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

Ground formation for landscape gardening

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GROUND is undoubtedly the most unwieldy and ponderous material that comes under the care of the Landscape Gardener. It is not only difficult to remove, the operations of the leveller rarely extending below two or three feet of the surface; but the effect produced by a given quantity of labor expended upon it, is generally much less than when the same has been bestowed in the formation of plantations, or the erection of buildings. The achievements of art upon ground appear so trifling, too, when we behold the apparent facility with which nature has arranged it in such a variety of forms, that the former sink into insignificance when compared with the latter. For these reasons, the operations to be performed upon ground in this country, will generally be limited to the neighborhood of the house, or the scenery directly under the eye. Here, by judicious levelling and smoothing in some cases, or by raising gentle eminences with interposing hollows in others, much may be done at a moderate expense, to improve the beauty of the surrounding landscape. It is, however, fortunately the case, that in the modern style of landscape improvement, extensive and costly operations upon ground are very seldom needed. By the aid of plantations arranged as we have already suggested, much may be done to soften too great inequality of surface, as well as to heighten the apparent magnitude of gentle undulations. The art of the improver, when employed upon this material, will, therefore, be directed to the production of negative, rather than positive effects,-to the removal of existing faults or blemishes, rather than to the creation of an entirely new and artificial surface.