My high school geometry teacher passed me out of pity. I was suspended for an embarrassing act of pigheadedness at school; he had no choice but to fail me for the midterm I was not in school to take.  His passing me at semester’s end was a gift.   I could not generate a theorem, as I did not understand them.  I had no sense of the beauty of shapes, and how those shapes got generated. Who knew the beauty of geometry would so influence my adult life.  I regret that I failed him-as I do now have a sense of space that I am able to put to paper.

Frankly, I did not have much sense at all at 17. Some of my lack of sense has persisted into my adulthood, and served me well.  Meaning, I have taken on things that anyone with good sense would not. Maybe that’s what my teacher saw in me.

But back to geometry.  Houses have windows, with views framed by those windows.  Any object on dead center in that window frame is “on axis”.  I draw a network of axis lines on my 10 scale plan first. Then I extend lines out from the corners of the house. I draw lines extending from the walks, the driveway, the porch. I draw lines describing traffic flow. I draw lots of lines.  Draw the lines that describe the geometry of your house and property, and how they relate to each other.  View lines are invisible geometry-they make sense once you make the transition from a drawing, to the sculpture that is a landscape. Sometimes landscape frames views. Sometimes it provides a place to be.


Geometry is an exact science, but lines can be casually accurate. Once you draw enough of them, you will have a geometric description of your views, your boundaries, your travel, your use.  A to B, and beyond B. High school geometry this is-don’t black out.

The geometry is a tool that can help you describe what you see.  My advice-draw lots of lines, and see what shakes out. Curves can be worked in.  My favorite geometric shape is an ellipse.  Any ellipse satisfies me.   An ellipse is an elegant, stately, and serene shape in the landscape.

Geometry-they should rename it “beautiful shapes”.  Circles, squares, ellipses, trapezoids, rectangles; I love them all. Make the lines first, how they interact will form your shapes. The lines will help you “shape” a terrace, a lawn, a hedge, a pool. A landscape takes all the shapes, generated from these lines, and fits them together in that picture frame that is your point of view.

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