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

Landscape art and natural character

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Neither the professional Landscape Gardener, nor the amateur, can hope for much success in realizing the nobler effects of the art, unless he first make himself master of the natural character or prevailing expression of the place to be improved. In this nice perception, at a glance, of the natural expression, as well as the capabilities of a residence, lies the secret of the superior results produced even by the improver, who, to use the words of Horace Walpole, "is proud of no other art than that of softening nature's harshness, and copying her graceful touch." When we discover the picturesque indicated in the grounds of the residence to be treated, let us take advantage of it; and while all harshness incompatible with scenery near the house is removed, the original expression may in most cases be heightened, in all rendered more elegant and appropriate, without lowering it in force or spirit. In like manner good taste will direct us to embellish scenery expressive of the Beautiful, by the addition of forms, whether in trees, buildings, or other objects, harmonious in character, as well as in color and outline.