Landscape Gardening Ideas - Approach to the House

Landscape Gardening Ideas - Approach to the House

Some landscape gardening ideas regarding the approach to the house, and drives.

Craftsman Style

¶ The road by which access is had to the residence from the public highway is termed the approach. Being a primary necessity, it is the most important route or track that takes a place in the system of laying out grounds. In the ancient or geometric style, the approach was laid down with reference to a view of the front of the building, to the exclusion of the end elevations; but the modern or natural mode demands that the first view of the house shall not only embrace the main front, but also one of the adjacent ends of the building, thus giving a just impression of its character and magnitude.

¶ "There are two guiding principles", says Mr. Downing, "laid down for the formation of approach roads: the first, that the curves should never be so great or lead over surfaces so unequal as to make it disagreeable to drive upon them; and the second, that the road should never curve without some reason, either real or apparent."

¶ "Nothing can be more annoying than to see an approach or any description of road winding hither and thither through an extensive level lawn, toward the house, without the least apparent reason for the curves. Happily, we are not therefore obliged to return to the straight line; but gradual curves may always be so arranged as to appear necessarily to wind around the groups of trees which otherwise would stand in the way. Whenever a bend in the road is intended, a cluster or group of greater or less size, and breadth proportionate to the curve, should be placed in the projection formed. These trees, as soon as they attain some size, if they are properly arranged, we may suppose to have originally stood there, and the road naturally to have curved, to avoid destroying them."

¶ We quote from Mr. Repton, already noticed as one of the most celebrated English landscape gardeners, the following rules or governing principles in determining the position and curves of the approach, from which, however, it must not be inferred that it is possible to give rules that will apply in all cases; but they embrace the elemental requisites of the approach, insisted upon by modern landscape gardeners, and we think with a great deal of consistency:

¶ "First. It ought to be a road to the house and to that principally. "Second. Although not naturally the nearest road possible, it ought artificially be made impossible to go a nearer way. "Third. The artificial obstacles which make this road the nearest ought to appear natural."

¶ "Fourth. Where an approach quits the high road, it ought not to break from it at right angles, or in such a manner as to rob the entrance of importance, but rather at some bend of the public road, from which a lodge or gate may be more conspicuous, and where the high road may appear to branch from the approach, rather than the approach from the high road."

¶ "Fifth. After the approach enters the park, it should avoid skirting along its boundary, which betrays the want of extent or variety of property."

¶ "Sixth. The house, unless very large and magnificent, should not be seen at so great a distance as to make it appear much less than it really is."

¶ "Seventh. The first view of the house should be from the most pleasing point of sight."

¶ "Eighth. As soon as the house is visible from the approach, there should be no temptation to quit it, (which will ever be the case if the road is at all circuitous,) unless sufficient obstacles, such as water or inaccessible ground, appear to justify its course".


¶ These may be laid out in conformity with the spirit of the above rules, observing always that they should assume an appearance of subordination to the approach. A drive being intended for exercise and enjoyment of a more secluded nature than can be obtained on a public highway, should always be laid out with an eye to obtaining the best view of the beauties of the place and the surrounding country, from the carriage or on horseback.

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