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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Illusion of Distance

Create The Illusion of Distance

If you have an area in your yard or garden that you would like to make bigger, but you don't have the room - no worries!

There are two basic ways professional landscape designers create the illusion of a larger area, creating distance so to speak, and both ways are easy and fast to implement.

1. Use Warm To Cool Colors

To increase the apparent length of your flower borders or beds when seen from inside, place the majority of warm and hot-colored plants (yellows, oranges and reds) nearest the house. These plants can be perennials or annuals, it doesn't matter.

Next, concentrate cool colors, especially different blues, which have a tendency to appear more distant, in the second half of the garden. Make the change from warm to cool gradual, so a harsh line isn't created, and along with the blues, include some pink and mauve flowers.

Plants with silver or white foliage can be used to provide a unifying ground color throughout.

This trick can be used anywhere. We are assuming you may be looking out from your house, but your point of view may be from your patio, deck, hot tub, or walkway area. Just use the same trick: warm to cool, and it will make a big difference in making a small area look larger.

2. Use Different Dimensions

The second way to create the illusion of distance is to vary your dimensions of the borders and the paths separating them.

For example: in a border that is 20 feet (6.1 m) long, make the planting area and path narrower the farther away you get from your focal point.

So if you have a border that is 3 feet (1 m) wide and 20 feet (6.1 m) long, the dimensions would go from 3 feet (1 m) and narrow down to 1.5 to 2 feet (.46 to .61 m) wide at the end.

Do the exact same with the path that is close to the border, start it out wide and then narrow it down the farther way you get.

So do what the professional designers do, use dimensions creatively and it works out to your advantage every time!