Make your landscape more interesting with 360-degree views

garden bed in middle of yard
The garden bed at left is placed at the center of the yard, offering 360-degree views. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

One of the things I noticed in the North Tonawanda yard of Nancy and Charles Bachman was that at every turn, the view was different. It was difficult to take just a single photo of an area because there were so many interesting angles.

I visited the Bachmans’ yard on the North Tonawanda Garden Walk in 2020.

The Bachmans have a large yard, but you can use ideas from their landscape even if your yard is small.

waterfall view from island planting
The foreground shows the circular bed from the first photo. Because the bed is in the middle of the yard, you can see different perspectives as you walk around it. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

The most important takeaway, I think, is that the Bachmans don’t relegate their gardens to the edges of their yard. They have garden beds in the middle of the yard. If all of your plants are along a fence, you can look at them head-on or from a slight angle, but there’s nothing close to a 360-degree view.

Another strategy is using shrubs, tall perennials and tall annuals. That in itself is more interesting than using lots of short plants. But there’s another advantage to using taller plants– they allow you to implement the concept of “hide and reveal,” which is used in many Asian gardens.

In the first photo, take a look at the plants in the round garden bed. From that angle, you can see all of the plants, but the plants in front allow you to see only part of the shrub in back. From the back, you can see all of the shrub, but it conceals the flowers in front. “Hide and reveal” is more interesting than being able to see your entire landscape in one glance.

Another thing that makes the Bachmans’ backyard appealing is that they don’t line up their plants in a skinny row. Instead, their garden beds are deep.

As you plan your landscape, consider using these ideas in your own yard.

waterfall and pond
The waterfall and pond are located along the fence, but the water feature and the plantings come out several feet away from the fence. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
seats at waterfall
The waterfall is interesting, but the area around it is attractive as well. Bonus tip: If you have a point of interest, place some seats there. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
trellis from front
Garden beds extend from the edges of the yard to the path at the center. This view is looking toward the back of the yard, and is very different from the view looking toward the house. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
trellis looking to house
Looking toward the front of the yard, the trellis frames the window box on the house. Plants line the path. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

6 Comments on “Make your landscape more interesting with 360-degree views

  1. This is a great example of a garden that is well designed!
    For folks intimidated in “how do I design my garden”, see the garden as a house/home, with “interior rooms”: each having flooring, carpeting, color, color accents, a focal point, walls, ceilings, good proportion, and a view. Some views are “glimpses” of something around the corner, that invite your brain and eyes to see what is next – you want to see what is right around the corner. Mystery!
    Good garden design doesn’t show you everything like a television or movie screen, it makes you want to see more!
    Pathways and walkways not only guide one’s steps, they also guide the eyes, how to navigate this experience.
    Water features: curve the water flow so that the pump and equipment are hidden from view, and screen/camouflage them. Here, the gardeners have chosen Japanese forest grass, Hakonechloa, and Japanese painted fern, Athyrium pictum, to soften the hardscape and, like a magician with a scarf, “cover their moves”.
    Arbors are “gateways” and “frames”. Frame the view, soften the edges, you now walk into a different “scene” – like a movie.
    Classic scene: Dorothy, Wizard of Oz, current them is sepia, somewhat colorless and drab, opening the door of the cyclone dropped house and seeing in blazing Technicolor, The Land of Oz!
    Beautiful “rooms” and views in this garden. Amazing, not fussy, incredible layering, superb hardscape.

    Thank you, Connie, for creating this post!
    David R. Clark, CNLP

  2. Very nice to review, especially during the winter.

    Bill Daniels
    member- Niagara Frontier Koi and Pond Club

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