Charles H. J Smith.

Landscape gardening : or, Parks and pleasure grounds. With practical notes on country residences, villas, public parks and gardens .. online

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LIBRARY OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

710
Sm5
cop. 2

CPLA

MOTE STORACgE.




The person charging this material is re-
sponsible for its return on or before the
Latest Date stamped below.

Theft, mutilation, and underlining of books
are reasons for disciplinary action and may
result in dismissal from the University.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LIBRARY AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN






L161— O-1096



D



LANDSCAPE GARDENING



OE,



PARKS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS.



PRACTICAL NOTES



COUNTRY RESIDENCES, VILLAS,



BY

CHARLES H. J. SMITH,

LANUSCATE GARDENER, GAKDEM ARCHITECT, ETC.



NOTES AND ADDITIONS
BY LEWIS F. ALLEN,

Author of " Rural Architecture," &c. )



NEW YORK:

C. M. SAXTON & COMPANY,

Aqriccltubal Book Pcbushbrs, 140 Fcltos St. i

1856.



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1853, by

C. M. SAXTOX,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Str.tcs, for the Southern
District of New York.



2-



T




REMOTE STORA«e



EDITOR'S PREFACE.



It may appear superfluous to re-edit, in the United States,
a work of the kind now presented to the reader : particularly
if it be one of competent authority on the subjects of which
it professes to treat. In ansvrer to this suggestion it may be
remarked, that scarce any European treatise on the manage-
ment of grounds, the vegetation belonging to them, or the
structures to be erected on them, can, in every thing, be ap-
phcable here. Our climates and soils; our trees, shrubs and
plants; our habits and tastes, all differ in various degrees
from those of Europe, and Europeans, to which and to whom
we ha^'e hitherto chiefly looked for example and authority in
matters of this kind.

Parks and Pleasure-grounds are a part of the " Institu-
tions " of Great Britain. Parks came into England with
William the Conquerer. Among his first acts of oppression
and injustice, he laid waste of its homes, its villages, cottages,
and cultivated fields, one of the richest coimties, to form a
vast forest and hunting-groimd, for the recreation of himself



a, "i^ii^-^



IV editor'spkeface. "^

and his retainers. His noblemen followed the royal example,
and a great part of England was parceled out into wide do-
mains — the spoils of the conquered Saxons — and appropri-
ated to themselves, in ranges of park and cultivated lands.
Hunting was theh: pastime — war, agricidture and legislation
their employment. Thi-ough succeeding centuries, becoming
more refined and domestic in their pursuits, they studied the
improvement and cultivation of their estates; and, retaining
their attachment to the soil, which they held by hereditaiy
title, the planting and preservation of their trees, and the
decoration of their gardens, became with them a passion, as
well as a duty. It is so with their descendants in the present
day. It has become a national taste in England, and has
spread into Scotland and Ireland, until no couTitry in the
world can equal Great Britain in the luxuriance and beauty —
the costliness and splendor — the extent and the wealth of
her Parks and Pleasure-grounds. Few, indeed, can indxdge
in such extent of luxury as the parks of the aristocracy dis-
play; yet the taste for rural embellishment extends among
all classes of the people, from the royal mistress of Windsor,
Osborne, and Balmoral, to the humble cottager upon his mea-
ger allotment by the hedge-row.

It is not so in America. We have broad lands, and a pas-
sion for lands; but not a passion to improve and embellish
them for domestic occupation, as they have in England. Yet
we are learning this, and we wish to learn more. Our taste.



\ * f ^ J



editor's preface. V

is improving. "We are encouraging skillful and ingenious men,
who are aiding us in forming our tastes, by their writings and
their labors. We require practical treatises, adapted to our
own country. Foreign books are not sufficient for us. Good,
many of them are : suggestive in many things, and instruc-
tive in others. The work here presented has appeared to the
undersigned better suited to the American inquirer than any
other which has issued from a foreign press. It is plainh-,
unambitiously, sensibly written, and by a thoi-oughly practical
man. It will do much to instruct us in the subjects on which
it discourses, and with suitable notes appended, may, perhaps,
be more useful to the American reader than without thenx
Such notes have been attempted by the undersigned — whether
acceptably, or not, is submitted to the reader.

LEWIS F. ALLEN.
Buffalo, August, 1853.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE.



The design of the following work is aUogether a practical
cue. While engaged in his profession, during the last eigh-
teen years, the author has often been requested to recom-
mend a book, which might enable persons consulting him to
acquire some general knowledge of the principles of Land-
scape-gardening, and which might aid them in carrying his
suggestions into effect. He has been in the habit of naming
certain well-known works, such as Price " On the Pictur-
esque," and Gilpin " On Landscape-gardening." He has often
felt, however, that such advice was, in great measure, illusory ;
and that if implicitly followed, it would tend rather to puzzle
than to enlighten or direct those who might adopt it. He
himself had experienced the difficulty of making practical ap-
plication of the general reasonings, and of the diffuse, and,
at times, irrelevant discussions to be found in some of these
authors ; and it was only by means of light derived from his
own practice that he was able to put them to profit. In the
work of Price, for example, the leading precepts substantially



author's preface. vii

are: Study pictures — familiarize your taste with scenes
■whicli painters would delight to copy — become acquainted
with the elements of the picturesque, and seek to realize the
resulting-ideas in and about your residence. Most gentlemen
of liberal education know something of pictures; but there
are few who would not disclaim such a special culture in
the fine arts, as would fit them to apply the principles of
painting to the improvement of their grounds. To prescribe
such a course is virtually to require a professional education,
or to impose the amateur labor of half a lifetime. The ob-
ject of the present work is to preserve a plain and direct
method of statement, to be intelligible to all who have had
an ordinary education, and to give directions which, it is
hoped, will be found to be practical by those who have an
adequate knowledge of country aflfairs.

The author earnestly disclaims all intention of detracting
from the acknowledged merit of his illustrious predecessors.
He has been willing to sit at the feet of Wheatley, Price and
Gilpin. He has learned much from their writings. His aim,
in this volume, has been to popularize their principles, and to
simplify and extend their processes in practice. He has, how-
ever, sedulously avoided those redundant and often merely con-
troversial discussions by which some of their literary works are
encumbered. At the same time he is convinced that Land-
scape-gardening, like the other fine arts, is of a progressive
nature; and that its ascertained principles compose a fabric



Viii A U T II O R ' S P R E F A C E .

to which successive writers have added, or have yet » &. i,
each his stick and his stone. He has endeavored to do his
part. While, however, he has not been inattentive to the
Uterature of his profession, he has looked even more intently
at nature ; he has sought to draw directly from her inexhaust-
ible stores; and in offering to the public the results of his
observations, he humbly trusts that he has contributed to the
progress of the art.

In adding to his original plan two chapters on the Arbor-
etum and the Pinetum, the author has sought to supply a
want in regard to ornamental collections of trees, which is
becoming daily more apparent. So ftir as his limited space
has allowed, he has endeavored to treat these subjects on the
principles both of science and taste; and he hopes that the
botanical information, which he has drawn from the best
sources, though it may be uninteresting to the general reader,
will not be unacceptable to the lovers of these pleasing de-
partments of Arboriculture.

Edinburgh, August, 1852.



'r.
9b



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

THE HOUSE AND OFFICES.

Introduction — Climate of the site — Soil and Subsoil — Drainage —
Supply of Water — Shelter — Position of the House in the Park —
Elevation of the Site — Extent of the Site — Style of the House —
Arrangement of the Interior of the House — Conservatory — Stable-
court and Offices, , . . . . . .13

CHAPTER II.

THE APPROACH.

Definition — Direction of the Approach — Site of the Entrance-gate—
Style of the Gate and Lodge — Line of Approach through the
Park — Gates on the Line of Approach — Termination of the
Approach — Roadway of Approach — Decoration of Approach —
The Avenue — The Fine Approach, . . . .52

CHAPTER III.

PLEASURE-GROUNDS AND FLOWER-GARDENS.

Position of the Pleasure-grounds — Composition of the Landscape —
Terraces — Walls — Grass Slopes — Shrubs on Terrace-banks —
Stairs on Terraces — the Upper Surface of Terraces — The Flower-
garden — Site of the Flower-garden — Ground Color — The Par-
terre — The Rosary — The American Garden — The Mixed Flower-
garden — Artistical Decorations — Rockworks — Shelter of the
Flower-garden — Planting in the Pleasure-grounds — AValks i.a the
Pleasure-grounds — Formation of Lawns, . . . .73

1*



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV-

THE PARK.

Definition— The Unity of the Park— Natural Character of the
Ground— Acquired Character of the Ground— Planting in the
Park— Surfaces to be Planted— Arrangement of Woods in the
Park— a Group— a Clump— a Mass— Carrying out the Arrange-
ment of Woods — Grouping of Plantations in the Park — Outlines
of Plantations— Belts and Circles— Artificial Style— Avenues, . 105



CHAPTER V.

ORNAMENTAL CHARACTERS OF TREES, DETACHED AND
IN COMBINATION.

Introductory Remarks.

Sect. I. The forms of Single Trees— Broad Round-headed Trees—
The Spiry, Conical, or Pyramidal Configuration — The Upright or
Oblongated — The Weeping or Pendulous.

Sect. II. The Color of Trees— Table of the Colors of Foliage of
Trees — General Remarks.

Sect. III. The Ornamental Character of Trees in Combination —
Conical or Pyramidal Trees— Round-headed Trees— Intermin-
gling of the different Forms and Colors — Concluding Remarks, . 135



CHAPTER VI.

PLANTING.

Preparation of the Ground — Trenching — Draining — Roads through
Plantations— Planting of Forest Trees— Pitting— Pruning — Thin-
ning—Transplanting Forest Trees — Planting and Transplanting
of Evergreens, . . . . • • .166



CHAPTER VII.

FENCES OF THE PARK AND PLEASURE-GROUNDS.

General Remarks — Boundary Fence — Internal Fences — Fence of the
Deer Park — Pleasure-ground Fences — Malleable-iron Fences —
Sunk Fences — Stone Walls — Hedges, . . . .184



CONTENTS. XI

CHAPTER VIII.

WATER.

Artificial Lakes — Islands — the Head or Artificial Embankment —
Decorative Accompaniment — Artificial Rivers — Jet Fountains —
Jets d'Eau — Propriety of Introducing Water, . . , 191



CHAPTER IX.

THE KITCHEN, FRUIT. AND FORCING GARDENS.

Introduction— The Site— Drainage— Soil— The Form— The Walls—
The Fruit Garden— The Forcing Garden, .... 20.1



CHAPTER X.
PUBLIC PARKS AND GARDENS.

Sect. I. The Public Park — Site of the Public Park — Laying-out
of Public Pai'ks — Educational Institutions.

Sect. II. Street Gardens.

Sect. III. Botanic Gardens — Special Purposes of Botanical Gai
dens — Botanical Museums — Laying-out of the Botanic Gardens.

Sect. IV. Gardens belonging to Horticultural and Zoological Socie-
ties — Gardens of Horticultural Societies — Laying-out of Horti-
cultural Gardens — Horticultural Museum — Zoological Gardens, . 215



CHAPTER XI.

THE VILLA.

Introductory Remarks.

Sect. I. General Properties of the Villa — The Locality — The Site —
Roads — Position of the House — Style and Arrangement of the
House.

Sect. II. Laying-out of the Grounds of a Villa — Seclusion — The
Approach — Kitchen-garden — Trees and Shrubs — Water — Lead-
ing Vai'ieties of Villa Scenery — The Pleasure-ground Villa — The
Park Villa, ....... 255



Xil CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XIL

GENERAL OBSERVATIOJfS ON THE LAYING-OUT AND
IMPROVEMENT OF GROUNDS,

Landscape-gardening — Analogies to Landscape-painting — Com-
parative Power over Materials — Simplicity and Multiplicity of
Points of View — Processes -wholly and partly Tentative — Pro-
priety of Revision — Utility of Plans— Hazard of Preparatory
Operations, . . . • • ■ • • 287



CHAPTER Xm.

THE ARBORETUM.

Definition— Recent Introduction— General Idea of Arrangement—
Sect. I. Scientific Treatment of the Arboretum — Introductory Re-
marks— Dr. Lindley's Classification of the Natural Orders —
Explanations— Synopsis of Orders and Genera— Apphcation of
Principles— Transference of the System to the Ground.
Sect. II. Decorative Treatment of the Arboretum— Object in View —
Employment of Larger Trees— Lawns— Surfaces planted— Ever-
greens— Arbore turns attached to Private Residences— Sites in
Pleasure-grotmds. . . .... 3U3



CHAPTER XIV.

THE PINETUM.

Remarks on Special Collections of Trees— The Pinetum— Materials
and Arrano-ement — Enumeration of Sijccics, with Observations on
the Groups— Effects of Climate— Soil— Early Cultivation of the
Plants— Planting of the Pinetum— Pruning of tlie Trees— Deco-
rative Treatment of the Pinetum, . . . . .333



PAKKS AND PLEASURE-GROUNDS



AMERICAN NOTES



CHAPTER I.

THE HOUSE AND OFFICES.

Inti'oJuction — Climate of tbe Site — Soil and Subsoil — Drainage — Sup-
ply of Water — Shelter — Position of the House in tlie Park — Elevation
of the Site — Extent of the Site — Style of the House — Arrangement
of the Interior of the House — Consers-atory — Stable Court and Offices.

The liouse, being the head-quarters of the family —
the capital, as it were, of the park or demesne — is by
far the most important object within the grounds, and,
as snch, the selection of the site must take precedence
of all other matters, whether it be a castle or a cottage,
and whatever be its form and construction. While
tfiis ought to be the dominant principle in the forma-
tion of a country residence, and while the house should
be made the central point, to which all operations con-
nected with the laying out of the park and pleasure-
o-rounds should be referred ; tliere are certain require-
ments belonging to a mansion-house, as a comfortable
dwelling, which must be allowed to modify the final
choice of site as the best upon the whole world.



14 PAKKS a>:d PLEASURE-GKOL'NDS

Climate of the Site. — ^The general temperature and
dryness of the air liave a material influence on the
health and comfort of a farail j, and, therefore, must re-
ceive due consideration. These qualities resolve them-
selves very much into those of tlie park, and of the
district in which it is situated. Along the eastern
shores of the United Kingdom, and in the country ad-
jacent to these, in some places to a considerable dis-
tance inland, the climate is comparatively dry and
good ; but in spring and in the beginning of summer,
when cold withering winds from the sea are prevalent,
the east coast is found to be very trying to the consti-
tutions of some individuals. On the west coast, and
in the districts bordering on it, there is a much greater
degree of humidity, which, though in itself disagree-
able, is accompanied with a softness and mildness that
at certain seasons make the climate pleasant and ben-
eficial to those whose health is affected by the rude
severities of the center and the east. The interior hilly
or mountainous regions of our island have a climate
peculiar to tliemselves ; yet, with a varying amount of
moisture and drjmess, and of cloudy or clear atmos-
phere, they are generally healthy and bracing, and
partake of the characters of the east and west, according
as they approach to either coast. Some of the inland
and slightly hilly districts toward the east have muqji
of its dryness without its peculiar severity in spring,
and may, therefore, be accounted tlie best. The gen-
eral climate of the park, then, may be said to be the
ruling one for the mansion-house ; but in large, and
even in what may be considered small parks, there
are often localities which have modifications peculiar to
themselves. These variations, though inconsiderable



CLIMATE OF THE SITE. 15

on flat surfaces, are sufficiently marked on undulating
and hilly ones. Southern exposures are decidedly su-
perior, in point of warmth, to nortljern slopes, or places
lying toward the east or west. Good sites are found
in the latter direction, but they are occasionally in-
clement; when such positions are selected, they should
occupy, if possible, a western declivity on the east, and
an eastern declivity on the west side of the country.
High and exposed situations are cold, but have a clear
and bracing atmosphere. TVindy positions are to be
avoided; as also those which are exposed to draughts
of cold air, a peculiarity less apparent to slight inspec-
tion than the other, but not less disagreeable and in-
jurious in its effects. Aware of this, the inhabitants
of hilly countries generally place the ends of their
houses toward the length of the valleys, as the winds,
for the most part, sweep up and down them, in what-
ever direction they run ; and by this arrangement the
houses are assailed by fewer cross-draughts than when
they are set down across the valley. In dry, well-shel-
tered localities, near the sea-coast, these peculiarities of
climate are less frequently experienced than in more
inland regions.

Note. — Although written for the humid climate of
the British Isles, these remarks are worthy of consider-
ation in the dryer atmosphere of America. In many
localities of our new states, owing to causes of disease,
which a more extensive improvement and clearing up
of the countrv will abate, the best sites for dwellinjrs
can not with safety be occupied. In the older states
there are districts still subject to autumnal fevers,
chills and agues, chiefly in the vicinity of sluggish
water-courses, or undrained swamps, or marshes. la



16 PARKS AND PLEASURE-GROUNDS

piicb, the best positions for a dwelling cannot be occu-
pied until a more rapid flow of the water be effected
by clearing the streams of their obstructions, and the
low grounds are drained of their standing water. In
an open country, long settled, and its climate defined,
every one desirous to build, will readily ascertain the
advantages or defects of the site on which he prefers
to erect his dwelling. A combination of objects usually
control the selection of the site, and no rule can be
laid down which will govern in all cases. To those
who have a wide range of choice in this particular, and
are not pressed for time, we would suggest the erection
of a temporary cottage on one or more sites which
please their taste, in which a family might be lodged,
with a thermometer to note the ranges of heat and
cold, and the currents of wind, as they affect the spot
adversely, or otherwise. We have known instances
where an apparently well-sheltered valley, by the pe-
culiar conformation of the adjacent hills, was swept
with stronger and harsher winds than an exposed prom-
ontory in its immediate neighborhood. A hilly or
a mountainous region requires closer examination to
determine accurately the degrees of temperature, and
the currents of air to which they are exposed, than an
open, flat country, with nothing to break off or interrupt
the winds but the occasional shelter of trees. As a
general rule, too much importance cannot be given to
climate in the selection of the grounds for a park, or
the buildings within it. A mistake in this particular
may be attended with the most calamitous results, not
only afiecting the amount of capital invested, but ex-
tending even to life it§elf — Ed.

Soil and Subsoil of the Site. — The nature of the



SOIL AND SUBSOIL OF THE SITE. 17

soil and subsoil of a place have a much greater influ-
ence on its climate than at first sight might be sup-
posed. In onr visits to country residences, we have
often found remarkable differences of climate, which
could be assigned to no other cause. Those on light
dry soils and subsoils seemed cheerful and agreeable
during winter, while others, in the same district, with
wet soils and retentive subsoils, were damp, muddy,
and uncomfortable. These diiierences could not fairly
l>e attributed to diflerences in artificial drainage, for
they were often visible on the same estate, and perhaps
in the same park, one field being moist and slabby,
and another being dry and airy. A little observation
only is required to note these peculiarities in the various
localities. Invalids are very sensible to their influ-
ences. Those places to which slight frosts are most
easily attracted will always be found, if not with wet
surface soils, certainly with cold, retentive, humid sub-
soils. These evils are best counteracted by thorougb
drainage ; but this remedy is not always effectual, or, to
be so, would need to be extended to a considerable range
of country. Where perfect drainage cannot be secured,
no residence should be formed. "We should even hesi-
tate to recommend the erection of a house on a cold
site, with a tilly subsoil ; for, however well drained the
surface may be, the air in such situations is commonly
raw and chill.

Note. — The above is sound doctrine, which cannot
be too closely studied by all who build a residence in
the country. We have known spots, beautiful in loca-
tion, but so irreclaimably unfit for a family residence,
that after all the desired improvements had been made
at a great expense to fit it for occupation, it had to be



18 PAKKS AND PLEASUKE-GKOUNDS.

abandoned. There are other places, apparently as for-
hidding when in a natnral state, which are susceptible
of entire amelioration by draining. These can nsnally
be determined by a geological survey of the grounds,
and a thorough examination of the kinds of tree and
shrubbery which most iiiclilie to grow upon them. In
all cases of doubt of the practicability of a thorough
drainage, and a cojisequent warmth and kindliness of
the soil for the objects required, the proposed site for
the residence sliould at once be abandoned. The selec-
tion and improvement of a position which shall prove
imfit for a perfectly wliolesome and satisfactory resi-
dence, will remain a source of perpetual annoyance
and regret. — Ed.

Drainage of the Site. — It is important that the
site should at least possess that moderate elevation
which will facilitate the drainage, not only of the
locality which it immediately occupies, but the whole
of its environs. The lower apartments of the house
should be made completely dry, and free from the
effects of surface-water av neighboring springs. Easy
and well-concealed sewerage from the house and offices
is matter worthy of careful attention. Indeed, the thor-
ough drainage, not merely of the house and grounds,
but of the park, and of the whole estate commanded
by the windows, should be deemed indispensable. Let
the reader imagine a house set down on a bank over-
hanging a fiat, marshy country of many liundred acres
in extent : nothing would be more dismal than the
prospect in the first instance, and nothing might be
more difficult and laborious than the subsequent efforts
to improve it.

J^Tqi^^ — Any one within the limits of the Enited



SUPPLY OF "WATER. 19

States who should seriously contemplate building in
the borders of an undralnahle marsh, contemplating to
use it for a park or pleasure-ground, would be con-
sidered a i:)rominent candidate for a lunatic as3dum.
Thanks to the free range we enjoy, no such acts of folly
are likely to occur. Yet the necessit}'' of a thorough
drainage to the site, and which, in many desirable local-
ities, is not at first aj^parent, is indispensable to the
proper occupation of the premises. A stiff and reten-
tive subsoil, in our dry American climate, is not objec-



Online LibraryCharles H. J SmithLandscape gardening : or, Parks and pleasure grounds. With practical notes on country residences, villas, public parks and gardens .. → online text (page 1 of 27)