Della Bauer. Garden Design. April 20th , 2018.
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 we are 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.
Another ratio may even be platinum, That is what I have 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.
Think big. Ample pathways and gathering spaces are inviting, and large features are engaging in any size space. You can maximize the livability of a small yard by taking advantage of changes in terrain to segment the space into different living areas.
I remember as a beginning garden designer in California being taken aside by my mentor, a transplanted Englishwoman who owned the nursery, walking through a vast block of salvia, and being told that I could, if I liked, use 30 of them, not the three or five I had typically been planting. It was a liberating moment.
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