Landscape architects manipulate space by carefully considering the resulting effects. We very purposefully cultivate opportunities to see a landscape with fresh eyes. At Lovinger Robertson in Eugene, Oregon, we form close working relationships with our clients in order to understand the way they want to interact with their landscapes. This understanding serves as our primary guide during the process of master planning – which in essence is an orchestration of landscape spaces that unfold in a deliberate sequence.
There are places on your property that are special. Places that you want show off to your friends. It may be a walk to get there. But we don’t want to race ahead and skip right to the big reveal. That would be a pretty boring, one note garden performance. Even a tiny courtyard garden can harbor sweet surprises and seasonal change. Why not build a whole symphony of experiences that allows your garden to show off its entire range of potential?
We move through gardens. This means that we can take advantage of the ways in which we tend to physically interact with the space around us. Wide, straight, smoothly paved pathways bounded by vegetation encourage us to move quickly through a space, rapidly getting us from here to there. Winding stone paths encourage us to slow down and enjoy the special planting jewels at our feet. Large terraces with generous seating encourage social gathering. Shady nooks invite personal retreats or close conversations.
What is the character of the journey through these spaces? What do we see as we move through the landscape – not just in our immediate space but also spaces across a distance? Do we see a long view down an allée? Are we looking across a meadow and admiring the interplay of light and shadow? Do we spy a folly on the other edge of a pond? Or maybe a cleverly placed mirror in an intimately sized space reflects a gorgeous section of our garden that is outside our cone of vision.
We can admire at a distance or be seduced to get closer through invitations to explore. A simple bridge spanning the most modest distance begs to be crossed. Giving small previews of places to be discovered whets the appetite for more. We may be walking along when we catch a glimpse through an opening in the trees or a window in a wall of something beautiful – light glinting on water’s surface, a cacophony of flowers in bloom, or a sweeping view across a valley. We remember that moment in the back of our minds as we move through different spaces. Suddenly, we round a corner and – ah! There it is!
The process of getting to the special places in our garden prepares us to stretch our enjoyment to maximum heights. The choreographed journey allows us to incrementally shed our worries, stress, and cares so that we can find peace and appreciation in our gardens over and over again.