You are here: Home / Landscape Design Guide / The Artistic Qualities Of Landscape Composition / Variety / Variety In Form

Variety In Form

A curved line changes direction at every point. This is the old definition, which, in itself, is a plain statement that an infinite variety of direction is contained in a curved line. A straight line has only one direction.

The partial concealment of principal points of interest is a common and profitable expedient in most cases,—less so perhaps in the architectural style than in others. In the natural style it is always admissible to group the trees so as to hide, partially or totally, the buildings from most situations, and to give a really complete view from only a few specially favorable points. If a group is so placed as to afford a partial view of the buildings from one standpoint, a totally different view is seen from a second standpoint. In this way the buildings are seen in an endless variety of forms. If a drive or walk leads up to some object of special interest, it may be always considered a good plan, where possible, to give successive glimpses of the object along the way, reserving a full view for a final triumph at a point from which the whole may be best admired.

It is not an uncommon thing at public institutions, where several buildings are needed, to find them all of the same general design and placed in a row, all fronting the same way. I have in mind, as having come within my own observation, two instances of this. One is a large reform school; the other a great state university. In either case there was room, and to spare, for a difference of design and location. There may be circumstances which make the uniform plan and arrangement the best, but certain monotony is the result.

Deep vistas in any landscape planting are desirable for many reasons. They give depth to the scene. Our gardening is usually on too small a scale to satisfy fully the hungry eye. One's look will wander away and beyond the fence which limits the little garden, and seek to lose itself at the farthest reach of the eyesight's power. Thus it but satisfies a natural desire if the openings in the garden plantings are so placed as to permit the eye full enjoyment of any good extraneous view. And even within the grounds a long perspective furnishes a variety of views, since in it some objects are seen at a distance, some in middle-ground and some in the foreground.

The sky line should never be monotonous. In speaking of picturesque effects we have already suggested that the sky line should not always be much broken. The charm of the purely natural style, especially in certain situations, lies in its utter quietness and peacefulness. A horizon full of Lombardy poplar exclamation points is not in unity with such ideas. But the sky line may be diversified more gently. It may be carried high on one side by a mass of heavy woods; it may sink low on another side, to the surface of a lake; and in one or two places it may perhaps be accentuated with the spire-like poplars. This is a matter in which good taste must be exercised; for while very few observers will analyze a scene and itemize the excellencies and defects of the sky line, the most unsympathetic mind may be keenly, though perhaps unconsciously, alive to both.


See Also

Comments? Suggestions? Compliments? Criticisms?

Please tell us what you think about this page. (E-mail addresses are kept in complete confidence).

^ Top