The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section II. Beauties and Principles of the Art of Landscape Gardening

Cottage places and garden character

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But there are many persons with small cottage places, of little decided character, who have neither room, time, nor income, to attempt the improvement of their grounds fully, after either of those two schools. How shall they render their places tasteful and agreeable, in the easiest manner? We answer, by attempting only the simple and the natural; and the unfailing way to secure this, is by employing as leading features only trees and grass. A soft verdant lawn, a few forest or ornamental trees well grouped, walks, and a few flowers, give universal pleasure; they contain in themselves, in fact, the basis of all our agreeable sensations in a landscape garden (natural beauty, and the recognition of art); and they are the most enduring sources of enjoyment in any place. There are no country seats in the United States so unsatisfactory and tasteless, as those in which, without any definite aim, everything is attempted; and a mixed jumble of discordant forms, materials, ornaments, and decorations, is assembled-a part in one style and a bit in another, without the least feeling of unity or congruity. These rural bedlams, full of all kinds of absurdities, without a leading character or expression of any sort, cost their owners a vast deal of trouble and money, without giving a tasteful mind a shadow of the beauty which it feels at the first glimpse of a neat cottage residence, with its simple, sylvan character of well kept lawn and trees. If the latter does not rank high in the scale of Landscape Gardening as an art, it embodies much of its essence as a source of enjoyment-the production of the Beautiful in country residences.