Modern garden design enables functional elements of the landscape such as walkways, motor courts, and patios, to work as integrated portions of the landscape rather than typical stand alone elements. We see this a great deal in contemporary landscaping, where features are characterized by very stark geometry and abstract forms.
Inorganic themes define the yard, with the organic only serving as a frame or connector of significant geometric design elements and outdoor forms. Gardens are kept to minimalist proportions so they may serve a master plan that whose design promotes human consciousness over the aesthetics and free-standing forms of nature.
In a modern landscape, the garden tends toward the inorganic in element and design. It exits to support manmade forms and home architecture, not to showcase natural elements as aesthetics in their own respect. Darker foliage is the norm here because it contributes to the sense of stark absolutism that distinguishes the modern landscape. Plants such as boxwoods and mondo grass are normally used for linear plantings running adjacent to walls, such as those commonly found in backyard design.
Modern garden areas can also be installed inside hardscape structures themselves. This involves removing entire sections of concrete, blocks, or stone and installing plants in their place. The resulting outcome suggests that nature has now been contained within the boundaries modern human progress, and that forms of nature itself are now subject to human engineering and construction.
A modern garden can also be used to create a perimeter around a significant contemporary landscape element. Modern fountains, for example, are normally very important features in contemporary front yards and backyards. By adding a circular planting around the base of a fountain, we can strengthen its sense of form and draw attention to its presence.
In a similar manner, the linear elements of contemporary wall fountains can further accentuated with low-profile plantings that emphasize strong lines at the base of the fountain and geometric angles inherent to its design.
A large number of custom homes today are built with an eclectic blend of architectural themes and are not purely contemporary or modern styles, per se. A garden here will have to be a bit more organic and diverse in its design to the extent that some aspect of the home or yard that requires an additional decorative touch.
For instance, many multi-story custom homes are constructed with second story patios and rooftop areas distinguished by a high level of linearity and symmetry. We can magnify these attributes by planting a traditional garden style-such as Italian or Mediterranean-and adapting its form and proportion to support the principles of modern design.
In the same fashion, more organic lawns require gardens that add color with flowering plants, and contribute a sense of vitality and expression to front and back yards. The degree to which we use color and variety in such a garden will depend on factors such as the size and proportions of the house, the color of its facade.
The materials used to construct the home and other exterior structures are also important, as are the number of trees within the yard which by their very presence require a more organic aesthetic to support their own.
Modern garden design ideas such as the ones discussed in this article should only be developed by licensed landscaping architects who are familiar with the complexities inherent to this very challenging style where organic priorities are almost determined solely by inorganic demands, and where garden installation and proportion are predicated on manmade geometry and structural forms.
The Prince of Kot Khwaja Saeed
The Emperor’s Brother: Prince Pervez’s and his tomb
Hidden in the ancient part of Lahore’s Kot Khawaja Saeed is Prince Pervez’s solitary tomb. Khawaja Saeed, after whom the area is named, was a Mahavat (Elephant Driver) of Prince Pervez.
Prince Pervez was Emperor Jahangir’s son, and Shah Jehan’s brother. While Shah Jehan is believed to have killed all of Pervez’s son to eliminate future threats to his rule, he married his eldesr son Dara Shikoh to Prince Pervez’s daughter, Nadira Begum.
The historian Kanhaiya Lal, whom we often refer to, as he is one of the most prominent 19th Century historians, says that Prince Pervez was buried in this tomb after he was slaughtered by the order of Asaf Khan (his father’s brother in law and Empress Nur Jehan’s brother, also Mumtaz Mahal’s father) when he returned from Kashmir. However, this view is incorrect as Prince Pervez died at Burhanpur in his 37th year on October 28, 1625, from where his body was brought to Agra and buried in his garden there.
Some historians erroneously claim that this tomb holds the remains of Prince Dara Shikoh, the ill-fated crown prince of the Mughal Empire, but he was assassinated at Delhi and is buried there in the complex of Humayun’s tomb.
According to Abdullah Chughtai, the area of the tomb was originally a garden owned by Prince Pervez and the surrounding area was known as Mandi Pervezabad. After the death of Prince Pervez, the garden was transferred to his daughter, Nadira Begum, wife of Prince Dara Shikoh. According to Chughtai, Merh Shikoh, son of Dara Shikoh lies buried in this tomb; however, this statement has not been historically proven. The remains of Dara Shikoh, and his son’s, all brutally assasinated by Aurangzeb Alamgir, lie in absolute mystery and remain unanswered.
According to historian Latif, it was the burial place of Pervez’s two sons who were murdered at Lahore along with other princes of royal blood, by the order of their uncle Shah Jahan, on his accession to the throne. Latif also does not provide any contemporary source for his information. Whosoever is buried there, it is apparent that he was a royal personality as the tomb has been built befitting to a royal status.
Details of the construction of the tomb are not known. However, some writers of the 19th century had made some reference to its history and architecture. Chishti wrote in 1864 that "originally, the tomb was wholly in white marble and its eight openings were furnished with marble door frames, but Maharaja Ranjit Singh removed all the marble to use it in the Darbar Sahib at Amritsar."
Kanhaiya Lal, writing in 1884, records that "the tomb originally was in marble, including its floor. All its four sides had magnificent gates. Maharaja Ranjit Singh removed its marble and got it repaired in brick. The brick repairs done by Ranjit Singh had also decayed by his time, and the tomb was in a very bad condition of preservation and was then repaired by the British Government."
Latif described the tomb in 1892 as standing eminently in the midst of cultivated fields on a circular platform resting on another platform of octagonal base, of the height of a man. Now the tomb stands in absolute fear among houses which have encroached upon it. In 2010, I was able to visit it, but last month (Jan 2014) it has been surrounded completely by houses and the only way to access it is to jump over its boundary wall or see it from a distant street. While it restricts visitors, I hope the walls protect the monument.
The dome rose gracefully from an octagonal platform duly supported by arches.
Muhammad-ud-Din Fauq visited the tomb in 1923 and according to him, "the tomb was octagonal in shape and the grave was set inside. The white marble Taweez (sarcophagus) was missing. To approach the grave, on the east, north, and south of the platform, there were two sets of stairs flight to the platforms, seven and five in numbers respectively. The platform was five feet high from the ground level. In front of the stairs, on the north, the floor of the terrace was badly in wreck. The ground around the platform was in depression. The traces of a canal were visible which led to the garden of Sardar Teja Singh."
Octagonal on plan with the inner diameter of 22 feet 2 inches and outer diameter of 31 feet 4 inches (wall thickness of 4 feet 7 inches), the tomb stands on double platform. The lower platform measures 95 feet 6 inches in length and the upper 66 feet 6 inches. Around the lower tier of the platform there are remains of kankar lime terrace about 3 to 4 inches thick. Lime/limestone plastering is a highlight of 16-17th Century Mughal architecture and Nawab Zafar Jang Kokaltash’s Tomb in Mughalpura still has most of it in tact.
Modern houses have encroached over the whole area and on the west they even touch the structure of the lower platform. Kanhaiya Lal had mentioned that there were magnificent gates on all four sides of the tomb. Perhaps these gates were at the extremity of the terrace which might have been the base of the geometrical pattern brick pavement in hexagonal and octagonal forms, whose sufficient remains still exist on the lower and upper tiers of the platform. The structure of the tomb is built in small Lahori bricks of the size of 8 inches by 5¼ inches by 1 inch – a size of Shah Jahan’s period. The interior of the tomb was once decorated with the usual fresco work whose traces are still extant here and there. At the top of the platform, a terracotta frieze in two tiers in the form of a leaf design has been applied by the way of decoration. Such a terracotta decoration on a Mughal monument at Lahore is seldom met and is, therefore, rare. The dome appears to be single storey, but the measurement of height of the soffit in the interior and at the outer apex there is a difference of some 14 feet. From this, it can be inferred that actually it is a double dome, but the usual small opening which is provided between the two domes has not been kept for some reason or maybe it was blocked some time later. (Again, if you want to see such an opening, Zafar Jang’s tomb offer that sight, but please do not climb in, as the structure is fragile!)
The tomb has a neck higher than Ali Mardan Khan’s tomb with which it has some similarity in expression. The possible date of its construction falls in the fourth decade of the 17th century – from 1630 to 1640.
The tomb is in a lamentable state of neglect. Its arches which take the load of the heavy dome are broken, and the structure is in danger of a sudden collapse. Most of the pavement on the interior and of the platforms has disappeared. The stairs to the platforms are mostly dilapidated and there is wild growth all over the dome itself which allows leakage of rain water to the core. Currently, the tomb is almost hemmed in by modern houses.
By Saad Sarfraz Sheikh on 2010-02-10 15:42:15
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Check out the Great Garden Formula online garden design course that Rachel mentions in the episode: http://www.successfulgardendesign.com/online-garden-design-course/
In this video, you will learn how to transform your front garden. Professional international, garden designer, Rachel Mathews, will show you how to plan front garden design ideas in a number of ways.
She will talk about 2 types of front gardens, the purely decorative and the practical ones that incorporate a drive. You will learn front garden ideas on how to landscape these 2 separately and she will also let you in on a golden rule when planning to design your front yard, particularly for gardens that incorporate a drive. This will guide you to creating a much more interesting front garden.
Some of the gardens featured in this episode will show you how you can improve your front garden space to accommodate car parking capability and at the same time keeping the look of the front garden design pretty and tidy.
Front gardens don’t have to be fancy and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to build it. She will discus how one simple dominant shape of lawn can tidy up the look of your garden and how to make it work well with the look of the house and also how to tie up your garden’s landscaping to your surrounding area.
Also, this episode featured food producing front garden which should give you design ideas for your own front yard regardless if it’s just a very small space. Another front garden Rachel featured is one that is low maintenance, where she made use of a simple wire fence.
She will also be out and about to show you different styles of front gardens and share her thoughts and give you pointers about how it can be improved. In this part of this episode, Rachel will talk about focal points in your front garden and how other elements of your garden should tie in to it.
Did you get the answer right last time?
There’s also the answer to the last episode’s question on why the garden wall was staggered and not in a straight line. Rachel is now back in the UK, enjoying the peace and quiet after Spain… well almost – see the outtakes at the end!
What Would You Like to See Covered in Future Shows?
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