Circles in the Garden



Our natural inclination, when in a group, is to gather in a circle.

The ineluctable unity of this shape gives each person equal standing, equal voice and equal support. It is a perfect shape for expressing ourselves to others.  The result? A unified purpose or intention arising from talking and listening, in turn.

Yay for the circle!






Like theater in the round, no one has a better seat than anyone else. It is no wonder that circular gathering spaces are popular for group activities and in various spiritual traditions.



The Contemplative Mind is enhanced through circular gatherings


This is why I advocate Circular Peace Gardens wherever people may gather.

A circle is a nurturing form that invites us in - there are no hard edges, corners or angles.


Alcazar Garden, Seville, Spain  photo by Jan Johnsen 

So what is the perfect size for a circular 'people space' outdoors?

 It is all a matter of proportion, scale, context and intended use.  If you are in a dense urban neighborhood - the size of the circle may be decided for you by what is available....if you are in a wide open flat space, the size would depend on intended use. 

Above all, I always counsel people to make it bigger than they think they need.




Always start with determining the personal space required for each person which is about a 2'6" radius around each person...then I add another 1.5 ft. for 'move around' space.

4' radius or 8' diameter for each person

I then use this as the space - 4 ft. - as the rough distance between people.



So if you want 10 people in your circle then multiply 4' x 10 to get a circumference (perimeter) of about 40 ft.  Once you know that you can go here (click on it) to determine that your circle's diameter should be about 13 ft.

The radius would therefore be about 6.5 feet.  If you wanted 20 people, then double 13 to get a diameter of 26 ft. This is the minimum - you can always go bigger.

Always work from the center point out when laying out the circle...Here is a wonderful diagram from a mathematics in gardening blog:




You can fashion a circular garden in a lawn, bordering it with rocks, bricks, tree stumps or shrubs. You can even mark one out on a lawn with some powdered agricultural lime.





Of course you can get very technical about the whole circle thing....The epitome of circular shapes in a green space are those famous Crop Circles that spring up overnight in the middle of a field.

 Some think these shapes are made by people with plywood boards in the space of 5 minutes, but I beg to differ :






Good Luck! Let me know....





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