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Making Gardens Seem Bigger, Part I

Articles: Making Gardens Seem Bigger, Part I

A borrowed landscape scene captivates the eye drawing it across an oval lawn surrounded by shrubs, thereby making the garden space seem larger. Author’s illustrations

[sidebar]Design with plants is the ultimate art of the gardener, but design of the spaces between plants is just as important.

Hugh Johnson, The Principles of Gardening[/sidebar]

What do Roman Emperors, Louis XIV, and gardeners have in common? Among possible answers, the one I shall explore is a desire to make the spaces under their control seem as large as possible. In fact, this is a universal human trait and a goal that designers have pursued for centuries. To satisfy their ambitions, emperors and kings simply conquered new territory or commandeered their noblemen’s estates. Law-abiding gardeners, however, have more limited opportunities. Aside from inching one’s boundary fence onto a neighbor’s property, gardeners must content themselves with subtle and creative methods for enlarging their property through the thoughtful application of design techniques. Because the topic is surprisingly complex, this review is by no means comprehensi...

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