The Power of Passion
- By Melanie Jauregui - April 2001

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Working for Feel

     As the concept develops, I not only take into account how each area will be used, but how it should feel as well. Often, this is managed by how different areas relate to each other and how the client will move either physically or visually through the space.

     As an obvious example, it's usually not desirable to place a meditation garden right next to a children's play area. If that's the way it must be for some reason or other, I create a deeper-than-usual buffer and transition zone between these areas and fill it with dense plantings to attenuate sound.
     By creating physical barriers and transition zones between use areas, movement is directed through the space: The mind becomes alert; curiosity is piqued; the visitor feels compelled to explore and discover what lies beyond. This is the element of mystery, and I think it's crucial to good design.

     There are many ways to incorporate mystery into a project. Imagine, for example, the effect of an arbor or of a simple portal pruned through a tall hedge or of a path disappearing around a corner. These are all simple, effective and compelling ways to create transitions from one area to another. And when your designs include water, be it a small waterfeature or a good-sized swimming pool, this sense of discovery can be even more dramatic.
     Line of sight is another design tool upon which I heavily depend. When used sensitively and skillfully, I find that playing with the angles from which certain objects or areas can be seen is an effective and dramatic way to prompt exploration of a garden.

     To be sure, line-of-sight management and manipulation is not new, and you see and find it in all styles of landscape design. From the formal alignments of old-world garden designs to the subtle natural landscapes of Japan, the use and alignment of sight lines and planning with focal points in mind is virtually universal, and the eye is captured along with the imagination as we are compelled to explore
     The Important factor here is the designer's awareness not just of the superficial ways in which lines of sight are used and controlled. Rather, it's how a composite of these outdoor rooms and their lines of sight all relate to one another, how they work together, and how they serve to draw the observer through the garden rooms on a voyage of discovery.

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This is a reprint of an article originally printed in Watershapes Magazine - Volume 3 - Number 3 - April 2001