Catherine StewartGarden vistas

What’s the difference between a vista and a view? A view is what you see of the broader landscape or garden from a vantage point. A vista is a ‘framed view’ that accentuates its best qualities. By using plants and built structures to manage what you can see of the full view, you can make it appear much more appealing, hide any detracting bits, or make it seem further away. Even a very ordinary district outlook can look spectacular when you control how much of it is viewed from any angle.

Lyn & Bruce Nell's garden near Christchurch, New Zealand

Lyn & Bruce Nell’s garden near Christchurch, New Zealand

Design Ross Uebergang MIFGS 2012

Design Ross Uebergang MIFGS 2012

When a garden has views to borrowed landscape, often the first thought is to make sure that none of it is ever obscured by plants. Low plants are selected and ruthlessly pruned down to keep them out of the view. What happens is that the view becomes so dominant, the garden may as well not exist at all, and the eye is forever focussed on distant things, rather than enjoying what’s close up too. I like to see the sweep of an ocean through sinuous tree branches, or have the pick of the distant hills framed perfectly for my viewing pleasure.

In a garden, you can make more intimate vistas by using moongates, archways, gates, hedges, arbours, or even your own makeshift ‘picture frame’. Or create a vista from inside your home. The vista gives an instant illusion of depth – even when there is precious little – and so expands your garden’s horizons.

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

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