The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment III. On Fences Near The House.

Open trellis fencing

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There is no fence more garden-like than that with an open trellis. But, if the house be architecturally Grecian, and the terrace at no great distance, there is no fence so beautiful and proper as an open balustrade, like that of Lord Foley's at Witley Court, Worcestershire. And even if the house be Gothic, an open balustrade may be suited to it; of which an instance will be subjoined under the Fragment concerning Cobham. In speaking of balustrades, I cannot omit some remarks on the use to be made of them in different situations; such as a defence for a platform, or the parapet of a roof: the latter should be of stone, but the former may, in many cases, be an iron-railing; and in the parapets of bridges, the dimensions ought to relate to those of man, rather than to that of the building*. *[It has often occurred to me, in walking along Westminster Bridge, that this has not been sufficiently attended to. The large lofty balustrade is so managed, that the swelling of each heavy baluster exactly ranges with the eye of a foot passenger; and from a carriage, the top of the balustrade almost entirely obstructs the view of the river. Thus, one of the finest rivers in Europe is hid, for the sake of preserving some imaginary proportion in architecture, relating to its form or entablature, but not applicable to its uses as a defence for safety, without impeding the view. If it be urged that we should judge of it from the water, we should consider that this bridge is seen by a hundred persons from the land to one from the water. By the aid of an open upright iron fence, the most interesting view of the river might be obtained, with equal safety to the spectator. I have sometimes seen a drive, or walk, brought to the edge of a precipice, without any adequate fence; but good taste, as well as good sense, requires to be satisfied that there is no danger in the beauties we behold. We do not caress the speckled snake, or spotted panther, however we may admire him.]