The garden entrance may be a gate, a set of old doors, a vine-covered arbor, a pair of sculptures or large boulders, an opening in a tall hedge or, as this photograph shows, a bridge. This bridge over a dry creek bed is a clear point of departure for the upcoming journey. Its yatsuhashi, or zigzag design, plus the lantern and boulder clearly set the theme for this Asian-inspired woodland garden.
Serpentine paths allow a sense of mystery and discovery to be introduced into a garden. Strategically placed grasses, shrubs and small trees mask a clear view of the next leg of the journey. What’s around the bend?
Notice how the garden shown here is filled with interesting shapes and textures, provided by both the plant palette and the stone. The gravel underfoot creates another layer of depth by adding to the sense of exploration.
It is also important to note that the spacing between rhythmic elements can increase or decrease the speed at which the visitor moves through the space. Elements spaced closer together will slow down the visitor; spaced farther apart they encourage a longer stride and a brisker walk. With this knowledge you can slow your visitors down to notice certain details that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Don’t forget to provide this additional layer of experience; your garden visitor will thank you.
This photograph shows a worthy destination, one that tells a story. The designer of this space describes it as a Mediterranean fantasy, a garden room “resembling an ancient ruin where lovers met in secret,” in her words. She used crumbling stone walls, an Italian mosaic tile floor, olive trees, gaslit stone urns and a fountain fashioned from an antique laundry trough to tell the story of the traveler.
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