A Room with a View
Years ago, when my family was planning to move to a house with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, we concluded that cooking in a room too small for two people to turn around in wasn’t a good idea. So we decided to expand the existing kitchen to a space roughly the size of an airplane hangar and hired a young architect who presented us with a bang-up set of plans.
There was only one problem: no windows on the west-facing wall of the new addition. I was clueless, but my then-husband was adamant, insisting we add one. Whatever, I thought idly, ruminating about pull-out shelving.
Little did I know that by insisting on a window in the west-facing wall of our new kitchen, my ex ended up providing me with one of my favorite views of the gardens that surround our house. Of course, back in 1988, when all this was transpiring, I wasn’t a gardener and could have cared less. But I will be eternally grateful for his persistence.
The view in question isn’t spectacular; but it looks out into both a shady area and beyond it, a sunny one as well. A wobbly cedar arch, in past years a perch for robins’ nests, delineates the two areas and some broken flagstone pavers lead your eye from the inner garden to the outer space and disappear in the distance. Spring views include a massed bank of crimson-pink azaleas and a dogwood in bloom. In summer, the back-lit grasses and a tuteur in the sunny border. In fall, everything is in a lovely, over-the-top state of decline. And in winter – as I write this – I see the stalks of Liatris, coneflowers, and the stems of a red-twig dogwood shrub (Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’) sometimes laced in snow.
There are other views from inside my house that I love, the loveliest of which has to be a magnificent old flowering crabapple tree (Malus floribunda) whose branches are so architecturally arresting that I’ve never wanted to screen them from view from the bay window. Even when it’s not in bloom, the sight of this tree is a gift I can’t do without. And last but not least cherished is the view from the window next to my bed out into the sunny part of the garden, especially in spring when the azaleas – hardly my favorite shrub except for this time of year – are in bloom.
Every gardener should think about views. When I design for clients, I ask them about important views, but you can do the same for your own space. So make sure there are windows where you want them, if you’re planning new spaces. If you’re working with what you already have, think about what you’d like to see on a daily basis, even if it’s only a lovely curved shape of a bed or a tree or shrub that’s striking in two or three (or four) seasons. And you’ll have what I have – a room (or two) with a view.Explore posts in the same categories: landscape comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.