Inspiration of the living landscape
a garden designer, the landscape around us is full of influence and
beauty. The simplest of shadows, the way light plays on different
materials and the changes the seasons bring are all art in the most
powerful form, the art of nature. Artists of every century have been
inspired by the way nature has the strongest brush and the widest
The following photos are all
examples of everyday scenes, images many of us probably take for granted
but which are the very essence of the influences professional designers
are inspired by.
Designing a landscape isn't just
about which plants to use or which stone paver to choose, it's also
about the 'spirit of the place', that certain something which gives a
place its individual character.
|Intelligent design has
the aim of taking these influences around us and infusing them into the
new design, much the same way as a vintage wine will have the faintest
hint of the soil in which the vine was growing.
It's difficult to
define, it's almost a personal thing, a reaction to looking up into a
tree and seeing the way the network of branches reach outwards in every
direction, walking across a bridge in strong morning sunlight and
noticing the criss-cross of shadows playing across a path.
The seasons change at
such a slow pace, the subtlety of the changes often goes unnoticed.
However, these changes are like way markers for designers who have to
time planting schemes according to the effect they will have have not
only on the eye, but also to the wildlife that often depends on those
plants. Berries, seed heads and shelter from the elements all
combine to provide food and homes for insects and birds. As days
shorten, shadows and light levels change and persuade us to use out
outdoor spaces in different ways.
|The power of
Once you start looking,
it's amazing to see how pattern and rhythm are woven into our
landscape. Repetition helps to calm the mind, bringing a sense of
familiarity and security. Some of the most complex of structures
can have the simplest of patterns. These principles can be integrated
into a design to great effect, be it in the layout of a stone terrace or
the vertical spires of plants used repeatedly throughout a planting
|The detail of
isn't only large structures that have a form of organic architecture to
them. Look down at your feet and you'll see intricate forms that
are just as complex as a cathedral. These details are the joy of
designers, allowing spaces to become personal environments, drawing on
our memories and our emotional responses to the things around us.
age of materials
There isn't a square
metre of ground that you can walk on that doesn't have a history
trailing back through time itself. This appreciation of the age of the
environment leads to a 'sense of place' which in turn gives birth to
ideas for linking the past to the future. Contemporary design,
although modern still has its influences in the past. It's how we treat
this knowledge of age and influence that allows designers to develop new
these photos have been taken by professional photographer,
Simon's expert eye has captured the spirit of the surrounding landscape.
photos copyright Simon Earwicker, reproduced by kind permission. To view
more of Simon's landscape photographic