The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VII. Treatment of Ground-Formation of Walks

Entrance approaches in landscape gardening

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In the present more advanced state of Landscape Gardening, the formation of the Approach has become equally a matter of artistical skill with other details of the art. The house is generally so approached, that the eye shall first meet it in an angular direction, displaying not only the beauty of the architectural facade but also one of the end elevations, thus giving a more complete idea of the size, character, or elegance of the building: and instead of leading in a direct line from the gate to the house, it curves in easy lines through certain portions of the park or lawn, until it reaches that object. If the point where the Approach is to start from the highway be not already determined past alteration, it should be so chosen as to afford a sufficient drive through the grounds before arriving at the house, to give the stranger some idea of the extent of the whole property: to allow an agreeable diversity of surface over which to lead it: and lastly in such a manner as not to interfere with the convenience of ready access to and from the mansion. This point being decided, and the other being the mansion and adjacent buildings, it remains to lay out the road in such gradual curves as will appear easy and graceful, without verging into rapid turns or formal stiffness. Since the modern style has become partially known and adopted here, some persons appear to have supposed that nature "has a horror of straight lines," and consequently, believing that they could not possibly err, they immediately ran into the other extreme, filling their grounds with zigzag and regularly serpentine roads, still more horrible: which can only be compared to the contortions of a wounded snake dragging its way slowly over the earth.