How to create a vista in a typical town garden
A vista or the feeling of space and distance in a relatively small garden is ambitious but achievable. Even in a 10 acre site getting the proportions and balance is exacting so in a fairly typical London long and narrow garden this can be difficult but not impossible!
There are various tricks of the trade but essentially you need to break the space up. This might seem a contradiction in terms. The smaller the space the more breaks? But this works.
· Vistas in the country are easier because with a big space you have the luxury of using extravagant uprights such as large trees or avenues to channel your eyes towards a particular point in the far distance and the sense of space is automatically there.
· Vistas in a small garden can be more problematic because your eye meets its destination far too quickly and there is nothing there to mask the obvious. So using the same methods as for country vistas can foreshorten the space rather than your aim which is to extend it.
Tips for overcoming the problem with vistas in a small garden
1. First and foremost use trompe l’oeil. This is a method that gives the appearance of reality achieved buy use of small often trivial details or other effects in painting, architecture and design. In other words tricking the eye which gets your imagination working.
2. Add a rose pergola. In a vintage garden my particular love this would frame the vista which gives an intriguing glimpse of the garden beyond.
3. Create a winding cottage garden path punctuated by planting. On the journey along the path you can use tall fine planting such as a small birch or a small copse to deceive the eye.
4. Incorporate a small statue or an interesting piece of topiary a third of the way down the garden or you could plant a small quite wide “airy” tree with fronds such as an Acer to make your vision work through it.
5. Install a bench and small table to the side of the garden with planting opposite to narrow the space giving almost an hour glass effect.
6. Adjust the heights and use steps to another “landing”
Your eye then questions what is around that bend, what is behind that planting, what is beyond that bench or those steps and the garden immediately becomes longer and larger. You have created some mystery and a vista!
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