The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture, edited by John Claudius Loudon (J.C.L )
Chapter: Introduction by J.C. Loudon

The Ancient and Modern styles of garden design

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The art of laying out the grounds which immediately surround a country residence, may be displayed in two very distinct styles: the first of which is called the Ancient, Roman, Geometric, Regular, or Architectural Style; and the second, the Modern, English, Irregular, Natural, or Landscape Style. Both these styles are, in different stages of society, equally congenial to the human mind. The Geometric Style was most striking and pleasing, and most obviously displayed wealth and taste, in an early state of society, and in countries where the general scenery was wild, irregular, and natural, and man, comparatively, uncultivated and unrefined; while, on the other hand, in modern times, and in countries subjected to cultivation, and covered with enclosures, rows of trees, and roads, all in regular lines, or forms, and where society is in a higher state of cultivation, the natural, or irregular style, from its rarity in such a country, and from the sacrifice of profitable lands requisite to make room for it, becomes equally a sign of wealth and taste. Of each of these styles, circumstances, either geographical or national, have given rise to two or more modifications; and these, in the language of art, may be called Schools. Thus, the Geometric Style, in Italy, owing to the hilliness of the country, and the national taste of the inhabitants for architecture, is characterized by flights of steps in the open air, terrace-walls, vases, and statues. The same style in France, where estates are much more extensive, the surface of the country more even, and the inhabitants less fond of architecture, is characterized by long avenues: "Woods and long rows of trees my pen invite: Groves ever please; but most when placed aright. * * * * * * Thus Normandy extends her guard of trees Against the wind which blows from British seas. High sylvan avenues the coast surround, Divide large farms, and ample lordships bound:" RAPIN on Gardens. while in Holland, a perfectly flat country, it is distinguished by long, straight canals, and grassy terraces. Thus we have the Italian, the French, and the Dutch Schools, of the Geometric Style. These schools are exemplified in various French and Italian works; the best of which, however, may be compressed into an octavo volume, which will form one of the series which we contemplate.