Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gardens from the Inside out

Tips and Excerpts from “Outside the Not So Big House” by Julie Moir Messervy, landscape architect, and Sarah Susanka, author of “The Not So Big House”

Winter is a good time to evaluate the connection between the house and the yard. Certainly pathways become far more important in getting from one place to another. And, for those of us who love being outdoors, windows and connecting structures like hallways, patios and arbors play a much more valuable role in bringing the outdoors in. 
       The book “The Not So Big House” aimed at better use and expansion of small spaces. In “Outside the Not So Big House”, Susanka worked with landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy to carry that a step further—into the landscape surrounding our homes. Here’s a few suggestions and excerpts:
  • “Framed openings, such as windows and doors, help you to establish a visual link between inside and out. In addition, building transitional spaces, like decks, porches or balconies, makes the space between building and landscape more accessible.”
  • Using local plants and hardscape materials, ties the home landscape to the larger, natural landscape, besides being environmentally smart in many other ways (use local!).
  • Borrow the landscape to expand the sense of space--from neighbors, long distance views, etc.
  • Corners within homes and other buildings are important—they make us feel sheltered, comfortable, nestled (they’re always the most sought-after tables in a restaurant). Corners with a view are even more appealing.
  • Repeating forms and materials is one of the best way to tie the inside to the outside—colors, stones, geometric patterns, even the same plants.
  • “Vertical shapes demand our attention, whereas long, horizontal shapes feel restful to the eye.”
  • “When a window or doorway is aligned with an important feature in the surrounding landscape, there’s a powerful sense of order and balance.”


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