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Are We There Yet? Designing Gardens that Move and Arrive

Articles: Are We There Yet? Designing Gardens that Move and Arrive

Here, the mind is restrained by precise planting and formality in a crisply defined garden room at Kew Palace, Kew Gardens. Author’s photographs
This article has been adapted from one of a pair of garden design talks presented at the 2005 San Francisco Flower Show. The first talk explored the relationship between the design of garden spaces and the kinds of behavior and movement patterns that different spaces are likely to promote. The second, a subject for a later article, considered how we might design gardens to evoke particular emotional responses. Both talks were intended to provide useful guidelines for garden design but were not meant to offer a foolproof and definitive design process that—if slavishly followed—would guarantee satisfaction. Design—and I suspect life—is just not like that.
Nearly seventy years after Gertrude Stein stingingly rebuked Oakland by asserting “There is no there there,” we find this observation widely applicable. There seems to be no “there” everywhere, and the “thereness” of many destinations seems to elude our arrival. Our mobile mass society has rendered us rootless; our co...

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