The Garden Guide

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

Removal of landform deformities

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1500. The removal of accidental deformities forms one of the commonest operations on ground. Old quarries and other pits, useless cattle-ponds, open drains, mounds of earth, and marks of ridges, are to be considered of this description. As they have been raised by art, so in dispersing them, the best general rule is to restore the natural surface; but sometimes the remains of fences are so numerous, that advantage may be taken of the earth to be removed, and some variety given to a surface otherwise dull and featureless If the fence consists of a great number of turns of different lengths, by removing both the mound and part of the surface on each side of the drain, a small winding hollow or vale may be formed; the effect of which may be heightened, by placing the earth removed on adjoining indications of natural eminences; not so as to form knolls, but so as to connect and harmonise with the prevailing idea of expression. The most simple and obvious improvement of exhausted quarries and dry pits, is to plant them; but this, though it will form a series of pleasing scenes, is not always consistent with the general expression to be created, and such groups as would arise from these spots might destroy breadth of light, and connection, independently of excluding distant objects. In this case, they must be filled up by under-growths, or by lowering the adjoining surface in such a way as not to interfere with general effect, and to leave a sufficient descent for the surface-water. Where broken ground enters into the idea of the composition to be effected, open drains, or hollow pits, afford fine sources of picturesque beauty, especially if the ground is dry, or can be readily under-drained. This character, however, can seldom be introduced as an original feature; but in ground naturally leading to abrupt and broken lines, it may be more desirable to improve this expression, than to attempt creating a more polished surface. In cases of this sort, almost everything depends on the introduction of wood, copse, and verdant roughnesses, to harmonise the broken surface; for mere broken ground, without the character of luxuriance and wildness communicated by wood, is seldom better, on a small scale, than a surface deformed by scars.