Defining Space

Our need to define space started when we had to protect ourselves from invaders.  Food and water, essential to life had to be protected as well, hence the ancient “Walled” or “Medieval” garden.

In our homes we have the walls and ceiling to define our space.  In our landscape we may have large trees or the sky as the ceiling.  Fences, trellis’, hedges and trees act as walls.  Turf, cement, gravel and soil act as our flooring.  We decorate our interior walls and we do the same outside by using plants that complement one another by contrast or harmony.  Contemporary gardens use plant material on a scale unsurpassed in our whole gardening history.

Outdoor rooms helps us define our space.  Decks and patios are built to expand our living space by being easily accessible from the indoors, which makes them efficient for entertaining and elevating to appreciate a view.  Sometimes the view beyond the garden is worth keeping, by framing the view with plants and built structures we enhance the beauty of our outdoor space.  Other times we need to screen unattractive views or make our gardens more private.  Adding a hedge or a mixed border planting creates a living wall that is ever changing.

As we move further into the outdoor landscape, beyond the deck we see a space that needs to serve many purposes that may include a play area for children and/or pets, a fire pit, entertaining, relaxing and for sure gardening.  By dividing this space into multipurpose outdoor rooms, we can define where activities will be.  Plants offer a softer look than built structures but both have their place in garden design.  The height and density of our outdoor walls will suggest how separate we want our outdoor rooms to be.