Tag Archives: Outdoor rooms

A Room with a View

9-4-14 room blog pixIt’s not just a phrase limited to travel destinations or books anymore. And why should it be? We all have indoor windows that seize our attention – like over the kitchen sink or across the dining table. With thoughtful design and intentional plant selection, your view from these indoor windows to the outside can be pleasing and relaxing year round. Maybe without a beach though…

When planning a landscape, it is easy to get overly focused on that front foundation planting or other areas where the public/guests can also see it. What will be planted on either side of the front door, for instance.   But most of us see this view only once or twice per day compared to the inside views that might engage us for an hour or more every day. We call these more compelling views the “primary” view: what you will be looking at most frequently. It might surprise you to figure out where it is at your home. It may also surprise you to see that there isn’t much to look at as of yet since it doesn’t demand public attention.

A primary view could also be a seasonal view from a patio or a deck. In this case, it is still a primary view, holding your attention for a longer length of time, but not a year round focal point. Many people are creating outdoor rooms with furniture and other accoutrements that are snow-filled in winter.   In this situation, your plant selection gracing these views should match the season(s) when you are outside. Maybe a lovely January composition is not going to be appreciated from your lounge chair on the deck.

Once you identify your primary views, put some time and effort into making them special. We are always here to help you create your “Room with a View”.

Put your money where your ‘garden focal point’ is

blog 2 pix goodnough after 5The saying goes, put your money where your mouth is.  For the garden, it might be more appropriate to say: “Put your money where your garden focal point is”.

A FOCAL POINT in the garden is, by definition, “the point at which all elements converge” (www.dictionary.com).   Simply said, the focal point is where your eye is naturally directed and settles for a view.  A focal point earns its prominence by being the specific site that you look at most from the kitchen table, family room or back door, for example.  You don’t have to work hard to find the focal point location–there it is, all the time.

For me, the garden focal point is the mouth piece of any garden or landscape.  It is the part of the garden that “talks” to you – perhaps beckons you to come outside, gives you a spot to sit psychically outside or provides seasonal drama. It concentrates compelling elements in one spot, like the crescendo of a piece of music.

What I have noticed is that not all designers figure out where the logical focal point is before doing a design plan.  And this leads to spending a lot of money for something that no one sees easily.  Nice and fancy, but expensive with little in the way of impact. That is why I place such a premium on finding and developing the focal point area and where I advise my clients to spend their money.  Let me quote another idiom:  Get more bang for your buck with a well located and designed focal point.

Christie Dustman