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

Humphry Repton rules for designing roads

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The late Mr. Repton, who was one of the most celebrated English practical landscape gardeners, has laid down in one of his works, the following rules on the subject, which we quote, not as applying in all cases, but to show what are generally thought the principal requisites of this road in the modern style. First. It ought to be a road to the house, and to that principally. Secondly. If it be not naturally the nearest road possible, it ought artificially to be made to appear so. Thirdly. The artificial obstacles which make this road the nearest, ought to appear natural. Fourthly. Where an approach quits the high road, it ought not to break from it at right angles, or in such a manner as to rob the entrance of importance, but rather at some bend of the public road, from which a lodge or gate may be more conspicuous; and where the high road may appear to branch from the approach, rather than the approach from the high road. Fifthly. After the approach enters the park, it should avoid skirting along its boundary, which betrays the want of extent or unity of property. Sixthly. The house, unless very large and magnificent, should not be seen at so great a distance as to make it appear much less than it really is. Seventhly. The first view of the house should be from the most pleasing point of sight. Eighthly. As soon as the house is visible from the approach, there should be no temptation to quit it (which will ever be the case if the road be at all circuitous), unless sufficient obstacles, such as water or inaccessible ground, appear to justify its course.* (* Repton's Inquiry into the Changes of Taste in Landscape Gardening, p. 109.) Although there are many situations where these rules must be greatly modified in practice, yet the improver will do well to bear them in mind, as it is infinitely more easy to make occasional deviations from general rules, than to carry out a tasteful improvement without any guiding principles.