Posts Tagged ‘garden’

outdoor steps

Outdoor Steps: How to design a flight of outdoor steps

Outdoor steps are a design opportunity. On any site with significant level differences, the design of changes in level is important for appearance, convenience and safety. The size and shape of outdoor steps in new buildings is governed by the local Building Regulations. This control is mainly directed at disabled access to the main entrance but there is always a legal obligation to design safely. The rise and going (tread) dimensions of a formal flight of stairs should be constant. An unexpected difference of only 15mm in the riser can cause people to stumble. As these trees grow and leaf [...]

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Garden Design Tutorial: Banning the Eraser

Why Banning the Eraser will Make you a Better Designer In this garden design tutorial, I ban my students from using an eraser! Instead, I encourage them to make mistakes which can then lead to happy accidents.  I have often used the analogy of ‘writers block’ when it comes to designing.  Some days you can hit the drawing board and everything seems to go like a dream.  While other days you can struggle for hours and get absolutely no-where. This was brought home to me recently while reading a blog by Pat Flynn .  He was describing how he had wasted 4 hours of his time while trying to [...]

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Plant Pots: Designing With Containers

Almost anything that holds soil could be used for plant pots. Shops stock a vast range of traditional ceramic, terracotta, glass fibre and stone pots, some attractive and some hideous. It's important that they are frost proof, so check those imported from Mediterranean or far eastern countries. Be careful of plant pots with narrow necks, as the plant will be almost impossible to remove once its roots have developed. Avoid plastic pots. They are ugly, clash with every colour except, perhaps dark green and quickly become brittle and crack or split. Plant Pots: Creative Ideas There are plenty [...]

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How to Design a Garden: Does Form Follow Function?

Does Form Follow Function?   A long-term and continuing debate has been whether form follows function, or function follows form? Initially, as a trained artist, but novice, student designer, I felt instinctively - and arrogantly - that the functions of the garden could follow its form; in other words, I would be able to design the ground patterns and layout I wanted, and could then translate these into a garden that fulfilled the functions required by the client. This approach is not entirely without merit and remains a luxurious possibility. Particularly if you are presented with a completely [...]

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How to Design A Garden: Nature As Inspiration

Designing with nature requires the designer to develop heightened awareness. Not just of suitable plants for a specific location, but for the genius loci (spirit of Place).  The climate, prevailing wind direction, aspect, gradient, soil, indigenous vegetation, geology, all affect the design choices. Every garden is unique and your job is to recognise, explore and exploit this genius loci, this sense of place. Such wide-ranging knowledge will equip you with the confidence to make selective decisions about the garden. Nature can be a great help. Use it. Make notes on-site about every detail, [...]

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