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Posted by isabella__ma z5_MA (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 4, 10 at 8:35

My recent library selection of landscape and garden reading was "10,000 Garden Questions" . This book has a list of questions answered by about 20 experts. It must be an older book as the copyright is 1944 through 1982, which is cool, because I like to read older text for contrast to current ideas.

In the section on planning the landscape, there was the question what are the principles to consider in the design of a garden? In this list they had enclosure as a design priciple, which intrigued me. The garden "room" concept is how this seems to be referenced now, and I have never understood how to embrace this (or in some cases the need to).

But in any landscape design book or photo layout in a magazine, enclosure is seen in the photo. Maybe it's the limitation of the photo field of view compared to what the human eye can see, or enclosure has been a critical design element (.. not priciple) planned from the start. A solid fence around the garden, tall hedges, or tall mixed border planting is a component of many of the great pics in magazine shots. It focuses the eye inside the garden on the plantings or towards some other anthropogenic object, but it appears to be deliberate. If the external garden view is great (not your neighbours car or pool), then keeping the eye in the garden seems to be a design objective.

I'm sure you already knew this though, but it was one of those now I get it moments that comes up that I had to ramble on about.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Enclosure

I am guessing that a recent photo here prompted this post.

Whether enclosure warrants a separate entry under principles of design is debatable as the objective is to direct the attention and could come under the unity heading. Something has to impress the viewer that this is it and that is something else in the way that a frame does for a painting. The easiest way to enclose a garden (English sense) is with a fence, hedge or wall and without this unity needs to come from other sources to prevent the eye from wondering from your gazebo and nicely cut out flower bed over flat land to the neighbours rockery and the houses beyond.

RE: Enclosure

Ann Lovejoy is a pretty current landscape/garden writer, and she lists Enclosure as one of maybe 5 fundamental considerations in design. (Don't have the book in front of me, but that's my recollection.)

RE: Enclosure

Enclosure is certainly a 'consideration' in design. And is incredibly useful, especially in smaller spaces. And if well done, in large spaces.

But as in paintings, it depends on what you want the viewer to experience. How are you leading the eye around the canvas, or in this case, the feet and eyes around the living landscape.

Enclosure certainly can be a wall or hedge, or that same principle can be a sharp curve in the path that leads to another area of very different feel. The change can be to another 'room', or can be a sudden view of wide-open vista.

For me, it is the concept that helps me turn two acres of open lawn into a complex place with coves for conversation, relaxing walks among gardens of different feels, places overlooking open areas with comfy benches.

"Enclosure" as a principle, for me, is just how you want people to experience their moves around the landscape. Depends on the property, and is endlessly flexible.

RE: Enclosure

  • Posted by laag z6CapeCod (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 5, 10 at 7:00

The principle is degree of enclosure. This includes implied enclosure, subtle definition of space, sense of periphery,.....

The word implies solid enclosure to most people, but that is just the extreme at one end of the spectrum with a blank horizon being the extreme at the other. The principle that is present in any and all composition is somewhere in between and therefore ever present.

RE: Enclosure

Very interesting!


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