Designing the S-Curve with Bespoke Step Treads from London Stone

A noted feature in show gardens at Chelsea Flower Show this year was the curve. Matthew Wilson, who designed the Royal Bank of Canada Garden, thought he was going out on a limb with its use, he told BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time, until he realised that a lot of other designers had put one in too this year. Wilson blames Alan Titchmarsh, who unwittingly made him tear up his original plans by saying he was sick of straight lines and wished people would do something curvy.

John Gale Landscapes created something curvy in their latest project. Curves are most usually found in paths, flowerbeds and lawns and I think we've all seen amateur designs which have incorporated too many curves and ended up with a wiggle. A wiggly line is weak; it feels indecisive.

SAM_2781_zpsdnnqebqn s-curved steps

  Image supplied by John Gale Landscapes

 There's nothing indecisive about the patio above. John Gale Landscapes have created a dramatic shape, using simple but bold S-curves to maximum effect. The curves have been made by outlining two large circles, to the extent that the circles are described in the paving pattern and the two connected with bespoke paving shapes. 

SAM_2802_zpsfah9ixke showing circle in paving

Image supplied by John Gale Landscapes

Mirroring the curved edge of the bespoke coping stones edging the patio are bespoke slabs in the paving that partly edge a bed that has been bisected by entrances into the house. Altogether you have a strong sinuous line that the eye wants to follow. Voluptuous was the word used to describe Matthew Wilson's curves; it works rather well here too.

20150218_160336_zpsv7s22rli  S-curved showing circle Image Supplied by John Gale Landscapes

The line has also been given a very satisfying repetition in the steps, where the bullnosed profile deepens the shadows on the risers and creates layers of sinuous lines.

SAM_2801_zpsyvlcmjjp s-curved steps other direction Image supplied by John Gale Landscapes

One thing that isn't recommended is to curve a line round until it ends in a point against a wall. All you get is a useless area that collects dust and rubbish. Here, the line of the circle stands away from the wall of the house, allowing the climber in the bed next to the house space to grow into the niche.

SAM_2783_zpsns4gaq5y showing niche by wallImage supplied by John Gale Landscapes 

The S-curve can be really worth considering in a garden where space is wide and shallow or long and narrow. A straight-edged patio taking up the width of the garden here could have made a very severe dividing line in a shallow space. As it is, the line creates a sense of fluidity, adding depth to the lawn, and encourages the eye to move around the garden, offering differently angled views across the lawn, depending on where you are standing.

All in all, it's a very strong design that takes on a warm hue with our Harvest Sawn Sandstone. Bespoke paving such as curved coping stones are cut to shape by London Stone's in-house stonemasons in our Bespoke Stone Centre, near Colnbrook, Berkshire.

By London Stone Blog | Published 5th June 2015
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