The Garden Guide

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

Operations on ground, wood, water and rocks

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1496. The operations of art on this ponderous material are necessarily of a very limited description. The most extensive and costly operations to restore or create natural surfaces, even when attended with the desired effect, afford less permanent gratification to personal feeling than most other improvements. If a deformed space has been restored to natural beauty, we are delighted with the effect, while we recollect the difference between the present and the former surface; but when this is forgotten, though the beauty remains, the credit for having produced it is lost. In this respect, the operations on ground, under the ancient style, have a great and striking advantage; for an absolute perfection is to be attained in the formation of geometrical surfaces, and the beauty created is so entirely artificial as never to admit a doubt of its origin. Long, therefore, after the improvement is finished, the credit and the beauty remain to gratify and charm the owner. Improvements on surfaces, whatever may be their object, ought to be made in scenes which are near the eye, or intended to be frequently seen; at a distance they are lost, if the effect be on a small scale; and often better effected by wood, if on one of considerable magnitude. Attempts to remove distant inequalities, by lowering heights and filling up hollows, are very seldom attended by results sufficient to justify the expense incurred; but when art is employed to heighten distant eminences, the success is greater: in the last case, art may be said to act positively; in the former, negatively -to produce or increase a beauty, instead of only removing or lessening a deformity. All operations on ground may be included under-1. Those which have for their object the beauty of art or design; and, 2. Those where natural beauty is intended to be produced.