Monday, November 25, 2013

Garden Designers' Roundtable: Journey

To journey through a garden is one of life's great pleasures; the rustle of tall grasses swaying in the breeze and tickling the palms of your hands, the fragrance of flowers calming your mind, and the visual interplay of colors, forms, and textures is always engaging.  The "circulation corridors" throughout your landscape can be designed specifically to slow down your journey and allow you to enjoy all that your landscape has to offer.

The shortest — and quickest — distance between two points is a straight line.  This is great for small spaces or when a high volume of traffic is common.
The short span between the public sidewalk and private residence in Telluride (designer unknown) with  beautiful stone veneer paving.
A wide, smooth surface is safe and efficient for heavy use. The rose pergola in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, Great Britain.
One way to slow down your journey is to throw it a curve.  Create a bit of a detour that will encourage your brain to downshift and readjust to a new (garden) experience.
A slower, more enjoyable walk to the front door than the straight alternative, no? (In Denver, CO, designer unknown.)
Bravo to the (unknown) designer for this beautiful, curving stairway in Wheat Ridge, CO — a much more pleasant journey than a straight flight of stairs would offer!
While you're at it, add some height.  This not only reinforces the intent of the curved design (No straying off the path allowed, thank you very much!), but it creates a situation called gradual realization.  When you can't see what's coming around the curve, you tend to slow down a bit while at the same time being pulled forward by the intrigue — humans are awfully curious animals, after all.
My backyard in Wheat Ridge, CO features an active pathway of turf that curves and disappears behind a berm.
This curved, side yard path by Adrienne Brewer in Denver, Colorado, makes for a pleasant journey.
Here's another trick:  make it rough.  Or narrow.  Or crowded.  When your footing is just a little unsteady and each step becomes a conscious act, you will absolutely slow down and enjoy the journey.
This beautifully crafted "river bed path" in the Asian gardens at Denver Botanic Gardens is stunning to look at and creates a noticeable sensation on the feet.
A stone foot bridge in the Japanese garden at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens in New Mexico, requires a bit of attention if you want to stay dry.  And say, what's beyond that bend?

My side yard garden in Wheat Ridge, CO, is stuffed to the gills.  passage through this garden is definitely slow going.
This rough, curving pathway designed by homeowner Holly Finiau fits all of the criteria for a beautiful garden journey.
Gardening is the epitome of slow living, and life is all about the journey.  Enjoy more posts on this topic by my fellow Roundtable Members here:

All photos by © Jocelyn H. Chilvers.


Diane Robb said...

Always enjoy a glass of wine in your backyard - it invites a person to meander, and when one meanders, one can see their vision clearly. Interesting the way this works!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the mix of stone / low plantings, and using curves to get one up a slope (instead of angles / straight lines).

The use of stone I see more in Colorado where the stone alternates on both edges, filled in with groundcover plants, is stunning (i.e. photo #6). Too many flagstone steps lack the importance of having plants fill in...even we in the dry side of the world need some of that, and it occurs on it's I wonder why people hold that back?

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks, Diane --- yes, to meander is to relax!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

David (dryheatblog) --- perhaps the lack of filler plants is a maintenance issue or, more likely, to conserve water. But I agree --- when appropriate plants are used it is a beautiful look.

Robert Webber said...

As always when you post on anything Jocelyn we have the masterclass. Perfection. Best R

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks, Robert, you made my day!

Debbie/GardenofPossibilities said...

Jocelyn, What a great take on the topic. These are all great ways to slow down and literally smell the roses. BTW, what are the masses of white flowers in the photo of your side garden?

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Glad you enjoyed it Debbie! The white flowers in the foreground are Centranthus alba, white Jupiter's beard. The lower growing flowers are snow-in-summer, Cerastium tomentosum. There's a white bearded iris, Iris germanica, in there as well.

Les said...

I've had the pleasure of walking on the river path at DBG, and someday, somewhere, I am going to make my own version.