The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxII. Of Aspects And Prospects.

Comfort, views and microclimate

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I consider the aspect as of infinitely more consequence to the comfort and enjoyment of the inhabitant than any prospect whatever: and every common observer must be convinced, that, in this climate, a southern aspect is most desirable; but few are aware of the total difference in the effect of turning the front of the house a few points to the east or to the west of the south; because, although the south-east is the best, yet the south-west is the worst of all possible aspects; for this reason, via. all blustering winds and driving rains come from the south-west, and, consequently, the windows are so covered with wet, as to render the landscape hardly visible. My attention was originally drawn to this subject by travelling so much in post carriages, and often remarking the difference betwixt the window to the south-west and that to the southeast, during a shower of rain, or immediately after; when the sun, shining on the drops, causes an unpleasant glitter, obstructing the prospect, while the view towards the south-east remains perfectly visible*. *[At Organ Hall, in Hertfordshire, a seat of William Towgood, Esq., the living-room was towards the south-west, and, during a heavy storm of wind and rain, we accidentally went into the butler's pantry, which looked towards the south-east, where we found the storm abated, and the view from the windows perfectly clear and free from wet; but, on returning into the other room, the storm appeared as violent as ever; and the windows were entirely covered with drops which obstructed all view. On considering the prevalence of south-west winds, it was determined to reverse the aspects of the house, by changing the uses of the rooms; making a very comfortable house of one which, from its aspect only, was before hardly habitable; since no window, nor hardly any brick walls, will keep out the wet, where a front is exposed to the south-west: for this reason, it has been found necessary, in many places, as at Brighton, &c. to cover the walls with slates, or pendent tiles, and to use double sashes to the windows so situated.]