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

Walks for country residences

Previous - Next

Walks are laid out for purposes similar to Drives, but are much more common, and may be introduced into every scene, however limited. They are intended solely for promenades or exercise on foot, and should therefore be dry and firm, if possible, at all seasons when it is desirable to use them. Some may be open to the south, sheltered with evergreens, and made dry and hard for a warm promenade in winter; others formed of closely mown turf, and thickly shaded by a leafy canopy of verdure, for a cool retreat in the midst of summer. Others again may lead to some sequestered spot, and terminate in a secluded rustic seat, or conduct to some shaded dell or rugged eminence, where an extensive prospect can be enjoyed. Indeed, the genius of the place must suggest the direction, length, and number of the walks to be laid out, as no fixed rules can be imposed in a subject so everchanging and different. It should, however, never be forgotten, that the walk ought always to correspond to the scene it traverses, being rough where the latter is wild and picturesque, sometimes scarcely differing from a common footpath, and more polished as the surrounding objects show evidences of culture and high keeping. In direction, like the approach, it should take easy flowing curves, though it may often turn more abruptly at the interposition of an obstacle. The chief beauty of curved and bending lines in walks, lies in the new scenes which by means of them are opened to the eye. In the straight walk of half a mile the whole is seen at a glance, and there is too often but little to excite the spectator to pursue the search; but in the modern style, at every few rods, a new turn in the walk opens a new prospect to the beholder, and "leads the eye," as Hogarth graphically expressed it, "a kind of wanton chase," continually affording new refreshment, and variety.