The 3,4,5 Rule and Garden Design

I live in a village named Croton. I assume it is named after the town of Croton, located on the heel of southern Italy.... It is famous for being the home of Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher, who founded his mystical school there.

It is fitting that I live in Croton because I have a strong affinity for geometry (geo=earth, metry = measuring) and am intrigued by Pythagoras, who believed that all things are numbers (does that refer to energetic frequencies?).   Pythagoras' most famous theorem - about the relationships between the sides of a right triangle - is every garden maker's layout tool.

from a home garden blog - look at it, it is wonderful! click here.

The 3-4-5 Rule

The 3-4-5 rule refers to Pythaogras' theorem: A2 + B2 = C2.  The 3:4:5 right triangle is one which has one side measuring 3 units, another 4 units and the longest side ( hypoteneuse) measures 5 units....

Measure 3 feet from the corner in one direction and make a mark.

Measure 4 feet from the corner in the other direction and make a mark.

Measure the distance between your marks. If your corner is square, the distance will be 5 feet.

If the distance is less than 5 feet, then your corner has a measurement of less than 90°.

This rule is sometimes referred to as the Rope-stretchers triangle or the Egyptian triangle because it was believed (some say falsely) to be used by the ancient Egyptians in the construction of the Great Pyramids.

this is from a great site: cut the knot

The "Egyptian string trick" is based on the 3:4:5 triangle - take a string and tie knots in it to divide it into 12 equal divisions and join the two ends.  Using 3 thin bamboo sticks or nails,  insert one in the ground and arrange a knot around it, stretch three knotted divisions away from it and insert the second stick in the ground, go four units and then 5 units division. This forces the creation of a 3 : 4 : 5 right triangle.

The angle between the 3 units and the 4 units is of necessity a right angle.

This will work with multiples of 3, 4, and 5, so you can double the length to 6, 8, and 10 feet  -  long enough to create square plant beds or garden plots!

You can use a flexible 100' tape measure for this technique as well - that is what I that 100' foot tape not buy the one encased in a housing -  buy an open reel fiberglass Empire tape:

Btw, if you are interested in esoteric sacred geometry, I recommend this book by John Michell:


  1. Thanks for the link! I'm glad you liked the design. I'm very familiar with the 3,4,5 triangle after years of band directing and lining football fields! Good info!


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