OYO Design Blog

A while back when I told a friend I was thinking of a driving visit to the Northeast, she began to enthusiastically list the gardens I should visit. But the reality is, when I’m on vacay, I don’t necessarily WANT to visit a lot of gardens. This is partly in difference to my husband, who already tolerates a LOT of shoptalk around our house when my gardener friends drop by. Beyond that, a vacation is supposed to be a break from work, even when it is work that you love. So a garden or park has to be pretty special to earn a spot on our itinerary.

A perfect example is Stanley Park, where we spent the day on a recent visit to Vancouver. This park has it all, and one of the things that makes it so special is its diversity.

We started out on the water side, where we admired beautiful views of the bay and city skyline, interspersed with small, scenic beaches.

We started out on the water side, where we admired beautiful views of the bay and city skyline, interspersed with small, scenic beaches.

As we climbed higher, the topography changed to a woodsy scene, but the views over the trees were equally beautiful.

Stopping for lunch at Prospect Point restaurant meant more views…

…complemented by the lush landscaping on the restaurant grounds.

After refreshing ourselves, we headed back via the interior of the park, where a dense canopy shading a dense, fern-dominated undergrowth made us feel we were in a totally different place than the breezy, ocean view trek we’d enjoyed on the way in.

As we got closer to the city, the park changed once again, as we ambled through wide lawns complemented by carefully curated plant beds.

We ended with a stroll around a small lake, which brought us back to the city proper.

So what design lessons did I walk away with?

Landscapes have the ability to feed our senses in numerous ways, whether that way is…

thoughtful and cerebral,

meditative and calming,

or cultivated and curated.

A visit to a place as diverse as Stanley Park reminds me of the power landscapes and gardens have, and while a suburban backyard is a far cry from a world-renounced park, great design reflects the power of nature, no matter how humble the canvas.

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