Garden Design – Views, Vistas & Frames

Trees, shrubs and garden structures can be utilized to frame views within the garden or vistas or the distant landscape. They can also help draw attention to favorable elements within a garden and distract from unfavorable ones.

Larger trees are quite effective when framing views outside of the garden. By framing vistas of distant landscapes, large trees, planted on either side of a lawn, for example, can be used to emphasize the “borrowed landscape” of a meadow or mountain. Borrowed landscape refers to the landscape which is not formally part of a garden but which enhance a garden through its view.

Thinking in Shapes

Boxwood ShapesEvergreen shrubs are very useful when trying to direct a view towards a particular element in the landscape, such as a flower garden or a fountain. A long shrub border, for instance, with an opening can reveal the garden beyond. Smaller trees with a horizontal branching structure, such as the dogwood or Japanese lilac provide the necessary width to form impressive and framed garden views.

Smaller trees also work well when framing specimen plants, garden art or elements of the landscape you may want to emphasize. Selective pruning and “limbing up” may be required to expose a garden scene. Tall shrubs planted along or at the end of a path can frame views of an adjacent garden.

Garden structures, such as arbors, can also draw one’s attention to garden elements and frame a garden scene in much the same way as trees and shrubs.

Remember views change through out the year. In summer, deciduous trees are as effective as evergreens when screening out views.

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