Monday, May 2, 2011

The “GOLDEN Principle of Design”

The “GOLDEN Principle of Design” - - - - - Editing

On November 14th to 24th of 2010;  Gardens at Waters East posted the Ten (10) Principles of Design used throughout the garden property.  More detailed information and photos about each principle can be found by checking the archives for those posted dates.  The principles listed there are the following:

1.     favor the use of  “indigenous” material
2.     develop seasonal interest
3.     make inside / outside connections
4.     highlight perspective and borrowed views
5.     use a variety of structures
6.     create multiple “garden rooms” with seating areas in each
7.     display objects of interest and art --“focal points”
8.     use shape and form
9.     showcase native plants
10.  mix a palette of colors and textures

Held back at that time of the November postings was one remaining principle which Gardens at Waters East calls - - - - -

“The Golden Principle of Design”

People in the design profession say that the true designer knows how to Edit” a space.  In decorating inside or out, it becomes easy to add this item or that item.  We like this, we like that, so we end up adding it into our house or garden.   We bring this or that home and put it some place where it may add to the overall design as we see it at the time.  Nice.

However, there comes a time when a person may need to look at all that is “there” and ask honestly, “Is the addition of such and such, adding to the design or detracting from it?”  Professionals in design say that the real test of a designer’s art is the ability to “edit”.  That is, to remove items from an area.  It is far easier to add than to remove.  Getting to the core items of a designed area, allows each piece selected to have more value in the overall space.  Whether in the home or in the garden, editing takes real skill.  More is not always better in design.  Professionals tell us that less, and the ability to “edit out”, is the real sign of any designer, and might I add, gardener.  As with the rooms of your home, the rooms in your garden may need a bit of editing.

It was Leonardo da Vinci who said: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
It seems fair to say that these are insightful words of advice
from a very respected source.

Words to think about as you move through your space both inside and out.  Is there so much that nothing is seen?  Are your senses so overloaded that your mind gets burned out trying to take it all in?  Editing out is a skill that most of us have to work at.  It is not easy to keep, to choose that which enriches the area, and to remove that which makes it all to overwhelming.  All the objects and items, or varieties of plants and bushes, may be great to have, but too much can be like having “horticultural diarrhea”!

For the Gardens at Waters East, editing is a ongoing effort.  Having the right balance of all the things and plants the gardener loves to have, and keeping it simple enough so that each and everyone has its “place in the sun”, takes some deliberate planning.  It is a skill that takes years and is constantly needing work. In the Gardens at Waters East, there is this ever ongoing “battle” to “edit”, which probably is the case with most gardeners.

Just a thought.
What do you think?

Any comments or photos you wish to share, will be made available to all readers of this Blog.  Your insights and thoughts on “Editing” could be helpful to gardeners everywhere.  Send a comment.  Would all like to hear what you think.

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  1. Beautiful vibrant colours. Yes though may seem simple it all takes lots of work and thought. Perfection afterall is perfection for reason.

    Keep the great work up. So pleasing to the eyes


  2. The 10 principles are great but I agree the editing is most important...I find myself doing this every year...looking at it from all angles and mostly removing things I think just don't work...I will have t think about pictures and what I am doing to edit...

  3. Hola Jack, great principles but really for me is so difficult to follow any at my garden, I just go on doing what I like and having some troubles later when plants grow to much besides other ones and then go "editing" everything, moving from here to there, just the pleasures of a gardener!!!
    Nice knowing you host foreing students, I was one myself during 6 months at a wonderful family in Michigan.

  4. I think you must surely be a true designer as I hear over and over again from gardeners whose gardens I admire to say EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. This is very hard to me. Most of my plants have sentimental value and I treasure them all. Although, I'm learning that digging something that is not working and giving it to family is extra nice too. I have some of that to do today as a matter of fact. That first picture on your blog is a stunner. I think you are lucky to be able to relax a bit more before the real garden season starts up there. It's been hectic here but I'm inside doing a design today. Thank goodness for rainy and cold days. Thanks so much for the advice on editing. It is something I try to do but am not good at.

  5. Sorry, your dissertation is too sophisticated for my standard. I'm just an istinctive, not planning before, gardener. Natural effect and simplicity are my only targets.

  6. Exactly what I have been dealing with this spring. I have to decide whether to go with my original color scheme, or enjoy what happened instead: A choice of whether to edit or not.
    I ran into the same problem when writing my books.

  7. You have sneaked those last 2 South African daisies, from my garden ;~) I am letting the summer edit my garden, and moving towards repeating what IS happy. Can't quite do the minimalist - only 10 plants in this garden route.

    But I enjoy treating the garden as a living growing 'art work'.

  8. The edit is what I often tell clients (though they often don't understand this in their counterproductive deadlines) and other designers is - almost 1/2 of the design process. I've learned to allow as much time to edit / reduce as spend on other tasks.