2nd Edition – July 2014

Welcome back to The Compost Heap!


As promised, in this edition I am going to look at some of the elements of garden design. Specifically the impact of LINES…..


Via our senses, our brains are bombarded by trillions of bits of information every second! Fortunately we have a built in ability to filter this information to only be consciously aware of what’s important to us. If this wasn’t so we would all go crazy.


So, when we first look upon a beautiful garden we perceive consciously only what impacts on us … and it is a generalized view of what we see. Subconsciously, there’s a whole lot more going on and it’s this background information that we need to bring to the fore when we start considering what it is that needs redesigning in the garden.


Here’s the trap…..  Your garden has some open spaces that need filling, so you go down to your local nursery to see what they have that could work. When you get there, unbeknownst to you, you are subjected to sales psychology…. Big batches of Daisies or tables filled with colourful seedlings or a newly released plant with interesting flowers… so you buy one because you thinks its pretty and you can fit it into one of the spaces or even into any other place you can find… its an emotional purchase!


When you get home and plant your plants you discover that they don’t seem to have the same impact that they had in the nursery… and after some time you have forgotten about that plant, it hasn’t flowered or grown as you have expected and it will be condemned to a waste of the R100 you paid for it..


Before you go and spend that money STOP!! And become consciously aware of the visual impacts of your garden, starting with foundational things such as lines.


Lines subliminally impact on the way in which you see something by manipulating your eyes in a split second… let’s look at some lines.


Firstly, Vertical lines:


These have the effect of leading your eyes either up or down. Take a look at the vertical lines created by these trees..


See how the eye is led in an upward direction?

vertical2vertical 1.Image supplied


Similarly, Horizontal lines will lead the eye sideways like this…

Horizonatl lines

Circular or square shapes will lock your attention so consider their use very carefully.


And curved lines make for an interesting visual guide to your garden …


So before you rush out to the nursery, become conscious of the lines in your garden in the form of plants and trees, the edge of your lawn and the shapes created by paths and paving. Grab some paper and a pencil and play around with lines … now you are starting at the beginning- a good place to start.


Until next time, Happy designing!


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