Threshold: creating a space by creating a doorway

garden path entrance doorway threshold garden designThe edge of a garden is the edge of intention.  It is the spot where the gardener ceases garden-ish efforts and lets something else happen.  The edge may be a wall, a fence, a drop-off, a cessation of all interventions save biannual mowing, the start of a forest, or just the line where the driveway starts.  Whatever it is physically, the edge of a garden is a line in the mind of the garden designer across which garden visitors must move.  What’s needed is a threshold.

The threshold of a garden ideally contrasts with the garden not so much visually as experiential-ly, bodily.  If the garden is a cool shady spot, the threshold could be a moment of brightness.  If the garden is a backyard that wants to feel spacious, the threshold exaggerates that sensation by being an enclosed space.

The image above is the threshold to a woodland garden.  It is possible it was an accidental happenstance, that the forest just grew that dense right there, but I doubt it.  I think a gardener several decades ago intentionally transplanted several evergreens to near the entrance.  Standing in the shade those evergreens cast now, how could I not walk into that sunlight?


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