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Making Gardens Seem Bigger, Part II

Articles: Making Gardens Seem Bigger, Part II

Bright rhododendrons in full flower make our eyes dance back and forth as we look up into this space, subtly altering our perception of its shape and size with the seasons (Kubota Garden, Seattle). Author’s photographs
In the previous installment (July ’07), the author focused on shaping spaces and manipulating their surrounding plant masses. He now turns to possibilities for manipulating spatial perceptions that are inherent in the physical and visual characteristics of plants. Fundamental to this discussion is the goal of retaining attention within the space itself by making the plant surfaces interesting. This is not difficult to do, as plants are intrinsically interesting, but it is how plant characteristics can be used to influence perceptions, and how this influences the space manipulations that were discussed previously, that may reinforce or negate space formation decisions.
In considering how plant characteristics can affect the apparent size of garden spaces, we need to accept two assumptions. First is the notion that visual complexity contributes to interest; in other words, a space with a complex ...

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