Thursday, October 11, 2012

Triangles, Circles and Squares - oh my!

Math was never my strongpoint. In fact, my attempts to understand math in school were dismal failures.
Art, on the other hand, was my favourite class! When I started gardening, I realized that I liked to compose "pictures" using plant shapes and colours. Had someone pointed out to me that math was involved there too, I would have denied it, but it's true.
The most successful landscape design is based upon proportionately combining mathematical shapes - triangles, rectangles, squares and circles.
While on vacation this summer, I couldn't help but notice the evergreen placement beside the greenhouse of a friend's property that we visited.

Across the front area they have an upward curving mugho pine, then a low-growing golden juniper and then a lighter coloured shrub.
Across the back there is a large triangular spruce and a smaller triangular one.

Once you start looking for geometric shapes, it's easy to identify them and see how they fit together in a well balanced way.

This probably just "happened" (because the building was constructed long after the garden was planted) but the 2 triangles in the garden are echoed by the triangular roof of our friend's cottage.

Many formal gardens are designed using geometric shapes.

The allee of trees are like lollipops. Their rounded tops echo the curves in the castle windows. This is Rundale Palace in Latvia.

Arched half circles add a soft elegance to the garden area.

Look at the shapes here - so easy to spot when you really look.

It's also fun to look at scenic spots and realize that Mother Nature has an innate sense of design and proportion.

This is Ventas Rumba (the Venta river waterfalls) in Latvia - hardly Niagara, but it is famous in that it's the widest waterfalls in Europe.

Take a look at your own garden and see if adding a circular shrub or triangular evergreen would not add accent to your perennial border.


Gardens at Waters East said...

Nice of you to give the tour and the principles. Here in the gardens on the shores of Lake Michigan I see the geometric design happening, sometimes without me even trying. Good pointers today. Jack

Nadezda said...

Of course the mathematics and proportions laws in design are similar in the sciences.
and you're right the tapered or rounded plants are always the focus in the landscape.
Have a nice weekend1

Alistair said...

Fabulous pictures Astrid and you have convinced me that even I am a bit of a mathematician.

Jennifer said...

Hi Astrid, I absolutely agree that math and geometry do lie under the surface of most great planting schemes. Using geometry gives the gardener one more tool to work with.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the tour. The formal gardens are pretty amazing. I liked the image from Latvia. It is a place I will never see in real life.

Cecilia Green said...

It is true that designing a landscape also requires good mathematical skills, but not as much as you need a very good eye for landscaping. The element of line is what makes a landscape fascinating. It refers to the viewer’s eye movement governed by the arrangement of plants and the garden’s borders – both horizontal and vertical. Once you visualize the entirety of the landscape, the rest of the steps of designing it will follow.

Cecilia Green

Astrid said...

Hi Everybody!
Thanks for all your comments. Very much appreciated. Just got back from a lovely sunny Florida vacation so I'm just checking the blog now.
Tomorrow I will have time to catch up on all your blogs :)

tahir ilyas said...

wow math effect in a garden i have seen first time the triangles circles and squares are very good.