Do you realise that 90% of our time is spent not actually IN our gardens, but in looking at them through our windows? Which is why the views from our windows are so important.Here’s mine in summer:
The artist John Nash was forever painting views from his windows as he recognised that they presented an ever changing scene with the turning of the seasons. This is one of his winter prints in my snug :
And just as in Nash’s beautiful paintings, our own windows act like a frame on what is (hopefully) a beautiful scene in our own gardens.
When we first bought our house it was a complete wreck, but the one good thing was that I could see right through from the front door to the back window and a glimpse of the garden beyond.
It’s something I’ve enhanced as I do feel that there should be a sense of anticipation as you walk towards a window- what sort of beautiful scene will be revealed?
I like to sit here to eat breakfast and look out at a detailed scene full of seasonal planting and interesting artifacts- it’s a picture that I never tire of.
Here’s my desk overlooking the table on which I keep an ever-changing display of pots, including my latest ‘finds’ from plant nurseries , there to be enjoyed for a while before being used in clients’ gardens.
As a designer I like to paint the best garden picture as the view that is seen from the main house windows- because that’s where we are most of the time, indoors looking out. Here’s a before and after view from a front door which is another important framed view:
In fact framing views has always been important. The resourceful Victorians used Claude glasses ( convex black mirrors)as a frame for drawing sketches of picturesque landscapes. The user would turn his back on the scene to observe the framed view through the tinted mirror—in a sort of pre-photographic lens—which added the picturesque aesthetic of a subtle gradation of tones. A perfect view already framed.
And here’s a tip if you ever want to get a fresh perspective on your own garden. Go outside with a hand mirror and look at it reflected back at you- you’ll be amazed. All of a sudden you can see it completely fresh as others see it for the first time, warts and all. Go on, try it! But don’t break your neck doing it now will you? Here’s a changed view from a window- better, eh?
It’s not just windows that can frame a garden view- archways, pergolas, gates, and openings of any kind can all play a part. Here I’ve framed a lovely willow with a pergola:
And framed a bench with this arch:
Framing a view with an iron gazebo here:
A gate framing a view at Perrycroft:
Mirrors are a great way to not only frame a view but also to reflect it back, lightening a blank wall:
I overlook a park and rather daringly decided to cut a hole in my boundary hedge ( I was copying one I’d seen at a stately home- of course…..).This perfect circle of light draws you down the pergola to reveal a framed view of a park bench in the distance :
So, do what I do and ask yourself, “Do my windows frame a beautiful garden scene?” and if not, do something about it. After all , it’s your most important view on the world outside.