Serenity Gardens 101 : 'The Lure of a Sheltered Corner'

When you walk into a restaurant where do you want to sit?

This is what I ask my college classes in my intro to 'Working with Outdoor Space'.  The answer is always something like, "in a corner, away from the kitchen, not in the middle of the room, with a nice view of the surroundings or outside'....

The preferred seat in a restaurant is similar to a desirable sitting spot outdoors - it should be a partially sheltered location with a view of the surroundings, not in the middle of an open lawn or terrace but in a defined corner. This corner can be created by the rear of a building or by a low wall or hedge in the lawn and that is where the design of the space becomes important.

Such a layout is discussed at length in the 'bible' of environmental design called, 'A Pattern Language', by Christopher Alexander, et al. This enlightening guide gives illuminating answers to design issues of all kinds, from the proper windowsill height to the optimal arrangement of towns. It is a 'must have' book for anyone seriously interested in building and outdoor design.
 In the section called, 'Hierarchy of Open Space,' the authors describe the best layout for an outdoor terrace:

"Outdoors, people always try to find a spot where they can have their backs protected, looking out toward some larger opening, beyond the space immediately in front of them…. In the very smallest of outdoor spaces, in private gardens, this pattern tells you to make a corner of the space as a "back" with a seat, looking out onto the garden. If it is rightly made, this corner will be snug, but not at all claustrophobic."

I call this arrangement 'the Lure of the Sheltered Corner'. It appeals to our inherent desire for an open 'sanctuary' where we can relax.
Serenity gardens 101 is now finished . You get an 'A'.
all projects - Johnsen Landscapes & Pools


  1. Another grate post, rely injoy them, thank you

  2. I loved this well as the one on ovals. I love hearing your insight on garden design.

    1. Hi Lisa! I am so glad you liked it! and it makes so much sense....Christopher Alexander wrote the best book on design.


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