Landscaping for the senses : sight

How important is the sight in a garden? Meet Catherine Painvin, decorative artist and member of the jury of the Carré des Jardiniers 2019 contest!

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For the Carré des Jardiniers 2019 contest, part of the finalists’ score will be awarded by professionals specialized in one of the five senses. What do the senses do for landscapes? How can you use them in your garden designs? Each month until the next Paysalia show, the jurors will explain their points of view. This month, we discuss the pleasure of the eyes with decorative artist Catherine Painvin, an entrepreneur in many fields.

Explore the other senses through a sensory garden: hearing, smell, touch and taste

“Being a perfectionist, views are fundamental and green spaces must look good.”

For Catherine Painvin, sight is what triggers the other senses. Sight is a highly developed sense which she has used in her creations — including landscape design — for many years: “My passion is restoring castles. I take particular care with ceremonial courtyards and lawns, because these are the first things that I see in the morning, especially from the first floor of a castle. For me, gardens are special. Being a perfectionist, views are fundamental and green spaces must look good. I never use weed killer and do all planting by hand in straight lines marked out with chalk. But I let nature do its thing in the underbrush.”

To illustrate her work, Catherine Painvin told us about her design for Curzay-sur-Vonne castle near the French city of Poitiers: “It is one of my most remarkable projects as this castle has a 5-hectare ceremonial courtyard and a 20-hectare lawn. In the main courtyard, 120 silver linden and Lebanon cedar trees highlighted by flowerbeds of sowbreads invite visitors to stroll. In the garden, the beech, chestnut and cedar trees are laid out in groves, which I find very pleasing to the eye. I also worked on the orchard by alternating rows of rose bushes and vegetables like leeks and carrots. I really love big spaces where I can express my vision of gardens and I particularly like the plenty effect!”

Courtyard's view of Curzay-sur-Vonne castle
© Catherine Painvin

As an enthusiast, Catherine Painvin is waiting impatiently for the gardens competing in the Carré des Jardiniers contest: “I expect to be dazzled and impressed. I would like to see things I never imagined - and be overwhelmed by them!” 

Chromotherapy in gardens: every color has a function!

Colors are especially known for the language of flowers, but they really do have an impact on the psychology of human beings. Always take these beneficial effects into account when composing landscape designs for a garden. Sight and views are just two of the solutions to use! Good examples are:

  • pink reduces anxiety and aggressiveness. Unlike blue, another color which reduces stress, pink is a warm color which encourages movement towards others. It is often used in prisons, psychiatric hospitals and schools. 
  • We feel closer to warm and clear colors than to cold or dark colors. A great idea for building optical illusions in landscape designs!
  • Colors help with memorizing a place or an object but black, white or gray colors leave few memories!

Furthermore, an explosion of colors is a major trend in landscaping. So make the most of it! 

Read also: Discover 24 astonishing landscaping facts!

Why stimulate the five senses in landscapes?

Acting on the five senses in a harmonious way ensures that gardens encourage relaxation. The challenge for the Carré des Jardins 2019 finalists in the “Village Square” theme will be to stimulate the senses of the jury through their careful choice of plants, materials and garden layouts.

To better understand the importance of the five senses, check out what Master Gardeners concocted for the preceding editions of this contest.


Although a crucial factor in the success of a garden, a pleasant view is not always easy to create. The creativity of the Carré des Jardiniers 2019 finalists will be pushed to the limits! There is no doubt that the landscape designers will be surprised by the solutions picked by the finalists!

© Photo credit: Yuliya Loginova /

Official suppliers for the 2019 contest:


Stand 4J104



Stand 4C110



Stand 6D114

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in co-production with

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Since its launch in 2009, Paysalia has been organized in co-production with UNEP which supports landscape contractors on a daily basis through its 13 regional unions. UNEP defends for the interests of businesses in the landscape and garden sector, develops social standards for the profession, and leads the creation of professional guidelines for the industry.