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More exam commentaries - from Level 2 Garden Planning
by Janet Prescott - Monday, 12 November 2018, 12:59 PM

This particular topic is one which is worth looking at if you are studying the same area at level 3:

R2111 February ‘18

Q2a) State what is meant by a garden planning principle.                             2 marks

b) Describe FOUR distinct ways by which movement/direction can be encouraged by garden design.                                                                                                                          8 marks

This question relates to Outcome 3 of the syllabus:

3.1 Describe the relevance of garden planning principles to the production of a garden design that ‘works’ – one that follows accepted ‘rules’ or ‘conventions’, and which is pleasing to the eye. 

To include examples of how a successful garden design (one which is pleasing to the eye) demonstrates accepted principles of garden planning (unity/cohesion, balance, form, scale/proportion, movement/direction, rhythm, repetition, simplicity).

 3.2 State the meaning of the following terms: symmetry, asymmetry, colour, focal points. 

To include examples of each term in a garden context and how colour can be used in garden design to provide unity, adjust mood and play visual tricks. Uses of focal points to include: to draw the eye, to encourage exploration, to distract, to create false perspective, to provide theme interest.

Part a) is an example of a question where it is very easy to define something by repeating the terms in the question, so rather than repeat the word ‘principle’ another word of phrase is needed.

The examiner’s comments suggest the following as a suitable answer:

‘A garden design principle is one of a number of widely recognised design concepts that follow accepted rules and conventions aimed at producing designs that ‘work’ and are pleasing to the eye’. 

Part b) requires four parts to the answer. This is in bold and capitals so it is easier to pick out. It is easier to use numbers or bullet points for answering this, and only include four. A description requires a reasonable amount of detail in the answer. Also think about the word ‘distinct’ being in the question and try and come up with four very different ways.

The examiner’s comments suggest the following as acceptable answers:

·        The use of focal points to encourage visitors to walk towards it

·        Straight pathways for direct access to an area containing garden furniture

·        A winding pathway leading behind shrubs or hedges to encourage people to see what is there.

·         Grasses/bamboos moving in the wind to attract the eye

·        Plants moving/swaying  and creating a rustling noise

·        Water/fountains to create movement in themselves and to create sound to attract visitors

From these answers you can see that there are two parts to each description. The first part is a particular feature, principle or element and the second is the way in which it creates movement. Movement/direction can be actual physical movement of features such as fountains or plants, or it can be something that is itself static, but encourages you to walk or look in a certain direction.