23 Apr How clever garden design will enhance the view from your garden
Whether it’s your neighbour’s shed roof or beautiful rolling farmland, every garden has a view. Here’s how clever garden design can enhance the view from your garden.
In our blogposts, we’ve briefly touched on the idea that a garden should complement the age and style of property that sits within it. Head Garden Designer Katie Moyles also believes that it’s important that the garden should blend well with the local environment and, if possible, enhance the view beyond the property.
Making the most of a beautiful view
All of our projects are an absolute joy to work on, but the ones with fantastic views take garden design opportunities to the next level. And that’s been true for garden designers throughout history.
Take the famous designer Lancelot Capability Brown for example. He was at work in the eighteenth century and was known for manipulating views by redesigning vast swathes of the landscape. Formal gardens beside the house afforded views of lakes, copses of trees, and maybe a folly or two. Audley End House in Saffron Walden, Essex boasts one of his designs and is well worth a visit.
Not many people have the opportunity or the budget to work on the same scale as Capability Brown but there are still plenty of garden design tricks to help you make the most of the landscape beyond your garden. There are lots of ideas to improve privacy too.
This is a prime example of using garden design to enhance the view. This is East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden on the Norfolk Coast. A robust boundary hedge protects the garden from strong coastal winds but garden designer Alan Gray has very cleverly left a gap framing the view of Happisburgh Church. At the other end of this walkway, the gap in the hedge is mirrored to frame Happisburgh Lighthouse. This is a great garden to visit for inspiration.
Boundary fences and hedges
A boundary fence has more than one function. First of all, it marks the perimeter of your property. It affords security – keeping dogs and toddlers in and unwanted visitors out. And of course it has visual benefits too. A neat post and rail fence allows unbroken views of what lies beyond the garden. A high shiplap fence offers complete privacy, whilst a picket fence at the front of a property allows good views both in and out of the garden.
This new driveway was designed by Tapestry Design Studios and installed by Holland Landscapes. Clever use of a variable height fence detracts from the view of the street and offers privacy, whilst mature trees enhance the view. Eventually, the laurel hedge will be allowed to grow a little taller. The newly planted beds have yet to establish. Katie’s planting plan will ensure that this shaded area will have lots of interesting colours and textures all year round so that the homeowners are less tempted to look beyond the garden.
If it works well with the area you are in, why not be unconventional and find a different material to mark the boundary? Woven willow hurdles? Die-cut metal screening?
Hedges are fabulous for screening and for wildlife. There is a small matter of maintenance though. For a hedge to be neat, and have a lovely thick structure to it, it needs regular trimming. Is that something that you can do or will you need to add a contractor to your ongoing maintenance budget?
There’s a fine line between embracing the wider landscape and losing all sense of peace and privacy.
Wide vistas encouraging you to explore the landscape beyond are just amazing. But not if there is a public footpath on the opposite side of the fence so that you are constantly under scrutiny from passers-by. Clever planting, that partially obscures the view but allows you to take sneaky peaks into the area beyond can bring a kind of magic to a garden. But at the end of the day it’s all about your own taste and style.
This large rural garden has uninterupted views of the countryside beyond. As there is no public access to the woods and fields it would be a shame to hide them from view. A discreet fence marks the boundary line.
Disguising a disappointing view
In some gardens, the wider landscape is not all that appealing and so it’s important to improve the view by obscuring it.
Trees are rather good at extending the height of a boundary fence without blocking out all of the light or turning your garden into something resembling a prison yard. Be careful with your choice of tree though. Think very hard about its growth habit and whether there is a risk of annoying the neighbours with overhanging branches.
This small garden design uses slender trees and a pergola to interrupt the view both to and from the neighbouring properties. Varying forms and colours in the planting plan steer the eye away from the wider view and make the garden feel more private
If there is no chance of changing the view or obscuring it, the best thing you could do with your garden is make is so beautiful that you don’t ever want to look beyond it. Take this front garden for example. It’s a good sized garden with a view of the street. Granted, it’s a nice street, but parked cars don’t have the same appeal as parkland. Katie has devised a planting plan for this garden that looks spectacular all year round. It leads the eye away from everything that’s happening on the other side of the fence.
When there is nothing you can do to enhance the view from your garden, all you can do is make the garden so lovely that you don’t want to look beyond it. This was garden designer Katie Moye’s tactic when designing the front garden of this lovely Edwardian property. Note the fence offering privacy from the neighbouring house and the young hedge growing by the front railings
How to enhance the view when the eyesores are inside your garden
Modern life includes some very ugly features. Wheelie bins, bike sheds, compost bins, washing lines, workshops, wheelchair ramps, boring brick walls– the list goes on. We all hate them but we all need them.
Wood is not the only fencing material. Behind this blue glass screen are some of the practical garden features that do nothing to enhance the view. Coloured glass bricks allow light to filter through but protect the seating area from passers by, summer breezes and the sight of the family laundry hanging on the linen line
A good garden designer will help you find ways to disguise those everyday eyesores and make them either beautiful or invisible. It’s amazing what you can do by introducing a small screened-off seating area, diverting a path, changing the shape of a fence or introducing bright colours to distract the eye. It’s just a small-scale version of what Capability Brown was famous for. Garden Designers have an ability to think outside the box – and even if I do say so myself, the team at Tapestry Design Studios are rather good at it.
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