Make Your Garden Feel Bigger by Stealing a Little Something From The Landscape Around You
Want to make your plot look larger?
Then pinch a detail from outside your garden boundaries. It’s a really quick and easy designer trick, and it can transform the feel of your garden. All you need to do is frame an interesting snippet of the landscape beyond your plot and your eye will be drawn outwards to it. Whether that pleasing feature is a glimpse of a distant horizon or just next-door’s tree, it will lend your garden a sense of spaciousness that belies its boundaries. This isn’t a new idea. Japanese garden design has used the concept of ‘shakkei’, which translates as ‘borrowed scenery’, for centuries. Techniques not only incorporate a view into a garden but create illusions to increase the sense of expansiveness.
For example, shrubs might be planted to frame a view of a distant woodland, concealing a garden fence to make it look as if those trees are part of the plot. And, by choosing big-leaved shrubs, the smaller-leaved trees would appear further away. Incorporating the more alluring parts of the surrounding landscape in this way is also called ‘ikedori’, which means ‘captured alive’.
FIND YOUR BORROWED VIEW
If you’re lucky enough to have a fabulous view from your garden, like Sally’s vista of the Yorkshire hills, see p22, then a simple pergola will frame the vista perfectly such eye-popping scenery needs little assistance to grab your attention! But don’t despair if not even the smallest, most overlooked urban garden can steal a view or two if you’re clever. First, take a walk around your garden to see what little gems are within sight. Pay particular attention to the views from your favourite relaxing spots, so sit down on your outdoor sofa or lie on your sunlounger and see what you can spy. What you’re looking for is a little bit of loveliness perhaps you can see a church spire or a stone wall? A neighbour’s tree? If one or more of your boundaries abuts a field or open ground, then get out your stepladder and have a look over the top to see what would be visible if you were to create a see-through frame in your fence. In an urban garden, you’ll have to be more creative. Can you spy a shapely chimney pot or an interesting bit of architecture? And don’t forget you always have an expanse of sky to frame!
There are lots of ways to frame your view. You could use a man-made material and install a modern arch or a ring of Corten steel (try Corten Steel Moon Gate, £1,469.72, etsy.com). Simply shaping the top of a wooden fence can draw your attention to a feature, or cut a hole in it. Trim the branches of a tree to reveal, then fringe, a view, or gradually enlarge a circular window in a hedge to capture and encompass a landscape detail. And don’t forget to look up! Use a well-placed water-feature or glass-topped table to reflect the shapely leaves of a neighbour’s tree, or simply fill a few pots with tall-stemmed blooms to sit either side of your sunlounger and frame your view of the sky.