Creating a new gardening tradition


Edna Walling grew up in Devonshire England, but was destined for renown as a landscape architect in a very different landscape and climate from her native home.

Her family migrated to New Zealand when she was fourteen and three years later to Australia.

Following the tradition of Gertrude Jekyll who was influenced by the design philosophies or the Arts and Crafts Movement, Walling sought to unify the garden with architecture.

Her design approach is said to be based a set of design ethics;

* Work with existing landscapes and existing features such as slopes, rocks and trees

* Begin by sculpting the surface of the land, preferably not levelling it

* Create a unity between the house and garden

* Use architectural principles to structure the garden and soften with dense planting

* Individually design for each house and garden and the needs of the client

* Keep garden maintenance to a minimum

To read more

Source:  Garden at MAWARRA

12 thoughts on “Creating a new gardening tradition

  1. Jasmine

    They may be simple principles, they are very interesting in the measure you want to create a unique garden that respect both the landscape and the needs of the client.

  2. Tom Turner

    Yes: (1) the principles Edna Walling describes are classically Arts and Crafts, or Repton-Jekyll in personal terms, but, (2) because they are thoughtfully applied to the Genius Loci and the flora of New Zealand, they can indeed be used to ‘create a new gardening tradition’.

  3. Christine

    Perhaps Tom could assist with some principles for
    (1)highrise balcony gardens to promote something truly worth seeing and spending time in? And in an optimistic mood, as well as create a market demand that is a little more discerning? []
    (2)common gardens surrounding highrise buildings and complexes to create amazing semi-private and public spaces that could astound with their parklike qualities and originality! []
    (3)adding to the community garden genre [!OpenDocument]

  4. Tom Turner

    The Denver balcony looks a really useful space [ ] though I guess it only works with American space standards. In most parts of the world people would glaze a balcony like this to create more indoor space. The principles of designing a good balcony are, as ever, commodity+firmness+delight:
    Commodity: the balcony needs to be large enough to provide good social space and it needs a comfortable microclimate
    Firmness: the balcony needs to have proper conditions for plant growth
    Delight: of course the balcony should provide a delightful experience for the owner

  5. Tom Turner

    I don’t disagree with any of the ten but nor would they have been my first suggestions, except the structural point which is almost too obvious to mention. I think my top three tips would relate to:
    1. dimensions
    2. prospect and aspect
    3. microclimate
    Most balconies are too small and I noticed in China that when apartments are provided with balconies their owners tend to box them in to create more indoor space.

  6. Christine

    Having lived in an apartment with a balcony and without a balcony (And this example from Girona is Spain is quite beautiful!) [ ] I would definitely prefer a balcony that opens onto the outside – even if it was only a juilet balcony! (This example is from Hotel San Joan on the Costa Brava. [ ]

    What would you recommend regarding the dimensions of balconies? Is there an intrinsic relationship to the indoor space they serve?

  7. Tom Turner

    I once had a small balcony, which I loved, but do not remember its size. But I can give an authoritative answer to the question about the dimensions of a balcony ‘Balconies and porches which are less than six feet deep are hardly ever used’ (Christopher Alexander, Pattern Language, p.782)He adds that ‘If possible, recess at least a part of it into the building so that it is not cantilevered out and separated from the building by a simple line, and enclose it partially’.
    Also, I would rather have a Juliet balcony than no balcony, especially if I could enjoy the early stages of a Romeo and Juliet experience!

  8. Christine

    I wonder what type of use Christopher Alexander was contemplating for his balcony? Does he mean ‘hardly ever used’ in the sense of balconies of this dimension are harldly ever ‘stepped out onto’?

    I suppose he is thinking of colder climates when he recommends recessing and partially enclosing the balcony. [Perhaps to provide a space to sit outside or to place more vulnerable potted plants while still providing protection from cold winds/frosts etc]

    Or was he thinking of this Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona which is not a strict cantilever because it is supported by part of the building beneath? The romance of the Romeo and Juliet experience has certainly caught on!
    [ ]

  9. Tom Turner

    It’s worth looking up Alexander’s illustrations. He thinks a depth of 6 feet is sufficient for a table and two chairs and he shows a diagram with a 50% cantilever. I visited a ‘balcony’ recently which was fully recessed into the building and it made a very pleasant space: sheltered, sunny and glare-free. It was an apartment block and, most surprisingly, only one or two of the ‘balconies’ had been glazed to make rooms. I think all the residents appreciated the quality of the spaces.

  10. Christine

    Thankyou I did. It seems his main concern with enclosure was privacy. Usually I find I have to reconsider privacy in each different design context. [Although I think he is stating principles here and providing guidelines.]

    The issue of privacy follows from;

    (1) the use of the room to which the balcony is attached
    (2) the external environment into which the balcony looks (ie. private backyard, communal courtyard, street scene, landscape setting, formal or informal garden setting etc)
    (3) the lifestyle needs of the occupants
    (4) the proximity of other balconies and viewing spaces (so sightlines and hearing range and noise volume ie. overlooking and adjacency relationships)

    The upstand of this roof terrace [ ]appears to have been modified with the addition of an iron filigree and timber screen repaired to offer privacy from the adjacent terrace. At the other end of the terrace because of the tall building overlooking the space, the timber screen (and umbrella) provide semi rather than total privacy.
    [ ]

  11. Tom Turner

    That is an attractive example of a roof terrace (though I suspect it would be even more comfortable with the addition of a pergola-type structure providing partial shade) and I would not classify it as a balcony.
    Balcony planning is a really important issue for high-rise residential buildings and I agree with your points about privacy, use etc. Many new residential blocks in London have very under-used balconies but I once had a flat with a balcony in Cairo and it was a delight to see how much use the balconies on buildings up and down the street received. Part of the reason was that the buildings did not have air-conditioning and when not in the sun the balcony was often the coolest place to be.


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