The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment X. On Gothic Outline.

Brown, Knight and ground near the house

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GROUND ABOUT THE HOUSE. It may, perhaps, be observed by the trim imitators of Brown's defects, that the stables, barns, gardens, and other appendages, ought to be removed to a distance. I have, in my former volume, endeavoured to shew the folly of expecting importance in buildings without extent of appendages; and the absurdity of banishing to a distance those objects which are necessary to the comfort of a country residence. There is one point on which I believe my opinion may differ from the theory of the ingenious author of "The Landscape;" at least, so far as I have been told he has endeavoured to reduce it to practice near the house at Downton. I fully agree with him in condemning that bald and insipid custom, introduced by Brown, of surrounding a house by a naked grass-field: but to remedy this by slovenly neglect, or by studied or affected rudeness, seems to be an opposite extreme not less offensive. A house is an artificial object, and the ground immediately contiguous may partake of the same artificial character. In this place, therefore, straight lines of garden walls and walks are advisable, together with such management as may form the greatest possible contrast with that rude character which should everywhere else prevail at Stanage; for, when we cannot assimilate, we must produce effects by contrast, still preserving that character which we attempt to restore: and while I thus draw the bold straight line between art and nature, in defiance of the scoff of ignorance, and the vanity of fashion, I may respect the errors of prejudice, or the excess of enthusiasm.