My Column for 4.27.2012 in the Naples Daily News ( Here is the print version: Download 4.27.2012 Contrast is King ):
It’s useful to view your garden designs from at least two levels of magnification. At the first level, imagine the entire garden on a single sheet of paper. This overview allows you to make connections, resolve buffer requirements, analyze circulation issues, and, most importantly, establish focal points.
These focal points are key to your design. Why? By understanding how your garden design is experienced visually, you automatically establish motion– the motion of the garden user as she moves, either physically or visually, through your garden spaces.
An example for the neophyte: Your car approaches your house, it slows, turns. What do you see first? Next? Your eye naturally lingers at each focal point. These are the natural place to spend design time and your money. Everything else is green mayonnaise.
Your design pundit calls it ‘sequential design’, and there’s really nothing magic about it; the idea here is to lend cohesiveness to the whole, and to introduce interest and motion.