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Designing an Intimate Space

Any area can become a cozy, private retreat if you use these three principles

Fine Gardening - Issue 160

Many people like to have a garden for entertaining, but most of us also want our gardens to be a spot where we relax and get away from it all. My client with the large courtyard was no different. She wanted several things from her space, but at the top of the list was that it be an intimate, private refuge. Though the area was a blank slate in the middle of construction, I knew that I could give her the space that she wanted if I created a sense of enclosure, kept things in scale, and added an atmosphere of seclusion.

Start with a sense of enclosure

It’s not just a bench on a path. A seating area set within the planting— rather than in front of it—makes one feel embraced. Photo: Lynn Felici-Gallant

To feel cozy or relaxed in a space, one must feel embraced by…

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