Consider your garden spaces... Comparing the garden to a room or series of rooms in a house puts us immediately into familiar territory. We have all, at some point in our lives, either designed or redecorated rooms or entire houses.
Garden design can work along the same principles.
Consider, for example, the division of space in a house. We take it for granted that living areas for dining and entertaining are open accessible spaces and our bathrooms and bedrooms have privacy, that there are work areas, storage spaces and spots for relaxing in private. Every house, no matter how ordinary, has its spaces organised in this way. Why then do we not do the same with our landscape design?
Think for a moment about the rooms you would need in your garden: A ‘room’ for living and entertaining, a ‘room’ for children to play in, a service ‘room’ for the clothesline and garden shed. In a big garden, of course, all these different spaces can be created with ease but a smaller garden will need to be planned more carefully before it can provide all of your needs in a logical and pleasing manner.
The walls of enclosure in a garden might be masonry walls, fencing, hedging or shrub borders. These form the structure or framework that creates the spaces and volumes in the garden room.
The vertical walls of outdoor rooms give dimension and volume to a space. They create the area within which the garden will be built. The walls define the areas of the floor space and the ceiling.
The three dimensions—walls, ceiling and floor—are inter-related so that the appearance or function of one cannot be altered without affecting the appearance or function of the other two.
For example, if we allow our trees or hedges to get too high, the area of visible sky (the ceiling) is decreased; if we increase the floor space of an area e.g. make a bigger lawn, the walls will be further away and appear smaller, and so forth.