The Best Design Comes Naturally

a spring hike in Topanga reminded me that Mother Nature is the very best at design

a spring hike in Topanga reminded me that Mother Nature is the very best at design

I was on a spring hike in the amazing Santa Monica mountains when I snapped this photo.  I loved how the branch of the Manzanita was delicately arching over the pathway.  The smells of all the native plants at that moment were intoxicating as well. How many times have we all gazed upon a meadow, or mountain lagoon or anything that has naturally formed and thought “wow, that can’t be improved upon.”

This vision and other ones like it of nature remind me of a book I read by Piet Oudolf, a huge name in landscape design worldwide.  Anyway, the book was Designing with Plants and it really spoke to me because above all I’m very plant focused when I do designs.  One of the messages in the book was to focus on flower and plant form over color and to appreciate that form in all it’s phases.  Forms could be spires, buttons, umbels, etc… I like his idea of playing with the relationship of color and form (either related colors and forms or different shapes with related colors) to create a natural harmony in design.  Piet Oudolf goes into much deeper discussion but really it’s about creating something that looks natural — something you’d see in a big meadow at the height of it’s bloom or on a winters hike when things are dormant and waiting to burst forth in the spring.