Rosemonde Winter. Garden Design. April 19th , 2018.
Imparted by Ralph Snodsmith, my first official gardening teacher at the New York Botanical Garden and talk radio host (a character whose working uniform was always a forest green three-piece suit), there is no greater planting wisdom. No matter how brilliant a plan one conceives, if the plants are not well planted at the right height, in a sufficiently sized, and properly amended pit, the results will likely be poor. Some rules just can not be broken.
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 I have 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.
Yes, this one's 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 nature's embrace.
Small gardens have a lot more potential than you realize. Whether dealing with a long narrow space behind a vintage home, a cramped backyard that lacks privacy, or a shabby garden at the rear of a brownstone the possibilities are endless. So do not write off your 40 foot by 20 foot outdoor area just yet, with the right design, it could be an incredible garden.
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