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109 Garden design by Colette Charsley Space, the Final Frontier I


t may seem obvious, but all gardens exist in three dimensions. It is too easy to only think about the horizontal plane. However, what we must consider as well is the verticality of space and the mass of plants and structures. All gardens have a horizontal boundary beyond which they cannot physically extend. But, there is one dimension that is almost without limit. Upwards. If you delineate or frame your space


with trees, tall planting or structures such as arbours, pergolas or obelisks you claim ‘ownership’ of it and your garden will feel like you have made it larger. This is because you have provided structure and a frame for the vertical as well as the horizontal dimensions of the garden. You will have made that perceived increased volume of space yours simply by putting a boundary all around it. Your mind will fill in the gaps and give them substance. What was originally just empty space will now become ‘owned’. Another benefit is that there will be


a greater sense of enclosure, of being embraced and held by your garden. Sometimes too much space without any form of vertical boundary or frame can feel very uncomfortable. Most of us don’t tend to sit in the middle of large open spaces if we can avoid do-


What was


ing so. It’s why if you put a box in the middle of an empty floor a cat will immediately sit in it. People often make the mistake of only looking down and using plants and features that are small simply because there is a modest area in the garden; be it a planting bed, terrace or the garden as a whole. Whilst the surface treatment, ground cover and the mid story are important, use of tall features of either plants or structures are vital in creating a fully formed garden. Another factor to make use of is the


space between plants or structures. These voids also have a shape, form and mass that will add to the feeling


originally just empty space will now become ‘owned’


of solidity within a garden. If you frame space, you will add it to the per- ceived size and heft of the garden. Vertical objects do, however, need


to be in proportion to the space they will occupy. Generally speaking, a single spec-


imen tree, arbour/pergola or obelisk will create a focal point and draw your gaze upwards. Bearing this in mind try to find plants that grow taller rather than wider. Unless they are leylandi! Beam me up, Scottie.


colette@charsleydesign.com www.charsleydesign.com t: 01548 581753 m: 07774 827799 Follow me on Twitter @ColetteCharsley • Instagram colettecharsley Professional Landscape & Garden Design


Creative and beautiful designs for village, town and country gardens


Colette Charsley PG Dip OCGD t: 01548 581753 m: 07774 827799


colette@charsleydesign.com www.charsleydesign.com


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