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Home and Garden Landscaping tips

The making of a good and spacious Lawn
The trouble with home grounds is not so much that there is too little planting of trees and shrubs, but that this planting is meaningless. Every yard should be a picture. That is, the area should be set off from every other area, and it should have such a character that the observer catches its entire effect and purpose without stopping to analyze its parts. The yard should be one thing, one area, with every feature contributing its part to one strong. and homogeneous effect.

The nursery type of planting represents the common front yard. The bushes and trees are scattered promiscuously over the area. Such a yard has no purpose, no central idea. Its only merit is in the fact that trees and shrubs have been planted; and this, to most minds, comprise the essence and sum of the ornamentation of rounds. Every tree and bush is an individual, alone, unattened, disconnected from its environments, and therefore meaningless. Such a yard is only a nursery.

The better plan is a picture. The central idea is the residence, with a warm and open greensward in front of it. The trees and bushes are massed into a framework to give effectiveness to the picture of home and comfort. This style of planting makes a landscape, even though the area be no larger than a parlor. The other style is simply a collection of curious plants. The one has an instant and abiding pictorial effect, which is restful and satisfying; the other simply arouses the curiosity, obscures the residence and divides and distracts the attention.

If the gardener catches the full meaning of these contrasts, he has acquired the first and most important conception in landscape gardening. The conception will grow upon him day by day: and if he or she is of an observing turn of mind, he or she will find that this simple lesson will revolutionize his habit of thought respecting the planting of grounds and the beauty of landscapes. He will see that a bush or flower-bed which is no part of any general purpose or design - that is, which does not contribute to the making of a picture - might better never have been planted. A bare and open pasture were better than such a yard, even though it contained the choicest plants of every land.

The pasture would at least be plain and restful and unpretentious. It would be nature-like and sweet. But the yard would be full of futile effort and fidget. Reduced to a single expression, all this means that the greatest artistic value in shrubbery lies in the effect of the mass, and not in the individual shrub. A mass has the greater value because it presents a much greater range and variety of forms, colors, shades and textures, because it has sufficient extent or dimensions to add structural character to a place, and because its features are so continuous and so well blended that the mind is not distracted by incidental and irrelevant ideas.

If a landscape is a picture, it must have a canvas. This canvas is the greensward. Upon this, the artist paints with tree and bush and flower the same as the painter does upon his canvas with brush and pigments. The opportunity for artistic composition and structure is nowhere so great as in the landscape garden because no other art has such a limitless field for the expression of its emotions.

There can be no rules for landscape gardening, any more than there can be for painting or sculpture. The operator may be taught how to hold the brush or strike the chisel or plant the tree, but he remains an operator; the art is intellectual and emotional and will not confine itself in precepts.