The Garden Landscape Guide

*Landscape Style 1794

See Style Chart 

Use: The style had distinct regions with distinct uses (1) the terraced area near the house was used for the quiet enjoyment of domestic pleasures and polite society; (2) the serpentine park was used for grazing farm animals and growing forest trees; (3) the background scenery was not used by the owner and was conceived a place for wild nature. In the twentieth century this idea led to the planning of compact towns with a protected agricultural hinterland and national parks in distant hills and valleys.

Form: The Picturesque Controversy between Knight, Price and Repton concluded with each of the particpients recommending a transition from a rectilinear area near the house, through a serpentine park to a wild and irregular background. It is a Landscape Style, in the sense of being 'composed, like a landscape painting with foreground, middleground and background'. Alberti's comments on the siting and layout of High Renaissance villas has fostered a foreground-background relationship of this type. The inclusion of a serpentine agricultural park as a middleground created a three-stage transition. It reflected an ever-growing understanding of landscape evolution. The house was often at the centre of the estate with a transition in each direction. The majority of Serpentine layouts were provided with a terrace near the house, effectively converting them to the Landscape Style.

Harewood House,

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