A Word on Curves
Let’s say you’re driving down the street and you’re looking at peoples landscapes. Let us also assume that “Joe with the pick-up truck” is not trying to landscape in this area and we are comparing the do it yourselfer vs. the true designers. All the homes are well maintained. But there is a difference that you can’t quite put your finger on, some of the landscapes are more soothing to the eye and give a peaceful feel.
The difference is often in the curves. Designers use broad sweeping curves. Scallops look good on a sea shell but we aren’t designing sea shells. Straight lines are good for your veggie garden and tax refund form but we’re not dealing with those now either.
When you’re laying out the planting beds or grass areas or if you are just trying to add another color of gravel to a large space think flowing curves. I don’t play golf but I have always admired the way a golf course can look so beautiful just using grass, sand traps and curves. Think about it. This is the epitome of designing with curves and it works. No scallops there or straight lines either, just beautiful flowing curves. In non desert areas of the United States it is common to use these curves to design the bed areas. This technique can work well if done right but it can leave the grass areas with unwanted corners and straight lines as grass abuts the house and sidewalks.
In the desert landscape with our small areas of grass I like to actually use the curves to lay out the shape of the grass areas and what is left are your planting areas. This draws the eye to the most colorful entity which is the intensity of the solid green grass and it shapes it with beautiful curves. What inspired me to think this way? The gentle curve of a meandering stream, the shape of a trail through a mountain valley these are the curves of nature and they always look natural because they are.