Vistas and Captured Views: A Checklist

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Garden tip from Timeless Landscape Design: The Four Part Master Plan by Mary Palmer Dargan, ASLA, and Hugh Graham Dargan, ASLA

Paperback, 192 pages, $24.99

Gibbs Smith


In Timeless Landscape Design, renowned landscape architects Mary Palmer Dargan and Hugh Graham Dargan share their secrets to creating an unforgettable garden with the “Four Part Master Plan” they perfected over three decades of designing award-winning gardens.

Vistas and Captured Views: A Checklist

Within the pages of Timeless Landscape Design you’ll find these tips for creating views that catch the eye and provide interest from inside and outside the house — even if your property doesn’t have beautiful views:


  • Go to your property edge or the street. Can the vista (long view) to the front, side or back of the property be improved to reinforce the presence of your house?

  • Look out from the windows of your major rooms. Can you frame a vista from the house by adding an object to draw your attention?

  • Look at your neighbor’s landscaping. Can you borrow a view?

  • Are there views from the windows that can be improved or created? Do you need a flower border, a sculptural piece or a garden ornament?

  • Does this require a backdrop of plant materials or a wall or fence?

  • Is the land flat or does it need a low retaining wall to provide the required 11-foot minimum of space beyond the window or door?

  • As always, take pictures. Overlay them with tracing paper and sketch your new plan. Try several options and choose what is best.

    Caption: Captured views result from planning the vista from the house and back again by designing arches as part of the pavilion. The floating terrace steps lead your eye toward the house and increase the sense of perspective. – Timeless Landscape Design

Categories: Gardening