Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

Gardening is an instrument of grace. " - May Sarton

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yin / Yang in the Garden - A Landscape Design Tip


The High Point / Shady Corner Balance – Serenity Assured

A truly harmonious outdoor space is a blend of both open space and shady shelter. The counterbalance of these two opposites can be seen as the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ of the landscape. 
Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - www.johnsenlandscapes.com

A high point or open level lawn is bright and forceful, ‘yang’. A sheltered shady spot is muted and soft or ‘yin’. Seeing the world through the complementary lens of yin and yang is an eye opening exercise. Gardens containing both qualities feel balanced and comfortable. Therefore shady sites near open sunny lawns are thoroughly enjoyable places to sit.


A note:  moderation is the key to a tranquil and harmonious outdoor space.  Stay away from extremes of ‘yang’ or ‘yin’. For example, if a high point is too high or too exposed, it can be feel scattered.  Likewise, if a low area is too deep or shady, it feels stagnant.  But an open lawn ringed by trees is a delightful balance of yin - shade and yang - openness.


You can create this juxtaposition in any size space. Below is a photo from Sevilla, Spain. The Moorish garden designers were masters of this counterbalance - open and closed, pooling and channelling, sunlight and shade.