Tricking the eye can be fun – it causes garden visitors to take a second long look after a passing glance fools their mind. It’s also a very useful technique when designing compact spaces. An Alice-in-Wonderland door or gateway through to another section of your garden can create the illusion of length in a short, narrow plot. Mirrors bring the impression that there is extra space where, in fact, there is none. A well-structured cavity in a hedge, or mount on a wall, can frame a landscape as if it is hung in a gallery. Bold lines of trelliswork can trick you into thinking that the space is longer, or at another angle, than the eye tells you.
Trompe l’oeil – literally translating into ‘deceive the eye’ is yet another tool in the designer’s box of tricks. It is most frequently applied as paintwork, where an illustration incredibly representative of a possible scene, is applied to a wall or fence. A ghostly figure peering through a window, a piece of antique gardenalia casually discarded against a shed, or a mesmerising scene of wildlife utilising your garden space, seemingly fleetingly yet installed forever. Trickery and deception are usually applied to life in unforgiving ways, but thankfully for gardeners, the effects are more honourable. Enjoy.