Two’s company, three’s a wow

Living centerpiece. Lined up like triplets on a tabletop, succulent-filled containers catch the eye. Images by Diane Morey Sitton

Who doesn’t remember Dorothy in the 1939 musical, The Wizard of Oz, clicking the heels of her ruby slippers three times as she repeats, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Indeed, the number three plays a part in popular culture, religion, sports, magic, fairy tales, fables, destiny, and even garden design.

Three cheers for three chairs. Who wouldn’t want to relax with friends in this inviting setting?


Repeat performance. A decorative trio of wall art reinforces a three-hued color theme.

Experts agree that items arranged in odd numbered groups are more effective than those arranged in even numbered groups. The items, they say, are more appealing…more memorable. Perhaps it’s because it takes at least three of anything to form a distinguishable pattern in our mind. Or perhaps it’s because three forms a triangle, drawing the eye in a way that focuses and holds interest. Most folks agree that items positioned in irregular, asymmetrical clusters appear more natural than those arranged in straight lines or block shapes. One way or another, whether talking about flowering shrubs, wall art, or decorative containers, using three ensures a group will have substance.

Continued Below


Threepeat. Begonia spills from three identical urns in this shady retreat.

By the numbers
The rule of three reminds folks that displaying an odd-number of items adds more interest to an area than displaying an even number. But, use it as a guideline only. Don’t crowd or clutter small spaces just to have a trio.

Triple play. Three globes create a focal point in this three-tiered landscape.

Three also works magic with height, color, and shape. Increase depth by using containers of different heights. Intensify interest with objects of different shapes. Experiment with textures. Rev up a color twosome by adding a third hue. It will deepen dimension.

While most of us will never possess ruby slippers with magical powers, we can work garden magic in our landscapes by following the rule of three.

It’s as simple as one-two-three.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
Back To Top