Design Tips to Amplify Views of Your Gardens From Inside
Having a beautiful view from inside your home is a great mood booster, in addition to being an enhancement for the room itself. So why not design your landscape with window views in mind? Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Take Note of Current Views
Before you start planning, go through your home and assess the existing views from your windows and glass doors. Especially note what the windows look out onto in the rooms you use most. Do you find any areas that could use a little more privacy? Conversely, are there any views that are being obstructed by overgrown vegetation? Another thing to consider is if you have any windows that could be larger in order to expand exceptional outdoor views.
2. Pretend the Windows are Picture Frames
When you take a step back, what would you prefer to see inside each frame instead of what you currently see? Gaze out of your windows and pay attention to where your eye naturally falls. Is there something pleasant there, such as a pretty plant or well-positioned pot, or is there an eyesore that could use some screening? Jot down which views could use some improvement and how, so that you can create a plan of action.
3. Think About the Foreground and Background
Try to look at your window views with the eyes of an artist and consider the overall composition. Create dimension by separating closer elements from those further in the background. When it comes to close elements, focus on the details since they will be seen. For example, consider placing a petite fountain or small group of pots just outside a window for a nice focal point.
When it comes to more distant views, larger pieces work well — think full-size fountain, a fire pit or outdoor table and chairs. Looking out on these types of elements from indoors draws you deeper into the landscape.
4. Use Color for Impact at a Distance
Larger gardens set further away from the house will have a bigger visual impact if they are planned with broader planting strokes. In other words, plan distant flower gardens with a few large swaths of a single type of plant, rather than a more scattered layout. The opaque clumps of a single color will draw the eye from a distance.
5. Take Viewing Angle Into Account
Viewing a garden from the upstairs windows of your home leaves a very different impression than doing so on the ground floor. For instance, the overall layout of the beds and pathways is better appreciated when seen from above rather than at ground level. Just remember, when planning, your ultimate goal is to have your gardens look visually appealing from both angles — even in winter, when the flower beds are dormant.
Other elements that add interest from a higher viewpoint include geometrical layouts, patterned pavement on patios, and trees with pretty foliage.
6. Enhance Privacy
It’s inevitable that some of your windows are going to look out onto less-than-optimal views. For these windows, you may want to consider redirecting the eye with selective screens. Adding hedges or strategically positioning potted plants are both effective ways to screen views where needed. Varying the heights of the hedges gives you the flexibility to open up or block certain views.
7. Jazz Up Blank Walls
If you have a blank fence or wall that is visible from the home, consider adding interest to it by planting flowering vines or installing a vertical garden. If the unattractive view is a lost cause, meaning it’s in an outdoor space you are unable to work with for whatever reason, you may want to simply block the view with frosted window glass or by adding a removable film to the window.
8. Create Focal Points
A focal point outside of a window directs your eye to a certain spot within the landscape. They can be just about anything — a fire pit, patio, interesting plant, or even a birdbath. To ensure a garden element becomes a focal point rather than just another pretty thing in the yard, there are two design strategies:
• Perfect placement. Position the focal point into a sightline within the garden or with a window view.
• Create contrast. You want to make your focal point stand apart from the other elements by using different forms or colors.
If you have a landscape professional you’re working with, they will be able to help you integrate focal points based on window views. That being said, determining the placement of focal points can also be done on your own. While you’re looking out of the window, simply have someone walk into the garden and place an object where you’d like a focal point to be. Move it around until you hit on the best spot. When in doubt, a focal point that is centered within your window view is always safe.
9. Don’t Forget Winter Interest
Most of us yearn for scenic outdoor views more in the winter than in the warmer months. Make those winter views matter. To begin, add structure. Then look into plants that offer winter interest — like those with unique branches, winter flowers or berries. Evergreens are a great choice for bringing interest and providing structure year-round, but are especially appreciated during the cold, barren months.