Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Backyard Project: Pattern Language #106 Positive Outdoor Space & #173 Garden Wall

I am making good progress filling the gabion baskets with rounded river rock to make a garden wall defining the edge of the guest patio. 
We are not sure if we will put a board on top to make it a seat or not. If we did it would add another Pattern, #243 Sitting Wall and so strengthen the other patterns.

I had collected up the rounded river rock from various locations around the previous garden and stacked them up along the side of the house. This rock had been brought in to the site by the previous owners. It is not natural to this environment but a permaculture principle is to use what you have. 
I have chosen to use it to make the guest patio a positive outdoor space.
Pattern Language #106 says the problem is 'Outdoor spaces which are merely "left over" between buildings will, in general, not be used.' p. 518.
'There are 2 fundamentally different kinds of outdoor spaces: negative space and positive space. Outdoor space is negative when it is shapeless, the residue left behind when buildings - which are generally viewed as positive - are placed on the land. An outdoor space is positive when it has a distinct and definite shape, as definite as the shape of a room, and when its shape is as important as the shapes of the buildings around it.' p.518.
In the previous post, here, I described how the gabion baskets' stepped form echoes the house shape while defining the edge of the guest patio and enclosing the space. The patio has 2 entrance/exits to give the feeling of sitting in a space which is 'partially enclosed and partly open - not too open, not too enclosed.' p.521. This pattern is particularly important for smaller spaces while they still need to open out to larger spaces. In this case, the patio opens out to the forest.
Pattern Language gives a lot more detail on this important outdoor element and links it back 'to our most primitive instincts.' p.520. where when we are sitting we have a need for protection while at the same time needing a view to seeing what is approaching.
Come spring I will start planting along the outside edges of the gabion baskets transitioning the garden to the Garden Growing Wild pattern #172 - more on that later.


Pattern Language #173 Garden Wall
Problem: 'Gardens and small public parks don't give enough relief from noise unless they are well protected.' p. 806. 
About the only negative of the convenient location of our place is we can hear traffic noise from the nearby highway. We are lessening the impact of highway noise with careful design, plantings, fences and walls. My studio building blocks a lot of the noise from reaching the backyard.
'People need contact with trees and plants and water. In some way, which is hard to express, people are able to be more whole in the presence of nature, are able to go deeper into themselves, and are somehow able to draw sustaining energy from the life of plants and trees and water.' p. 806. Pattern Language goes on to explain how people 'must be shielded from the sight and sound of passing traffic, city noises and buildings. This requires walls, substantial high walls, and dense planting all around the garden' p.806. while still allowing people to be in touch with nature.
The high walls have been built and the intensive planting will continue this spring.



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