Sunday, January 16, 2011

Garden Design - destinations

Our garden journey together has looked at entrances, pathways and special garden ‘moments’ to enjoy along the way. Now let’s look at the final part of the journey; the destination.

Whether toasting marshmallows over the fire or dipping into the water at the
end of the meadow trail, these two destinations are designed to capture your attention.

Your path may be a circular trail with a series of features along the way, one or more of which becomes a mini destination without the need for a grand finale. Or it may be a one-way path which leads to a studio for example, returning by the reverse route in which case the path will have a defined endpoint.

This entry courtyard has it all; luxuriant plantings, an elegant water feature
 and eye-catching stone details.
Wolford garden, Dallas TX
When the journey has a specific arrival point there needs to be a sense of fanfare. Make it clear that this is what you have been aiming for and that it was worth the walk!

In some instances destinations may be an expansion of those little surprises discovered along the way such as a water feature, a piece of sculpture or a simple bench upon which to sit and appreciate a special view.

At the edge of our property is a meadow backed by forest through which leads a partially obscured trail. (Read my post ‘When is a meadow not a meadow’ to see that this is not nearly as romantic as it sounds!). A little way in, the path divides into two; one trail leads through the woods and past spring blooming wild trilliums and native bleeding hearts (Dicentra formosa) while the other leads to a clearing amidst a thicket of alder, willows, salmonberry and conifers. I love to stand at the edge of that clearing and look beyond into the untouched forest, rich with moss and ferns which thrive in the dappled light. Many of these have grown from ancient nurse logs which litter the forest floor. It’s a very special place, the design of which I can take no credit for. 

Here are a few other ideas for destinations to get your creative juices flowing.

Fire-pits have become popular and range from portable copper bowls to stone circles built into a patio. They become a gathering point for friends and family.
A place to listen to the stream far below
Patterson garden, Dallas, TX

Raised look outs provide an opportunity  to survey the landscape below or if you are fortunate enough to have waterfront property a dock becomes a promontory on which to pull up a chair and pour a glass of wine to watch the sunset.
A simple rustic rocking chair and table suit this birch grove
Design by Paul Repetowski, WA

Quiet sitting areas in unexpected places allow us to savor the tranquility.

Entry courtyards may include fountains, grottos or seating areas

There is no doubt that this tropical looking paradise is your
much anticipated destination.
Wolford garden, Dallas, TX

Swimming pools and cabanas surely offer the ultimate in destination WOW factor.

Gazebos and summer houses provide
shelter away from the home.
A whimsical structure beckons.
Bellamy garden, Dallas, TX

Being spat on by a giant frog was one way for friends to cool off at the
Dallas Arboretum this summer!
Fountains are available to suit all size gardens and budgets. They can form tranquil focal points or an interactive fun spot for kids of all ages.

So where will you lead your friends? What do you want to show them? What will they remember from their visit? Design a special journey through your garden and share the experience and a little piece of yourself with others.

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