• Taylor Tripp

Design Diary | Creating an Optical Illusion

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

We were invited to look at this country garden a year ago. There were some particular challenges, which would require inventive solutions.

The challenge

A number of features had previously been added to the garden, but they ‘floated’ in a sea of lawn. There were no links to the house or interlinking structure between the garden areas. All of the garden could be seen from the main terrace at the rear of the house - there was no sense of intrigue!

The Rill: Creating an optical illusion

One major challenge was the existing rill. This had been installed askew to the house and main terrace, veering off to the right and therefore appeared unbalanced. It would have been an expensive exercise to completely reposition the rill, so we devised the novel idea of realigning its’ appearance. We repositioned the coping stones which squared the rill edges to the house and terrace, to give the illusion of straightening the entire feature.



The rill was then framed with formal structure, by planting Yew hedges underneath the existing pleached trees. As the hedge grows it will enclose the area, defining the space.

The character of this room is classical, but with a contemporary edge. We created new beds planted with Box topiary and Stipa tenuissima grasses. The geometric shape of the Box modernises the formal design and as the Grasses develop they will soften the structural elements by spilling over the path edges.

The Box gives year round structure and interest, which is particularly important in this part of the garden as it is viewed directly from the house. The rill is now the focal feature of the space. Not forgetting the view from within the garden itself, there will be a bench at the end of the rill to offer a view back towards the house. A view previously no one could take advantage of.

More to come This marks year one of an extensive transformation. Works are on going throughout the garden. The master plan creates further ‘rooms’, each with their own character.

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