Borrowed view

A partial view to the landscape beyond is tantalising and greatly adds to the character of the garden, but you can have too much of a good thing…

The ‘borrowed view’ is a design technique that maximises the sense of space in the garden by bringing glimpses of the landscape beyond into view. The key to its success is to get the balance between foreground and farground right. It must be only a glimpse or the view will dominate and the magic will be lost.

 The privet hedge at the end of our vegetable garden used to be lower. It was about 4ft high all the way along and the fields and hills beyond created a stunning view. When we let the hedge grow and it started to block out most of the view visitors protested that they would have kept the hedge low – they couldn’t understand why we would want to obscure any of it. Yet when we cut the semicircular ‘window’ they exclaimed how beautiful it was and it put a definite smile on their lips.

When the hedge was low and the view wide open visitors attention immediately went to it, skipping over the foreground with the effect that the garden appeared smaller and less significant. Not a desirable effect if you have put a lot of effort into your garden design! As the hedge grew the garden increasingly became the centre of attention – visitors eyes could no longer wander into the distance, and instead they admired the garden. Much better. Finally, the hole cut in the hedge allowed a partial view of the distant landscape, bringing back into the garden without causing total distraction; in fact the partial view makes the garden feel bigger still, and introduces a sense of mystery and space that neither the low hedge or tall hege alone could create.

Below are some views from different angles and at different times of the year.

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1 thought on “Borrowed view”

  1. I love your borrowed view and how it evolved. I also love the photos of “the view” in different seasons. So beautiful. We don’t have snow here. Actually it was your magnificent espaliers that led me to your site. I’ll be back to visit again.

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