Natural Garden Landscaping Ideas
Garden landscaping, according to Stickley, is best done in a natural way, attempting to alter as little as possible. These free garden landscaping ideas make interesting reading for the garden landscaping hobbyist.
¶ Making a garden is not unlike building a home, because the first thing to be considered is the creation of that indefinable feeling of restfulness and harmony which alone makes for permanence. Therefore, in planning a garden that we mean to live with all our lives, it is best to let Nature alone just as far as possible, following her suggestions and helping her to carry out her plans by adjusting our own to them, rather than attempting to introduce a conventional element into the landscape.
¶ We have already explained in detail the importance of building a house so that it becomes a part of its natural surroundings, of planning it so that its form harmonizes with the general contour of the site upon which it stands and also of the surrounding country, and of using local materials and natural colors, wherever it is possible, so that the house may be brought into the closest relationship with its natural surroundings. But no matter how well planned the house may be, or how completely in keeping with the country, the climate and the life that is to be lived in it, the whole sense of home peace and comfort is gone if the garden is left to the mercy of the average gardener, whose chief ambition usually is to achieve trim walks, faultless flower beds and neatly barbered shrubs, and whose appreciation of wild natural beauty is small.
¶ To give a real sense or peace and satisfaction a garden must be a place in which we can wander and lounge, pick flowers at our will and invite our souls, and we can do none of these if we have the feeling that trees, shrubs and flowers were put there arbitrarily and according to a set, artificial pattern, instead of being allowed to grow up as Nature meant them to do. Therefore, knowing the vital importance of the right kind of garden to the general scheme, we have given here some examples of the natural treatment of moderate sized grounds, trusting that they may be suggestive to home builders.
¶ The house shown in the pictures was built by an artist out in a pasture lot and the garden that has been encouraged to grow up around it has more of the feeling of free woods and meadows than of a primly kept enclosure. The trees were thinned out just enough to allow plenty of air and sunshine and the sense of space that is so necessary, and, for the rest, were permitted to grow as they would. As Nature never makes a mistake in her groupings, the different varieties of trees fall into the picture in a way that could never be achieved by the most ingenious planting. Such shrubs and flowers as have been set out are of the more hardy varieties that belong to the climate and to the soil, and the vines that clamber over the low stone garden walls and curtain the walls of the house seem more to belong to the wild growths of the hillside than to have been planted by man. Where there is a path or a flight of steps the course of it is ruled by the contour of the ground so that the whole impression is that of Nature smoothed down in places and in others encouraged to do her very best.
¶ These pictures, of course, are only suggestive, for in the very nature of things this kind of a garden cannot be made by rule, as no two places require or will admit the same treatment. The only way to obtain the effect desired is to cultivate the feeling of kinship with the open country and with growing things, and so to learn gradually to perceive the original plan. After that, all that is needed is to let things alone so far as arrangement goes, and to work in harmony with the thing that already exists.
¶ Most fortunate is the home builder who can set his house out in the open where there is plenty of meadowland around it and an abundance of trees. If the ground happens to be uneven and hilly, so much the better, for the gardener has then the best of all possible foundations to start from and, if he be wise, he will leave it much as it is, clearing out a little here and there, planting such flowers and shrubs as seem to belong to the picture and allowing the paths to take the directions that would naturally be given to footpaths across the meadows or through the woods, paths which invariably follow the line of the least resistance and so adapt themselves perfectly to the contour of the ground.
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