The most important artists of our time are visionary in that they continue to challenge us to see our world differently. They represent our culture in enlightened and, at times, beautiful ways. Artists prepare the mind and spirit for new ideas - new ways of seeing.
Believing is Seeing; Creating the Culture of Art by Mary Anne Staniszewski, Penguin Books, NYC, 1995

So what does this quote have to do with this document:" Notes and Sketches from an Exploration into the Nature of Fountains and the Planning of Gardens"?

As a designer of web pages, I consider myself to be an artist. As I began the creative process involved in building this web site, I was struck by the image of a fountain. Recently, taking rest and recreation in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. I spent my time meditating, taking pictures of cactus in bloom and of fountains. Fountains, it occurred to me, were symbolic of the need to be renewed or refreshed. There in that desert city, fountains are a popular installation in both residential and commercial settings.

When I wasn't roaming around outside, I went to galleries and libraries. I became curious to know more about fountains. Both the Scottsdale and Phoenix libraries were not only cool sanctuaries from the desert sun, they also had a reasonable number of books on gardening and the use of water in landscaping. Here then are the notes that I took as I explored the metaphor of the fountain:

"My lake is the world. the fountain playing in its basin is me and my possessions. the sea I glimpse beyond the lake is the universe from which everything comes and to which everything returns" (Japanese landscape gardner)

Water in the Garden by Douglas Bartrum, London, John Gifford Ltd. 1968

Water may be reflecting and tranquil or moving with energy and sound.

Qualities of water: subtle, relaxing, reminds us of respect for nature, flow ripple, refreshment, enjoyment, for drinking, watering, bathing.

Water shows us light changes, cloud movement, shadows, colors, mirrors, and gives dimension to the surroundings. It is therapeutic.

Ponds are reflective and enhance a garden's beauty. FOUNTAINS give vitality, variety, are constantly changing sparking and soothing.

Cascades. Weirs (notches for water to flow in) A channel or natural stream creates an axis from which a surrounding garden is developed. Waterfalls - Sakuteiki (11th c Japan) Strict rules for garden design. Types of waterfalls: linen falling, thread falling, uneven falling, glide falling, straight falling. Also: trickle, stepped falls, formal curtain fall, overhanging fall.

celebration, music, festival of light and water

FOUNTAIN a focal point, the simpler the detail the more successful the design. Must work within the context and character of the surrounding garden. Pumps circulate and recycle the water.

Garden design: Formal - geometric Informal - freeform (rougher, natural materials) Undulating patterns, sand, river pebbles, stepping stones, bridges

For Your Garden - Pools, Ponds and Waterways by Dawn Tucker Grinstain, Grove Weidenfelld, NY 1992.

Designing the garden - Elements: Peace, nature, harmony, soothing, therapeutic, proportion, balance, promoting the feeling of oneness with nature.

Study the site and the relationship of the elements to the whole environment. Select the setting.

Courtyard garden - for repose and tranquillity. Urban garden - a gathering place, focus on enjoyment, visual beauty, solace, reflection, rest, shelter, retreat. No garden is complete without water.

FOUNTAIN - a star performer in the garden. Water in motion is dramatic, practical, gives moisture, is cool, musical, lends privacy as a screen against outside noise and distractions.

In the garden, magic is created with balance using water, stone and plants.

The Use of Water in Landscape Architecture by Susan and Geoffrey Jellicoe, St. Martin's Press, NY, 1971.

Sketch proposed water features. Study the site and relationship of elements to the whole environment, the total scene. Which types of water features integrate most successfully into the garden. What are the existing character features and elements? Merge manufactured parts with nature.

Use a reflecting pool or pond where stillness is needed.

Fern, trees, sculptures provide vertical accents and shadows to reflect on water. Blue sky, moving clouds, birds in flight, changes in light give interest and variety.

Channels of water - from source goes from dynamic to reflective with distance. Elevation? Water source hidden? Formal or informal? Location of dramatic features? Small accents can be located near a patio or wide steps, framing them. Pools and spas dominate the landscape unless proportional.

Consider convenience, privacy, protection, distance for travel, shelter, screening, space, safety, lighting, surfaces. The presence of water in the garden brings life and interest no matter what the size.

Water is romantic, timeless. It liberates imagination, relieves frustrations. Life-giving properties of water are recognized by a FOUNTAIN set in the center of a courtyard. From Song of Solomon - "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters".

Quietness and action = essence of water design. Izaak Walton (The Compleat Angler 1653 writes about water and its contemplative and meditative nature. We recognize in nature an analogy to action in man.

Geometric pavilions complement the organic. Shapes of mountains, pools, paths can be created for special uses - to view the moon, snow on the mountain, the plum blossoms. Gardens can include stone lanterns, a teahouse, a pebble beach, a fishpond.

Find the Yeats Noh play where the spring bubbles up in the dream of life.

Gardens are for People by Thomas D. Church, McGraw Hill, NY, 1955.

Landscape architecture; a timeless approach. Garden elements: atrium, close, promenade, lanai, terrace, (think of best possible orientation to the sun), gazebo, pergola, cabana, arcade, dome, plaza, greenhouse, conservatory.

Build the garden around a dominant idea. Do one thing well and let all others be subordinate in scale to this idea.

Design Principles: Unity - the scheme as a whole, Function - practical sense/needs, Simplicity, Scale - pleasant relations, one part to another. In the calm composition, line leads the eye and gives the illusion of space. Steps point the eye, express mood and tempo and give an invitation.

The importance of entrance cannot be overemphasized. Give welcome with an effortless entrance and exit.

Use sculpture, statuary, wall plaques, ceramics, trees as living sculpture. Hedging, stone, screens, paving and pools.

The New Atrium by Michael Bednar, MacGraw-Hill, NY, 1986.

The primary purpose of a courtyard is to bring light and air to the rooms that surround it.

Water in Landscape Architecture by Craig S. Campbell, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY, 1978.

Pools,. lagoons, canals, lakes, - water in repose for meditation, contemplation, reflectiveness. FOUNTAINS lend music, poetry, recharging the spirit.

Water as sculptor. In history - sacred springs. Nymphs, gods, goddesses. Water for irrigation, display, sound, shelter, colour, scent, music. Embellished spring - pootable water, nymphaeum, fountain of ablution, sculptural fountain, imperiaal fountain. The prototype fountain is the centerpiece for courtyards, plazas and intersections.

The Garden Book by John Brookes, Crown Publishers, NY, 1984.

Consider line and pattern, dynamic lines, shape and texture, color, frameworks and grids.

Garden Cities 21 - Creating a Livable Urban Environment by J.O. Simonds, McGraw-Hill, NY, 1994.

The city/ urban dwellings represent separate togetherness. In Japanese culture "tokonoma" where a chosen objet d'art is displayed.

Living space - using dimension distinctions - fenestration, simplicity, texture, color, light, graphics, symbols, mystery.

Neighborhoods - where shared events and institutions and spaces need be efficient, safe, comfortable, pleasant, sequential, sinage to identify and guide, meeting places, utilities.

Communities - renewal, revitalization, redevelopment, centering, evolution, belonging, routing alignment, circulation, participation, preservation, conservation, potential development, employment, recreation, planning.

Use valleys, hilltops, ridges, plateaus, slopes, wetlands, bays, tidal estuaries, rivers, streams wildlife, corridors.

The Meaning of Gardens by M. Francis and R. Heath Jr., MIT Press, Cambridge, 1990.

The garden is a balancing point between human control and wild nature. Nature under control. Ideal of what nature should be. Paradise, harmony, reconciliation, new geometries of ideas.

Garden as action - relaxes, teaches, connects.

Control, stewardship of the earth, reconnection with mother earth, escape from conflict: being creative. Simultaneous existence, idea, place, action. Holistic, perspective, ideology, physical order.

"The garden exists not only as an idea or a place or an action but as a complex ecology of spacial reality, cognitive process, and real work."

Six muses of the garden: faith, power, ordering, cultural expression, personal expression, healing.

"The garden is a metaphor that provides unmatched insights".

Garden - participatory - connectedness. Intimate contact with life forces. Contemplation, socializing, revitalization of neighborhood, universal life qualities.

Other books: Elements and Total Concept of Urban Waterscape Design by Garett Eckbo Gardens of Paradise by John Brookes History and Design of

Great Islamic Garden, New Amsterdam, NY, 1987.

Fountains, Statues and Flowers - Studies in Italian Garden of 16th and 17th Centuries by Elizabeth Blast MacDougall, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library Collection, Washington DC, 1993.

END OF NOTES  Created December 1, 1996

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