

Gardening is also a great way to provide healthy food for you and your loved ones. When you buy produce from the store, it just isnt the same as presenting a salad to your family that came exclusively from your garden worked by your own two hands.

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