Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mother Nature as Design Teacher

It's interesting to look at peoples' front yards and backyards. Some have been designed by the owner, others professionally landscaped. Many are great, but others somehow look "wrong".
Perhaps the proportions are incorrect: too few small plants in a sinewy shape clinging to the edge of a large house. Other times it's big boulders and rocks just plunked near the driveway, attempting to make them look natural.
So the question is: how do you make a landscape look as if it just "happened"?
Sometimes you need to observe how Mother Nature did it and the ideas are right before your eyes.

This past weekend we were at up at a friend's cottage and the more I looked around, the more I saw rock formations and plant groupings worth photographing.

Large rocks only look natural if they are buried at least halfway if not two thirds of the way into the ground.

Groups of trees in a front yard look very tidy and formal but here they look very good too, growing where the original seed landed.

Another example of how deeply rocks should be into the ground.

This grouping of a large rock as focal point, with smaller rocks scattered nearby, would probably work best in a rural setting. I loved those little round pockets of vegetation.

Due to the lack of rain, the water level of the lake is down 16"!! I have never seen this many rocks exposed at the end of the Point. But just look at the fabulous composition!

Here are some grasses on the slope of the shore.

The view down the shoreline.

It's amazing what nature can teach you about landscape design. But when I wasn't shooting pictures like crazy, it was lovely relaxing in the summer breeze just gazing out over the lake…...


Indie said...

Rocks and moss are some of my favorite things! What a beautiful and peaceful looking place - the chairs look so inviting!

Astrid said...

Hi Indie
We're invited to this particular cottage once a year so I've been there many times but have never "seen" the landscape the way I did this time. Interesting how your perspective changes!

Nadezda said...

Astrid, your photos remind me our northern nature, with some granite rocks between the pines and birches. I'm glad you liked your trip to the friend's cottage I think the weather was cold. Wasn't it?

Astrid said...

Hi Nadezda
It was 36 degrees C on Saturday - stiflingly hot and humid but there was rain overnight and it became much cooler (23 C) on the Sunday. It's been a hot hot summer here in Ontario and even the same weather 4 hours north, in cottage country.

Jennifer said...

Hi Astrid, First off, I have to say how much I love the photo of the row of green chairs. Is there anything more summery than sitting in a comfortable chair and looking out over a lake?
I agree that nature can be a great inspiration. Rocks placement is one of those garden design things that is most often done very badly. On this year's pond tour I saw more awful, botched rock placement than anything else. Placing rocks may seem like a fairly straight forward thing, but really it is an art.

Astrid said...

Hi Jennifer
I'm glad you enjoyed the shot of the chairs! Every Civic Holiday weekend, with our group of friends all lined up there overlooking the lake, it's always a fun but super-relaxing time.
Garden tours are excellent for seeing the very best and worst that gardeners achieve!
Enjoy the rain - my garden and lawn are already looking greener :)