Debra Prinzing

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Zen of the Circle

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Graduated in size from tiny to large, a row of ornamental concrete orbs caught my eye at the edge of a path. We toured this lovely landscape on the Sawtooth Botanical Garden tour in July.

“Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, all in perspective,” Paul Cezanne (1925)

“Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. . . . “ Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux (Hehaka Sapa, 1961)

Cobblestones are embedded in a circular pattern to create a beautiful, uncomplicated lawn terrace in the Yakima, Washington garden of Kim Brewer and Rick Main

The image of a circle pleases the eye. In the garden, shapes that are rounded, organic, and sensual resonate as “good design.” They are visually satisfying, emotionally seductive, artistically whole.

A perfectly round lawn, measuring about 14 feet in diameter, provides plenty of space for children to play in a well-designed urban garden (Langstraat-Wood design)

Circles also appear tidy, if that sort of thing matters to you. They can be formal, but circular shapes are also very contemporary-looking. For a fresh statement in the landscape, think about how you can apply or incorporate a rounded feature. With all the squarish blocks of architecture that occupy one’s life, the circle is a nice, soft antidote.

The reflection of arched openings in a stone bridge creates the suggestion of repeated circles. This is the “Jade Ribbon Bridge” at The Huntington’s new Chinese Garden