4 Ways Nature & Built Environments Work Together

We believe that great design incorporates the following 4 design concepts (to varying degrees) in order to maximize the relationship between built environments and nature.


Structures in the built environment can be designed to frame a view of nature (or skylines). Like the below photo, the entrance and hallway frames the view of the backyard.

Frame View_1
DWELL Magazine. POSTED BY: Kelsey Mulvey

Borrowing views is a concept that dates back to the 18th century in England. “The furniture and landscape designer William Kent is said to be the first to recognize that land outside a garden’s designed space could appear to be part of it. He understood that someone else’s fields or farmlands could be ‘borrowed’ visually to make one’s own lands seem larger.”  

Both images below borrow nature to make their gardens feel larger, whether the lake or the field.

Borrowed View_1
DWELL Magazine. POSTED BY: Frits de Vries Architects + Associates Ltd. PHOTOGRAPHER: Ema Peter
Brick wall with a large opening leading to a large field with large trees.
Photo: Patterson Webster. Garden: Glen Villa Gardens


Blurring the lines between natural and built creates a seamless transition that is more comfortable and inviting. Nature should creep in and built spaces should creep out. Feeling like you’re indoors as well as outdoors is the place of connection.

Photo: Cesar Rubio. Project by: Longwell MacDonald
DWELL Magazine. Photo by: Ema Peter


This concept is all about the outdoor room, which is a specific area with a specific function, such as seating area around a fire feature or even a vegetable garden.  Each area/room is positioned in nature, not to look like it magically appeared, but to have a sense of privacy and mystique. 

Photo by: Joe Fletcher. Architects: Feldman Architecture
Photo by: Saxon Holt / PhotoBotanic.com


Getting from point A to point B should not look like a sterile hallway in a hospital. With every turn and glance the experience should be enjoyable while creating anticipation of where you’re going. This is especially true if you’re walking from building to the next or from one point of your garden to another.

POSTED BY: Joanna Shaw. PHOTOGRAPHER: Jeff Roberts
Wallace Landscape Associates

If you’re interested in seeing the integrate of built and native environments for your own home, contact us today

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