The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: Design Composition in Landscape Gardens

Composition in relation to contextual situation

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1553. To arrange these considerations according to their respective weight or influence is hardly possible; 'this must depend on a comparison of one with the other, under a variety of circumstances; and even on the partiality of individuals, in affixing different degrees of importance to each consideration. Hence it is obvious, that there can be no danger of sameness in any two designs conducted on principles thus established; since in every different situation some one or more of these considerations must preponderate; and the most rational decision will result from a combined view of all the separate advantages or disadvantages to be foreseen from each. It was the custom of former times, in the choice of domestic situations, to let comfort and convenience prevail over every other consideration. Thus the ancient baronial castles were built on the summits of hills, in times when defence and security suggested the necessity of placing them there; and difficulty of access was a recommendation: but when this necessity no longer existed (as mankind are always apt to fly from one extreme to the other), houses were universally erected in the lowest situations, with a probable design to avoid those inconveniences to which lofty positions had been subject; hence the frequent sites of many large mansions, and particularly abbeys and monasteries, the residence of persons who were willing to sacrifice the beauty of prospect for the more solid and permanent advantages of habitable convenience; amongst which, shelter from wind, and a supply of water for store fishponds, were predominant considerations.' (Enquiry, &c., p. 83.)