The Garden Guide

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

Design composition for large and small gardens

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A landscape garden may be of any size from fifty or sixty square yards to several acres. The Japanese maintain that it is much easier to design a large garden than a small one. Great care is recommended in fixing the scale of a composition. If a small garden be slavishly copied from a larger model, it will appear weak and unsatisfactory in design; and, on the same principle, if a large garden be composed on the lines of a smaller model, it will be totally lacking in grandeur. To take an example, the arrangement of two or three massive rocks in front of a clump of handsome trees would look more imposing in a large garden than a number of smaller stones; but within the compass of a miniature garden, multiplicity of detail is often necessary in order to add to its apparent scale, and to impart sufficient interest to its limited area. Stone lanterns and monuments introduced must be strictly kept in appropriate scale; large objects suited to extensive grounds would entirely destroy the values in a small enclosure. The size of the garden, together with its mood or character, determine whether it will be treated in the finished, rough, or intermediary style. A landscape garden may be of large scale, and yet treated in the finished style; or it may be small in size, and in the rough style.