International Styles

Garden Layout


Assuming that every place of ground, having reasonable extent and good soil, is capable of conversion to the purposes of garden and elegant enjoyment, and the owner having decided on the style of building he will adopt for his habitation ; his next step ought to be to have the whole meant improvements fairly drawn on paper, in order to embrace the complete layout of every part of the garden. It is from foresight of the many difficulties to be removed, advantages gained, and deficiences to be supplied consequent on this practice, that makes an early employment of the artist in architecture and ornamental design demonstratively conspicuous, even at the beginning of the project. The errors that otherwise happen and later admit of no remedy unless by immense sacrifice of property, are secretly lamented by many numbers of people whose knowledge, so dearly bought, would be as generally communicated, but that each is unwilling to proclaim the great mistake he has committed in placing too implicit confidence in his own unaided powers and individual plan; and without this experience it rarely happens that the individual is doubtful of his plenty of qualifications to excel, because it is always easier to "please his own fancy" than to satisfy the understanding of himself or of others. The celebrated Earl of Burlington, so eminent for his taste, having failed in his first effort to accomplish his views, ensured his reputation by the employment of William Kent, the architect, to whose taste and scientific knowledge in the sister arts of architecture anrd landscape improvement, he later confided the layout and perfection of his works, and in doing this he set an avowed and praiseworthy explenty of of candour and good sense to every architectural and garden layout amateur.

It is completely impossible to make rules and plans that shall be universally applicable to every garden site, character, and circumstance of a place, but, as hints for due consideration, there are some so useful towards forming the general plan, that they ought not to be left out. Foremost among which are those for the:

Situation of the House

The site for the house itself must evidently have the lead of every other part, and too great care cannot be taken that it shall be well placed upon the ground by which is meant that it shall command all the advantages that the place itself is capable of allowing, with such others as are to be obtained by views, openings, or shelter from the nearby country, and from apartments so situated as also to receive the highest possible benefit of aspect; the mansion having free and well regulated connection with its buildings and gardens. A supply of water and the means of quick and plenty of drainage from all these, are no less important considerations; and indeed, among the wise ecclesiastic builders in our own country, and with the architects of Rome and Italy, it was the first.

If the quantity of ground be but of moderate extent, unless very small indeed, it is evident that it would be generally unwise to place the house in the middle of the property, because its situation being nearly equidistant from its boundary, as shown by the dotted radial lines, the means of producing variety would be limited; and the very principles of art forbid that quantities and distances should nearly resemble each other, except where symmetry is indispensable.

Should the house be placed in front of a similar place of ground,

and unless the buildings are removed from the house, the distances become more equal than in the former case, and the approach is completely dispensed with, although a feature capable of producing advantageous sensations in the mind of the visitor, as it leads him irresistibly to anticipate greater claims on his respect, yet in store for it, in the remaining parts of the layout. On account, also, of expectations so raised in travelling the approach, it cannot be wise to position the house deeply in the plan,

for the visitor in his progress towards the house, having surveyed the greater part of the grounds the anticipations of extent or beauty still further interesting his imagination, cannot be realized, and he constantly returns by the road he came, disappointed or disgusted.

When the house is situated near the side of the property,

and as is showed more at large later all the objections before stated are thereby avoided.

The radial lines have here the greatest length that can be obtained; they diverge from points situate in the building most favourable to command views within its own compass of domain, and present the plenty ofst opportunities for ornamental improvement, and the creation of variety and change which is essential to perfection in gardening.




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