Landscape gardening is often compared to painting a picture.
Your art teacher undoubtedly told you that a good film must have a primary point of interest, and the rest of the points serve to make the central idea more beautiful or to form an elegant setting for it.
Thus, in landscape gardening, there must be an image in the gardener’s mind of what he wants the whole to be when he finishes his work. From this study, we will be able to develop a small theory of landscape gardening.
Let’s go to the lawn.
A reasonable length of an open yard is always beautiful. It is restful. It adds a sense of space even to small gardens.
Therefore, we can generalize and say that it is good to keep the lawns open.
If we cover the grass with many trees, with small flower beds here and there, the general effect is agitated and agitated. It is a bit like an exaggerated person. The motives lose all individuality, thus treated.
A single tree or a small group is not a wrong arrangement on the lawn. Do not center the tree or trees.
Let them drop a little bit on the bottom. Make them a nice side feature.
When choosing trees, several things must be kept in mind. Please do not select a routing tree; the tree must be in good shape, with something interesting in its bark, leaves, flowers, or fruits. Although the poplar proliferates, it loses its leaves early and is therefore left upright, naked and ugly, before aging.
There are places where a row or double row of Lombardy poplars is useful.
But I think you will agree with me that a lonely poplar is not.
The catalpa is beautiful in itself. Its leaves are broad, its flowers attractive, the pods that cling to the tree until winter, add a little bit of picturesque.
The bright fruits of the ash tree, the brilliant foliage of the sugar maple, the flowers of the tulip, the bark of the white birch, and the leaves of the copper beech are all points of beauty to be considered. The location makes the difference when choosing a tree.
Suppose the bottom of the land is a little flat and moist, then the location is ideal for a willow tree. Do not group trees, which look strange. A long-looking poplar does not match a lovely, slightly rounded tulip.
A juniper, so clean and affected, would look silly next to a scattered chestnut. It is necessary to keep in mind the proportion and suitability. I never advised the planting of a group of evergreens near a house and in the front yard.
The effect is very bleak, indeed. The houses thus surrounded are overlaid with such trees and are not only dark to live in but genuinely unhealthy. The main requirement within a home is sunlight in abundance.
Just as trees are chosen because of specific positive points, shrubs must be. In a bush, I would like to wish some to bloom early, some to bloom late, some for the beauty of the autumn foliage, some for the color of the bark, and others for the fruits. Some spireas and forsythia bloom early.
The red bark of the dogwood gives a little color throughout the winter, and the red fruits of the barberry stick to the bush until winter. Certain shrubs are suitable for hedge purposes. A hedge is a little more beautiful than a fence. The Californian privet is excellent for this purpose.
Osage orange, barberry from Japan, hawthorn, quince from Japan, and spirea from Van Houtte are other shrubs that make perfect hedges.
I forgot to say that, when selecting trees and shrubs, it is usually better to choose those from the locality in which you live. Unusual and foreign plants do less well and often harmonize, but poorly, with their new environment.
Landscape gardening can follow exact lines or simple lines. The first would have straight paths, straight rows in wooden beds, everything, as the name says, entirely formal.
The other method is, of course, just the opposite. There are danger points in each one.
The formal arrangement will probably seem very rigid, the informal, very demanding, very complicated. As for the paths, keep this in mind, that a route must always lead somewhere.
That is, your job is to direct someone to a defined place. Now, straight and regular paths are not unpleasant if the effect is that of a formal garden.
The danger of a curved shape is an abrupt curve, a whirlwind effect. You should follow straight paths unless you can make a lovely turn. No one can tell you how to do this. The garden paths can be gravel, dirt, or grass.
You can see grass paths in some lovely gardens.
I doubt, however, that they would also serve in their small gardens. Their garden areas are so limited that they should be renewed each season, and the grass paths are a significant nuisance in this work.
Sure, a gravel path looks nice, but then again, you may not have gravel under your command. You can dig the road for half a meter. Then place six inches of stone or clinker. On this, pack the earth, rounding it slightly towards the center of the path.
There should never be depressions in the central part of the trails, as they are convenient places for the water to remain. The lower layer of stone constitutes a natural drainage system.
Often, a building needs the help of vines or flowers, or both, to tie it to the ground to form a harmonious whole.
The vines lend themselves well to this work. It is best to plant a perennial vine and therefore let it become a permanent part of your landscape scheme.
The climbing vine, wisteria, honeysuckle, climbing rose, clematis and trumpet are the most satisfactory. Close your eyes and imagine a natural colored house, that soft gray of aged tiles.
Now add a purple wistaria to this old house. Can you see the beauty of this? I will not soon forget a very ugly corner of my childhood home, where the dining room and the kitchen met.
Right there rising and falling on a trellis was a trumpet. It made a strange angle beautiful, an ugly carpenter’s job. Of course, morning glory is an annual vine, just like the moon vine and wild cucumber.
Now, they have a unique function. It is often necessary to cover an ugly thing for a while until better ideas and times arrive.
The annual is ‘the buddy’ for this job. Along an old fence, a hop vine is a beautiful thing. One can try to rival the forest landscaping work.
Often, it is adorned from one rotten tree to another, the ampelopsis vine. Flowers may well go along the side of the building or a walk. In general, however, keep the front lawn open and without beds.
What is more adorable in the early spring than a daffodil patch close to home? Hyacinths and tulips also form a glow of glory. These are little or no hassle and start to spring appropriately.
Some bulbs can be made as an exception to the rule of an entire front lawn. Snowdrops and crocuses planted in the garden are beautiful. They do not disturb the general effect, but they merge with the whole.
An experienced bulb gardener tells you to pick up a basket full of bulbs in the fall, walk through the gardens and throw bulbs here and there.
Wherever the bulbs fall, plant them. Small bulbs, like the ones we planted on lawns, should be in groups of four to six. Daffodils can also be planted. You all remember the grape hyacinths that grow all over Katharine’s side yard.
The place for a flower garden is usually on the side or back of the house.
The backyard garden is a lovely idea. Who wants to leave a beautiful front yard, turn the corner of a house and find a garbage dump?
The flower garden can be formally organized into small, tidy flowerbeds, or it can be more of a careless, random type. Both have their good points.
Large masses of flowers are attractive. It would help if you had some notion of color mixing. Nature does not seem to take this into account and still has beautiful effects.
This is due to the enormous amount of its perfect green background and the lack of limits on its space, although we are confined, at best, to relatively small areas.
Therefore, we must strive not to blind the eyes of people with color shocks that do not work closely. To break down color extremes, you can always use masses of white flowers or something like mignonette, which is green.
Finally, let’s summarize our landscape lesson. The grounds are a backdrop for the house or buildings.
Open and free lawned spaces, a tree, or a suitable group well placed, flowers that do not pile up in the front garden, groups of shrubs are points to remember.
The paths must lead somewhere and be straight or well curved. If we start with a formal garden, we should not mix the informal with it before finishing the job.