Emotion In The Landscape

Sunset over a Mediterranean garden terrace with lavender, lantana and silver grasses

We ask ourselves many question when designing Outdoor Living space… “How will people interact in the landscape?  How will the landscape hold space for people?” and, perhaps most importantly, “How will that experience feel?”  Our emotions allow us to make sense of the world around us as humans, and we respond to external forces innately based on how they make us feel.  As designers, we shape the landscape in order to shape the human experience.  Believe it or not, that’s what we really do… and all this time you thought we were just making gardens!

Paradise Found

Winding garden path to gate with lush lawn and Irises

So what goes into creating a landscape that conveys emotion?  The first trick is determining the emotion that wants to be conveyed.  If the space is going to be used regularly for entertaining, perhaps it calls for a festive and fun atmosphere.  If the landscape will be a quiet retreat, tranquility and calm may be the emotions to create.  Once the intention has been set, the style can follow.  Color and style are great design tools that create an emotional experience.  Many people would react to the two landscapes shown above with feelings of calm, although they are very different.  Of course, emotions are very personal.  What feels tranquil to one person may feel formal and uncomfortable to someone else.  This is why getting to know our clients is such an important part of our design work.

Memories make up a huge part of our emotional experience.  Imagine walking through a garden and stumbling upon a plant that reminds you of a happy time in your childhood- touching soft leaves of Lamb’s Ear, for example.  Instantly you are transported back to that time.  It could even be a smell- Lavender or Apple blossoms, taking you back to summers spent on a farm or at Grandma’s house.

Water Works

Tranquil Sheer descent fall fountain into a pool

Water in the landscape has a strong effect on us.  The sound of falling water or a trickling fountain is often a source of deep relaxation.  That’s why many of our landscapes designed to create tranquility feature water.  Water can take the form of a formal fountain, a reflecting pool, or a natural water feature – we find that in all states, its ability to transform the mood of a space is powerful!

Attracting Friends

Metal hummingbird sculpture casting a reflection into a calm pool

Because emotion is such a personal thing, you may choose to enhance your space with elements that have meaning to you, that bring joy and relaxation to you personally.  Many of our clients love birds, and find their presence joyful and exhilarating.  Others love the sound of crickets or frogs.  Features that attract wildlife, such as ponds and bird gardens, create environments that bring the show home to your backyard… And it doesn’t have to be fancy!  We built this mini stock-tank fountain in the studio garden to attract frogs for dreamy summer evening serenades.  For us, the feelings of peace and joy brought by this simple creation are endless.  Sometimes, landscapes are more about intention and response to the environment than they are about costly materials.  Plus, this matches our personality!  And it’s clearly a hit with the frogs.

We hope you all are having a beautiful Spring!  It’s definitely boosting our spirits to have such beautiful days.  If you’re looking for a new outdoor living space tailored just for you, look no farther!

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