The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Principles of Landscape Gardening

Design in the ancient style of landscape-gardening

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1463. The expression of design in the ancient style of landscape-gardening is displayed by such forms and dispositions as shall at once decide that they are works of art. Thus regularity and uniformity are recognised in the rudest works of man, and point out his employment of art and expense in their construction. Hence the lines, surfaces, and forms of geometric gardening should be different from, and in some degree opposed to, those of general nature. Irregular surfaces, lines, or forms, may be equally useful, may be alike works of art, and, considered with reference to other beauties, may be more agreeable than such as are regular; but, if too prevalent, they might be mistaken for the production of nature, in which case they would lose the beauty of design; but forms perfectly regular, and divisions completely uniform, immediately excite the belief of design, and, with this belief, all the admiration which follows the employment of skill and expense. Ground, in level or regular slopes, or in hills or hollows of symmetrical shapes; woods of right-lined boundaries; trees, and especially such as are foreign to the soil, planted equidistantly in masses, in quineunx, or in straight rows; water in architectural basins, regular canals, or fountains; walks and woods of uniform width and perfectly straight; and straight walls and hedges; are all easily distinguished from nature's management of these materials, and, consequently, are highly expressive of the hand of man.