“I know it when I see it.” Are you familiar with that expression? In regards to art, furniture, film or wine, we don’t always find the right words to describe what moves us. Nevertheless we do get an indescribable feeling when seeing a satisfying thing or tasting perfection on the palate, and those moments are unforgettable.
Undoubtedly, many design projects start with that goal: to create an environment in which we feel at ease, secure and nurtured. To me, the landscapes that achieve these objectives are ones who convey a genuine sense of place. And that is a dream for most spaces.
It does not have to be like that. And with a budget is the secret.
A sense of location in the garden is accomplished if our senses are enlivened, when we feel at home, wherever that house is. These eight designs show some strategies to make that feeling on your personal landscape.
Lori Smyth Design
1. Give elements to it. There is everything to love about this outdoor room: The obvious”door” through which one enters (complete with a stone mosaic”area rug” at the threshold), the steps that ascend to a welcoming outdoor area, the existence of aromatic lavender to stimulate sensory memories, the refuge of a roof overhead and the warmth of the fire in the hearth.
Exquisitely appointed, this garden has a distinctive perspective. As soon as you settle , leaving would be unthinkable!
Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
2. Capture vistas and vignettes. Modern lines, materials and plantings abut this semiwild, meadow-inspired grass hillside. This scene delivers a gorgeous, inwardly focused point of view. Nevertheless the remote landscape is equally strong, a living work of art that’s ever changing.
For anybody who sits , the vista is just as much part of the plan scheme as the deck, the seat and the raised planters. It’s a set piece written with aim — a present to people who come seeking the healing power of nature.
Lankford Associates Landscape Architects
3. Create a gorgeous strategy. I love the partially hidden facet of the beachy chairs area. A great deal of gardens have two strategically placed Adirondack chairs, but rarely has this familiar pairing been alluring. An opening in the tall grasses provides a glimpse of the seating area — a secure promontory at the edge of the sea.
Sense of place is amplified by the crunchy pebbled walkway, the soft mounds of grasses and ground covers that encroach on both sides, and the pleasing knowledge that one will shortly ensue upon the water at the end of the journey.
Debora carl landscape layout
4. Elevate the normal. A single thing, a dark metallic planter that one could easily find at a garden centre, is treated as a work of art. Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima) adorns the garden floor like a plush carpet, even though a simple, streamlined fence creates a gallery-like wall that defines the space.
With no pot this region of the garden would reduce its sense of location; with it there is a powerful perspective. The pot is a surprising focal point here — It looks magnificent against the glowing grass at its base.
5. Use scale for impact. A breezy, covered dining room is a bonus for any home or garden, but this one gets high marks for its daring accents. Upon enteringthere is no doubt that it’s a unique, highly personal space in which to dine and surely to linger.
The exceptional set of lights hung from the overhead rafters and their companion sconce mounted on a column are grand in scale and tasteful in detail. The tropical plants, placed strategically to decorate the house’s stucco exterior and lend garden-interest detail, complement the lighting. The vase of flowers has an identical scale, connecting visually with all the lighting overhead and the picture fronds around the room’s perimeter.
6. Luxe it up with layers. You might think this scene is the final one that I’d explain as luxe, but in spite of the fact that this outdoor dining space is modest and decorated with easy lengths of cloth, it’s a genuine character — producing a sense of place for people who come .
Why it works:
• Draped canopy: Manufacturers of cloth (possibly a number of repurposed drapes, shower curtains or sheets) were stitched together and suspended to make a casbah-like roof overhead.
• Fanciful floors: Outdoor area rugs soften the floor and add a jolt of color.
• Table discussion: The little café table is the center of attention , its patterned cloth echoing the reds and blues used elsewhere.
• Pillows, cushions, cushions: The ordinary seat became a chaise with some comfy cushions tossed on.
7. High style plus high function. This beautiful outdoor fireplace and courtyard are sure to draw attention from humans in search of the warmth and relaxation of flame. But examine the stunning old-brick flooring. The designer thoughtfully focused on this vast surface area and gave it a strong part to play from the seating area.
The bricks form concentric circles, with the centre aligned perfectly with the fireplace. Radial symmetry is at play — and it’s like a strong bull’s attention. The floor could have been completed with all the anticipated row upon row of brick pavers, but instead it’s both functional and decorative. You can not take your eyes away!
8. Less is often much, much more. The word”uncluttered” comes to mind with this particular grassy nook. One Ali Baba–scale urn plus one easy, striped awning chair, and all a sudden the space has a point of view.
The urn feels permanent, anchoring the base of a tree trunk. The chair is less so, but that’s part of its allure. Plunked down for an instant, the chair turns a lush, tropical atmosphere into a room — something to be visited and occupied, instead of just observed. (Imagine an outdoor dining table plus six chairs instead and you will see exactly what I mean. They would dominate the space, making it impossible to view the plantings). I like to imagine getting this space all to myself, thank you very much!