The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 2: Compositional Elements of Landscape Gardening

Fences in the ancient style

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1513. Fences. Here the ancient style has a great advantage over the modern, in which, as far as respects the imitation of nature, all fences are to be considered as temporary, and, therefore, to a certain degree, looked on as nuisances to be afterwards removed. Besides, their irregular and circuitous line is displeasing to many who do not understand ground-plans, with a view to picturesque beauty, when the trees are grown up. In geometric gardening, fences are to be considered in many cases as objects, and when not regarded in this light, their directions and limits are so minutely pointed out by the determined outline of the plantations, that the eye acquiesces in their situation and use. Fences of any common and economical description are employed to protect the trees of open avenues, open groves, and single open rows. The more common kind are walls, which in the prominent parts ought to be well built of hewn stone, and substantially finished by raised or flat copings, bearing some relation to the copings of the simpler parapets of the house. The gates necessary in these walls, ae well as in some sorts of permanent verdant fences, supply occasion for such architectural forms and lines as are advantageous in reflecting those of the mansion, and strengthening the prevailing idea of dignity, art, and design. Every sort of fence belonging to the modern style may be occasionally employed in the ancient; and besides walls, half-sunken walls, and raised mounds with a walk at top, we may ennumerate hedges of holly, yew, laurel, and other shrubs, either simple, or chequered by alternate deciduous or evergreen species, varied by arcades and standards, shorn into shapes, or in their natural growth. Hedges of flowering shrubs may also be introduced; of creepers on open palisades; and various others of great beauty may be invented, or are to be found in books on this style of gardening.