The Landscape Guide

Structures & Outdoor Space

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Architects tend to place buildings in the middle of an outdoor space, like statues of policitians, so that they can be admired by all.

Garden and landscape designers should treat buildings as objects with which to define and contain space. Structures are often better on the edge of a site than at its centre. Walls should also define and contain space, with gaps to let the light in and views out.

The range of structures which can and should be used to contain outdoor space includes: houses, sheds, pergolas, walls, fencing, screens. Planning and design with these elements is often classed as landscape architecture and it home owners would do well to consult a book on residential landscape architecture.

The rule is: "design space before mass in outdoor design". When the outdoor space has been defined, mass (eg structures and plants) is used for containment.

Left: the architect's way Right: the gardener's way

Structures should define and contain outdoor space.