Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Landscaping with Rhythm

Cafe at Nan Tien Temple
In garden design, the dynamic of rhythm creates a visual flow and adds vitality to a garden.The most noteworthy exponent of it was the great Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx who created the wonderful wave patterned paving at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janiero. He designed gardens where the seasons and visual interest from flowering plants were less important than the resulting pattern, form,rhythm and flow on the ground.
At the Temple garden, in the intimate spaces around the cafe, low clipped shrubs are surrounded by flowing stone studded concrete which is occasionally punctuated with 'star bursts' of Agave attenuata and rosettes of succulents. The garden also features a dry creek bed created using smooth round river rocks which have been positioned so that they mimic the flow of water.

Dwarf Blue Spruce and paving detail
Left, Chinese Abelia, rear, variegated Meterosideros and foreground blue Juniper

Dry Creek Bed

A green dome of the native Baeckea virgata

Garden designed by Roberto Burle Marx Paving at Copacabana Beach, Rio, Brazil


  1. Thanks for today's "green fix." I really needed it, everything is white outside.

    Christine in Alaska

  2. I had always thought the most beautiful traditional oriental gardens were all Japanese! Thanks for opening my eyes.

  3. I liked the second picture from the top with three different shades of green. My husband admired the gardens of Roberto Burle Marx, which he saw in Rio. I started collecting bromeliads after hearing about Burle Marx's dramatic use of those plants.

  4. Hi Ian, Interesting posting - being so immersed in our 'natural' garden these designs are an extraordinary contrast. Just imagine the upkeep in a tropical climate! Our Baeckia virgata display their naturally weeping form which is also very attractive.
    Good to find your blog
    Happy New year to you