May 15, 2019
Within the bounds of a garden you can always create a view. Even if there isn’t something obvious already there, it isn’t the end of the world. Our experience is that there’s always something hidden: maybe behind a hedge or tree there’s a completely new angle – your garden suddenly goes from being inwardly focussed to gaining a whole new dimension. It’s one of the things we strive to do at Dewlands Garden Design to make sure that your outdoor space gives even more than you ever thought it could.
Everybody loves a good view; it’s the thing that most people strive for when it comes to designing a garden. Your view may be experienced from an elevated position, looking out over a wide expanse of countryside; if you don’t have that luxury, it may be more introspective, focussing on the smaller details of your garden. There are many things that we consider when creating beautiful views for our garden design projects to give you an amazing space to look out upon.
Looking out beyond the garden
At Dewlands Garden Design, no garden design project is the same, and we relish the challenge of uncovering the view that may not have been obvious at first: “I once worked on a garden in East Grinstead which had a lovely woodland glade feel to it, but next to it was a big tower block which wasn’t so glamourous,” illustrates Eugene Hill, founder of Dewlands Garden Design. “But on the other side of the garden, beyond the boundary wall, was a lovely little churchyard. If you turned to face it towards the end of the day as the sun began to set, you had this lovely green grass speckled with bluebells and spring flowers and the sun dropping down between the gravestones, and it actually created a spectacular view – which we ultimately built the garden around. We placed a gazebo at the centre of the viewpoint looking out over the churchyard, meaning the unsightly tower block was out of vision and wasn’t looming overhead because the roof of the gazebo shielded it, giving more privacy while looking out over the garden and the view beyond.
“I worked on another little wildlife garden near Barcombe which had some lovely wildflowers and a little pond which originally started as just a mound of earth. When we began, we could just about see through the hedge; there was a slight gap that almost teased us to look out beyond. We went and slightly pulled the branches back to create a hole that you could look out through. Then on the inside we created a turf bank which we turned into an earthen seat, which could then look out through the gap to the chalky downlands outside Lewes and beyond, focussing upon a huge oak tree in the distance. It created a completely different dynamic and energy to the garden.”
Introspective garden views
At Dewlands Garden Design, when we spend time in gardens, we look at opportunities beyond the garden to create a view. But houses – such as those found in towns – aren’t afforded the luxury of long, sweeping, country views; if there isn’t as much opportunity to frame the outside, we start to look at the vistas within the garden: “When thinking about the internal views, what I generally do is work out what the primary axes are to create a view within the garden. For example, you might be looking out from the living room, kitchen/diner or snug window – maybe this window captures a particular spot, so I’ll try and set up a composition as a smaller landscape within that view. So, you may not have the opportunity to capture distant landscapes, but you can create a view from within. You see this quite a lot with Japanese gardens; they do a lot of scene setting with a focus point to look at when sat inside your house. It’s all about creating a dramatic axis in the garden.
“I’ve recently been working on another property in Bromley which has an oddly shaped, long, triangular garden that doesn’t really fit with the geometry of the house. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about the main axes of the garden to try and creating an overlapping structure to maximise the space. I ended up creating a path that follows the house through to the end of the garden. What this does is emphasises the longest points which then become the mental anchor for the garden. Now when people visit, they won’t think ‘Oh, that’s quite a small garden’, they’ll think ‘Wow, that’s a lovely long path, this is massive!’ Then, if you start to think about yourself moving up and down this path, we set up views at either ends which pull you mentally towards it. With this particular view, we framed it with a pergola, bringing the end point into focus to create a brilliant final composition.”
If you’re keen on creating your dream garden, one of the first things you should think about is the views you want to create. Drawing the eye out, creating a pleasing composition and finally framing the piece, whether it be inside or outside the boundaries of your garden is the best way to get started.