Insight, Landscape Design, Outdoor Living

Finishing Touches on Your Perfect Space

April 27, 2011, Author: bianchi
When it comes to shaping space, furniture placement is as important as any other element of a design. I have seen many a design that was done without the furniture on the plan, and that is exactly why it did not work once the chairs and tables were introduced. In many cases, the plan doesn’t incorporate enough space to support the number of guests the family actually plans to invite, nor the traffic flow required to get people through the area without tripping over each other. Before I begin designing a space, I always ask my clients how many people will be using the space. Their answers tell me the number of furniture pieces required, which helps determine how much decking is needed and how much space to allow for free movement between areas of the yard. Form follows function. The orientation of furniture in a space dictates its functionality as well. Furniture should be arranged such that it faces toward those entering the area, or angled in that general direction. This creates a feeling of reception. If you were to walk up to a group seated in a space and they were turned away from you, it would seem as if they were giving you the cold shoulder. In selecting furniture, its transparency strongly influences how its mass will appear within a space. In a small area, a table made of transparent materials, or with openings such as wrought iron, will be functional without being overpowering. In a large, open area, the same furniture might need to be bulked up, with thick wooden frames and bulky cushions, to have the mass needed to create a presence in the scene. Bench seating can follow the same guideline. A bench without a back has a much lower profile and will reveal and emphasize its background, while one with a backrest and more mass will be a potential focal point and an inviting feature to approach, in and of itself.