Friday, January 25, 2013

The Unintentional Landscape

Gardens that aren't "GARDENS" (stiff pinky finger----tea cup, pursed-lips) appeal to me.

Wall garden, Montalcino, Italy
Hillside terrace garden, Ravello, Italy
Florence, Italy
Peach Orchard, Greene, Maine, USA
In Ravello, Italy terrace gardens are the rule and every available space serves double purpose. A trellis that will shade in summer covers a walkway and also bears fruit.

It is often my litmus test of a successful landscape design or building project that the final result seems...unintentional.

To create such a place, I train myself to see the elements that are shouting 'ME, ME, ME!' and remove them or subdue them.  They may be ones that exist on the site or ones I have placed inappropriately.

Of course, if a 'ME' garden is what is called for, the design must not shy away from shouting.  We'll call this 'Boldness' to give it its due.

An example of such landscape design strikes me every time I visit the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.  This is a set of museum buildings on a hilltop that is so well-tuned that even the most extravagent landscape features seem natural.

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