The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Villa of Mrs. Lawrence, at Drayton Green, in 1838

Drayton Green Site Planning

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The disadvantage of the ground sloping to the house is counteracted in a very efficient manner, by lowering the walk that crosses immediately in front of the house, and sloping the ground from the drawingroom veranda to that walk; beyond which the lawn rises gently and gradually, till, at the cross walk at the farther extremity, it is probably 6 ft. higher than the level of the drawingroom floor. Though, when the lawn rises in this manner from the house, it detracts from the expression of dignity, considering the villa as a whole, yet, viewing the lawn as an arena for the display of plants, statues, and other interesting objects, from the windows of the drawingroom, it has an advantage in that point of view over a falling surface. If we imagine for a moment that this lawn, instead of sloping towards the house, as it does, at the rate of 1 ft. in 50 ft., sloped from it at the same rate, we shall find, on reflection, that it would appear less in extent, and that the distant objects would be less distinctly seen: this may be rendered palpable on paper by lines, thus:- In the diagram fig. 43., the line a e represents a level surface; and the lines a d, a c, a b, represent ground falling in slopes at different angles. The lines a f, a g, and a k, in like manner, represent ground rising at different angles. The point k represents the situation of the human eye, being 5 ft. higher than the point a; and the lines k b, k c, k d, &c., represent the angle at which the most distant part of the ground is seen by the eye at k. Now, the larger the angle at which this distant point of the ground is seen by the spectator at k, the more distinctly will he discern objects there; and, as these different angles are represented by the sines to each (i i), it follows that, in rising ground, the most favourable slope for seeing objects from a fixed point is that represented by the line a f, or some slope near to that line; say a slope forming an angle between 20ᆭ and 30ᆭ with the horizon. In the case of falling ground, it will be observed that the most favourable slope lies between the same angles; though in falling ground the objects are not nearly so advantageously seen as in rising ground. A level surface, it will be observed, possesses exactly the same advantages, in point of seeing objects placed on it, as a surface rising at an angle of between 20ᆭ and 30ᆭ. Hence, for the display of flower-beds, a lawn which has a level surface, or one which rises at any angle under 30ᆭ, is much better adapted, than one which slopes from the eye at any angle, however small.