The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 12. Garden Composition

Avoiding copying scenery

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The designer is repeatedly warned against attempting to follow too closely in his work the details of a real landscape, a habit leading invariably to false and unsatisfactory results; and in this respect the work of the landscape gardener is compared with that of the painter. For, according to the principles of Japanese pictorial art, though a painter will faithfully copy a natural object, mentally retaining a clear conception of its form and character, his finished work will show changes and modifications imposed upon it by the conventional rules of his art. It is the same in the art of gardening. A rural pathway through cultivated fields, for example, should be carefully studied from nature, but in its application the details must be modified and refined to suit the stately elegance of a garden.