Want tranquility in your aging-in-place garden? Try horizontal lines.

Last week, it seems everyone in central Texas was posting their photos of bluebonnets on Facebook. Here’s one of mine, though I saved it for this week’s blog post. It’s bluebonnets and one of the many Texas yellow multi-rayed flowers, known also as DYCs (damn yellow composites) for the challenge of identifying them.

Along Inks Lake, April 2015

Along Inks Lake, April 2015

How do you want to use your garden now? How might you use it in the future as you age in place?

If words such as rest, tranquility, stability, calm, cool, peacefulness, serenity, quiet, repose, and stillness come to mind, stand back from your yard and look at the lines.

It helps to stand at the edge of the yard and squint your eyes. Or you can take photos. Print them out, preferably in black and white. Then use a colored marker or highlighter to capture the broad lines in the garden. Where are the horizontal lines?

Here’s an example of a very small backyard. Notice the top line of the fence is horizontal, but the planks used to create the fence overpower the horizontal with their vertical emphasis.  Changing the plank construction to run horizontally would completely change the feel of this area.

Vertical garden

Vertical garden

Replace the chair with a low modern wicker one to further extend horizontal lines in the yard. Here’s a perfect example from Pier One.  At the moment, the outdoor all-weather wicker trend is for modern geometric shapes in furniture. 

Pier 1 chair: http://www.pier1.com/Echo-Beach-Armchair---Tobacco-Brown/2889223,default,pd.html?cgid=standard-seating#icid=cat_outdoor-category_tile_standard_seating&nav=tile&start=1

Pier 1 chair: http://www.pier1.com/Echo-Beach-Armchair---Tobacco-Brown/2889223,default,pd.html?cgid=standard-seating#icid=cat_outdoor-category_tile_standard_seating&nav=tile&start=1

You don’t have to switch your style to modern, though. Here’s a Polywood chair that would nestle into this garden corner perfectly, too.

from Hayneedle: http://www.hayneedle.com/product/oceanshoreschaiselounge.cfm

from Hayneedle: http://www.hayneedle.com/product/oceanshoreschaiselounge.cfm

Switching to horizontal lines in this yard would increase the sense of restfulness and stillness, yet the aims of privacy and enjoyment of the sun would remain.

Here’s another example of a comfy backyard. The bench and firepit already have strong horizontal lines. But what if the tree branch was carefully pruned to emphasize that line further? Then, the planting behind the bench might also be a different color, perhaps with foliage that is purple or a dark evergreen. If the tops of the shrubs were trimmed a bit to carry a gently horizontal top edge, the lines in this area would be amazingly harmonious and restful. A short planting, maybe with flowers in one color to maintain that horizontal look, could go in front of the hedge to deepen the theme of horizontal lines.

After looking at those horizontal fields of bluebonnets and paintbrush and white prickly poppies, are you thinking horizontal lines might be the direction to head for your aging-in-place garden?