“We even have a feeling about a rock, about anything.” – Donald Judd
Obsessive? Maybe not, even for an evasive interviewee such as Judd
Like function, landscape design is much about the relationship between mass and void. Below are views of the same median I designed for vehicular speeds, though it also works for pedestrians and cyclists to a degree.
The plants are grown in, showing the relationships between boulders, plants, and gravel mulch. The boulders and plants are mass (positive space). The gaps using mulch are called voids. (negative space)
Together in a landscape, that’s considered legibility.
The relationship of mass and void begins with the designer and their plan. Moving plants on a plan is easier than in the field.
Years earlier, young 5 gallon plants were placed by the contractor helped by the owner’s representative 3 or 4 feet away from boulders per plan, further apart than above. That enabled those plants to grow properly in relation to each other and the boulders.
More than not, project owners and contractors don’t get that. Plants that appear on the plan against a boulder are placed too close, ignoring the plan’s scale and growth.
Nature often inspires good placement. Even if no person placed all this.
That’s in Picacho Arroyo, near the above streetscape. Remember the Donald Judd quote?
Also, was Judd being too controlling wanting his works to be installed specifically for their space, or even to create spaces for his works?
Onto another streetscape vignette in the same development…
There are plant and boulder masses with crushed gravel voids, like the other median.
But with differently-shaped boulders that couldn’t be predicted months earlier on a plan, the contractor and owner did a good job of retaining the plans’ spirit and spacing between once-younger and smaller plants and boulders.
The above parties also set the boulders to look real yet deliberate.
Everything matured graciously.
I agree with Donald Judd’s quote starting this post: a rock, anything!