Curvilinear borders, walls, beds, and paths add pleasing lines to gardens.
I’ll admit it. When I have a hard time convincing a client to let me create the sweeping arcs, spirals, and semicircles I love, I simply say, “I’d like to create some curves—voluptuous curves.” Slowly, a smile appears across her—or his—face.
Why is the idea of a voluptuous curve so compelling? I think it relates to our time as infants, when we nestled within the enclosing arms of our mothers. A mother’s body serves as a child’s first landscape—a home, a haven, a harbor. So it may be that shapes that swell, curves that contain, lines that carve out space delight us on some deep and unconscious level.
But it’s not just the shape of the human body that offers us images for making pleasing curvilinear lines. Think of the gracefulness of an oxbow of a river, the meander of a stream, the inward curving eddies found in the lee of a stone caught in a rushing brook.