What to do with those pesky places that defy definition?
Turns out they're the best spots for unexpected art or water features.
In this third installment of a four-part series on challenging terrain, landscape designers offer tips on getting creative with crevices.
The opportunity: Create garden surprises.
How: Those weird little sections of the yard, the angles and inexplicable nooks, naturally lend themselves to privacy. Designers can use them to create cozy little alcoves.
“Now the client has a reason to go out there, and it’s a nice, private place to have a cup of coffee,” says Ben Bowen, head designer with Ross Northwest Watergardens in Portland, Ore.
Because in many cases these little imperfections aren’t immediately obvious, they also provide an opportunity to incorporate elements of surprise into the landscape. The areas can become settings for statues or pots that one might not see until they come around a corner.
Designers can take another approach to angles: Think about how they would be disguised inside a home. For example, you might place a sofa in front of it at a 45-degree angle, with an attractive table and lamp in the corner behind it. The outside equivalent would be a bench with an evergreen bush as a nice backdrop.
“Then you don’t realize it’s an acute angle,” says Eric King, owner of King Landscaping serving the greater Atlanta area.
But there’s a nuance to this that not everyone gets right, he warns. In their zeal to fill these cavities, some people overplay their hand by installing their most eye-catching art. This draws attention to the very thing you’re trying to downplay.
Instead, consider simple evergreens.
“Then put your art somewhere else, where you might have a long, beautiful wall,” King suggests. “Do the drama where you want people to look.”
It’s sleight of hand.