FIELD NOTES: Focus Your Landscape View

When designing a landscape, be it large or small, it’s critical to step back, see the whole picture and relate your space to the surroundings. Like a photographer – take the long shot view, then, zoom in on the details. This really captures the feeling of place. My recent visit to Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA  refreshed this lesson in my mind and three things stood out…framing the view, sculpture as a focal point and recurring shapes create unity.

With spectacular views of the central Massachusetts landscape and nature trails, Fruitlands brings together Heritage, Nature & Art. The New England style architecture of the Farmhouse, Shaker Office, Native American Gallery and Art Gallery are nestled into the greater landscape (the whole picture).

Fruitlands Museum buildings in the larger landscape

Other farm buildings and stone walls give a sense of stability in a wide open space with distance views.

Sculpture by Andy Moerlein

The Artist-in-Residence for 2012, Andy Moerlein, successfully uses the surrounding landscape and building backdrops to frame his sculptures and focus the visitor’s eye.

Sculpture by Andy Moerlein

Scultpture by Andy Moerlein

Sculpture by Andy Moerlein

Traditional garden features repeat the circular/round shape, giving a sense of unity to the property. In this historic landscape, these shapes also drive home a message that nature and life come full circle.

Decorative Concrete Wishing Well

Sundial and stone accent pavers

Stone Bird Bath

Wood, Well Pulley Wheel

Bulls-Eye Hole in Stone

Check out the Labyrinth  if you go there. The ultimate circle in the landscape.

The horizontal lines of the post and rail fences certainly influenced the form of this bench.

Strong verticals accentuate the limitlessness of this vast landscape.

Sculpture by Andy Moerlein

Giant Pine Tree

Cupola & Weathervane

On the whole (hole), remember to step back, take in the entire picture…

-then, focus on the details.

Some incredible things will happen when you “borrow from the greater landscape”.

More images from Fruitlands Museum…

Learn more about Fruitlands Museum:

Museum History 

Hiking Trails 



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