Table of Contents
01: OBEY THE “LAW” OF SIGNIFICANT ENCLOSURE
Sure, this one’s a “legislation,” not only a rule! It addresses the foundation which means of backyard, which is “enclosure.” This, to me, is totally vital in creating a way of refuge and of feeling oneself inside nature’s embrace. The legislation of serious enclosure says that we really feel enclosed when the vertical fringe of an area is at the least one-third the size of the horizontal house we’re inhabiting. In all probability derived from behavioral psychology research, this rule got here to me from a professor in graduate faculty, and it was among the best issues I discovered.
02: FOLLOW THE REGULATING LINE
My formal architectural training additionally launched me to the idea of the “regulating line.” The concept is that a component of structure (for instance, a doorway, or a constructing edge, even a window mullion) or a particular panorama characteristic (outstanding tree, present pool, property boundary) can “generate” an imaginary line that helps join and manage the design. For instance, in laying out one yard, I projected the strains of its constructing addition into the backyard house after which aligned the swimming pool and picket walkway with these strains. The result’s orderly and cohesive, even after being softened with planting. “A regulating line,” wrote the good architect (and theoretician) Le Cor busier, “is an assurance towards capriciousness…It confers on the work the standard of rhythm…The selection of a regulating line fixes the basic geometry of the work….”
03: USE THE GOLDEN RECTANGLE TO GET PROPORTIONS RIGHT
Sure guidelines assist us refine design. One is the Golden Ratio which is a ratio of proportion that’s been noticed in all the things from the Nice Pyramids at Giza to the Greek Parthenon and has been used all through historical past as a information to a lovely sense of stability and order. The sensible software that I make of the Golden Ratio entails its sibling, the Golden Rectangle, wherein the ratio of the brief facet to the lengthy facet is the same as the ratio of the lengthy facet to the sum of either side (a/b = b/a+b)—you most likely didn’t know that panorama architects needed to study math. Numerically, the Golden Rectangle ratio is near 1: 1.6, a proportion I recurrently use to put out terraces, patios, arbors, and lawns. The raised beds in my vegetable backyard are 5 by eight toes. It’s an oblong proportion that at all times seems to be good—they don’t name it golden for nothing!
04: TURN TO THOMAS D. CHURCH WHEN DESIGNING STEPS
One other ratio might even be platinum: That’s what I’ve at all times referred to as the rule for step design advocated by panorama architect Thomas D. Church, typically credited with creating the California type. Specified by his seminal work Gardens Are for Folks, it says merely that twice the peak of the riser plus the tread ought to equal 26 inches. That signifies that if the riser is 5 inches, the tread (what you stroll on) ought to be 16 inches. All I can say is that the rule is true, and I’ve used it from steep canyon faces to light modifications of patio ranges. A helpful corollary states that 5 toes is the minimal width for 2 folks climbing steps facet by facet.
05: SIZE MATTERS
A last rule associated to scale and the sculpting of house is that this: Go massive. Confronted with a choice to make a staircase wider or narrower, a pool longer or shorter, a pergola larger or decrease, the reply is nearly at all times the previous. In my very own backyard, I bear in mind laying out an arbor, with its posts 10 toes excessive, and listening to trusted pals questioning whether or not it wasn’t “just a little too tall.” Fortunately I caught to my weapons, and a few 18 years later, wreathed in wisteria and anchored on the floor by clusters of pots, the arbor appears good.
06: PLANT BIG TO SMALL
It’s with crops, most likely greater than every other component of gardens, that the infinite variation and fickleness of nature is most evident—and so maybe, they’re the trickiest to prescribe guidelines for. And but, profitable planting is the crowning contact of a backyard. Three guidelines have at all times served me nicely.
First, is to plant massive to small: begin with timber, then shrubs, then perennials, then floor cowl. That is necessary not solely in a composition method (seeing the larger types first offers a greater sense of the general construction), however in a totally sensible sense. Setting a giant tree might require equipment or at the least a number of gardeners and ample house for maneuvering and stationing amendments and soils; it might be unhappy to break or undo some newly planted mattress. This appears so apparent, however for plenty of gardeners (the writer included) a block of recent perennials could also be not possible to keep away from planting straight away. Be robust; resist the temptation.
07: PLANT IN MASSES
Whereas there may be a lot to be mentioned for the cottage backyard, with a wealthy array of various planting (certainly, it’s the true grasp gardener who can pull this off), there’s a energy to seeing a amount of 1 plant that’s genuinely affecting. Russell Web page, one of many nice twentieth-century panorama designers mentioned it nicely: “essentially the most putting and satisfying visible pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of 1 easy component. Think about the Parthenon with every column a unique type of marble!”
08: REMEMBER THIS ABOVE ALL
Perhaps my favorite rule of all time, all of the extra charming for its must be adjusted for inflation: It’s higher to plant a 50-cent plant in a $5 gap, than a $5 plant in a 50-cent gap. Imparted by Ralph Snodsmith, my first official gardening instructor on the New York Botanical Backyard and discuss radio host (a personality whose working uniform was at all times a forest inexperienced three-piece swimsuit), there isn’t a higher planting knowledge. Irrespective of how good a plan one conceives, if the crops are usually not nicely planted—on the proper peak, in a sufficiently sized, and correctly amended pit—the outcomes will doubtless be poor. Some guidelines simply can’t be damaged.