Planting to Enhance Views

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape October 29, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Enhance the view of entryways using a progression of plant sizes.
Image source: Landscaping Your Front Yard



Example of a borrowed landscape in the Adachi Museum of Art garden in Japan. Note how  the middle layer of trees and hills in the background  are integrated into the foreground design, creating a layered effect.
Photo source: Tok'yall blog

Spatial Characteristics of Plants that Influence Views

Plants have a variety of spatial characteristics that can be used to manipulate, frame, or enhance views. 

Plants can also be used to hide undesirable views. Spatial characteristics of plants include size, height, and form. For instance, ground level plants have different characteristics than tall trees. Ground to knee level plants can restrict movement through the landscape while permitting views into the landscape or beyond. Any plant higher than six feet restricts views at eye level while taller plants can partially or completely obstruct views. 

How to use Plant Size to Enhance Views

Plant or prune existing trees to frame large scale openings and to take advantage of the borrowed landscape. This concept, commonly used in traditional Chinese garden design, incorporates  views beyond the property into the design.  Incorporation of views of mountains, interesting structures, and vegetation are examples of things that can be included in the design to create a more seamless feel in the landscape.

Viewing Angles

Views change as the viewer walks through the space(s). Decide where the view you wish to enhance will be seen from.  Will it be seen from a single position or change as the viewer moves throughout the landscape.  Position outdoor furniture to take advantage of a view. By using plants of differing sizes, views of entryways can be enhanced.  Also consider views to the outside from inside the house.


Additional Resources:


Missouri - Landscaping Your Front Yard


Nevada - The Borrowed Landscape