Create More Space! Expand
Small Spaces With These Creative Gardening Techniques
You can fool the eye with a few simple
A common problem of the modem gardener is that the
space you can afford isn't big enough to accommodate your dreams.
Indeed, it may not seem large enough even to accommodate you.
Unless, of course, you know a thing or two about expanding the
Receding colors: "Cool" colors such as
blues, soft pinks, and white seem to recede from the eye. Blue,
in particular, mimics the bluish tint that atmospheric haze gives
to distant objects. Plant the perimeter of the garden in cool
colors, and it will look larger. "Hot" reds, oranges,
and bright yellows, incidentally, have the opposite effect. They
jump out at the eye, and are useful for lending intimacy to too-large
Forcing the perspective: Renaissance artists discovered
that you could lend an illusion of depth to a flat canvas by copying
the way in which natural scenes seem to recede to a single point.
A skillful gardener can use this knowledge to "force the
perspective," that is, to make a landscape seem to have more
depth than it actually does. You can, for example, run a path
straight back through the center of the garden, staking it out
so that the path gradually narrows as it approaches the back fence.
The viewer's eye will assume that the width of the path is uniform,
and that the edges seem to draw together because the path is receding
into the distance.
Similarly, if you clip a hedge so that
it diminishes in height and width at a uniform rate as it draws
away from the viewer, it will seem much longer than it actually
is, Echoing the plantings near to the house with similar but markedly
smaller ones along the back fence also creates an exaggerated
illusion of depth. Southerners could, for example, plant a mass
of vigorous full-sized yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) next to
the back door, and a cluster of dwarf yaupons (Ilex vomitoria
'Nana') at the yard's far edge. Northerners could do the same
with Japanese holly (I. crenata) and its dwarf clones 'Geisha'
Trompe I'oeil: This is a French expression that
means "fool the eye," and there is a trompe I'oeil technique
by which you can double the apparent size of a confined space.
In its simplest form, this involves the use of a
full-length mirror to give an illusion of depth to an enclosing
wall or fence. Mount the mirror on the barrier, setting it at
the end of a path and at a slight angle to the wall or fence so
that when you look into it, you don't see simply a reflection
of yourself. Frame the mirror with a false threshold made of scrap
lumber, tiles or brick, so that when you gaze at it, you seem
to be looking through a door into another garden space. Mask the
mirror's edges with vines and the illusion can be quite convincing.
COPYRIGHT 2001 © Hearst Communications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
BACK TO HOME DECORATING TIPS