Studying garden design at Inchbald or elsewhere, introduces the student to ‘grid’. The grid is a tool explained by John Brooks, once the Director of the Garden Design Department of Inchbald School of Design, in his book, Garden Design. The book explains how to use a grid taken from the architectural elements of the house to help create proportional guidelines for creating your garden. I long wondered why this technique is taught; why using grid creates gardens that are related to the building. Then, one day I stumbled on this statement in A beginners guide to constructing the Universe, by Michael Schneider: “For example, microscopic bumps on a grain of sand at the seashore resemble an aerial view of the whole beach’s shoreline. “ This natural phenomena - a self similar accord, repeating the same shape on different scales - is the basis of fractal mathematics, which is at heart of modern chaos theory.

And it finally became clear to me that because the house is very often the dominant structure of the garden, taking the grid of the house helps to bring the garden into this self-similar harmonic relationship. Because these relationships naturally exist in the world anyway and are resonating in the depth of our beings as beautiful and harmonious reverberations, re-creating this relationship in the garden makes the proportions feel right to its dwellers.


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