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Overview

Like a good path, this book leads you along an approachable and stimulating route to designing and structuring your own landscape, no matter where your garden or on what scale.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780944475393
  • Publisher: Camden House Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 8.16 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

by Gordon Hayward and illustrated by Elayne Sears

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Table of Contents

— Introduction
PART I — MODEL GARDENS
Chapter One — Paths to Follow: Four Inspirations for Garden Design
— An urban garden
— A small suburban garden
— A large suburban garden
— An estate garden
PART II — PATHS TO YOUR NEW GARDEN: A Way to Unified Design
Chapter Two — Cut Stone: The Most Formal Paving Material
— Cut stone to the front door
— Cut stone to a side or back door
— Curving paths and planted gaps
Chapter Three — Brick: Warmth and Versatility
— Brick entrances
— Visual and physical pace
Chapter Four — Stone Carpets: Informal Fieldstone Walkways
— Finding the right Place
— Planting the gaps
— Paths from patios
Chapter Five — Lawn: The Living Alternative
— The versatile lawn
— Places for plants
— Front lawn paths
— Linking spaces
— Climatic considerations
— The meadow path
Chapter Six — Concrete: The Liquid Material — Plain, Embedded or Precast
— Where to use concrete
— Concrete with aggregates
— Embedded concrete
— Precast concrete
— Concrete as natural—looking rock
Chapter Seven — Stepping Stones: Determining Pace
— Stepping stones into Woodland
— Dimensions
— Planting the gaps
— Creating a mood
— Cut stones
— Wood rounds
Chapter Eight — Wood: Boardwalks, Bridges and Stairs
— Boardwalks
— Footbridges
— Stairs
Chapter Nine — Hard Loose Materials: Gravel Crushed Stone and Other Crunchy Surfaces
— Designing paths near the house
— Designing paths away from the house
— The path as edging
Chapter Ten — Soft Loose Materials: Bark Mulch, Pine Needles, Leaves and Earth
— Bark mulch
— Pine needles
— Leaves
— Trodden earth
PART III — MAKING THE PATH
Chapter Eleven — The Cut Stone Path and Stone Carpet
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Making a Cut Stone Walkway
— Stone carpets of fieldstone
Chapter Twelve — The Brick Path
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Making a brick path
— Maintenance
Chapter Thirteen — The Lawn Path
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Soil preparation for sod and seed
— The sod path
— The lawn path
— Cutting paths and beds from existing lawn
Chapter Fourteen — The Concrete Path
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Preparing the area
— The best mix
— Embedding
— Precast pavers
Chapter Fifteen — The Stepping—stone Path
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Laying the stones
— Stepping—stone steps
— Wood rounds
Chapter Sixteen — The Wood Path
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Boardwalks
— Wooden blocks as stepping stones
Chapter Seventeen — The Loose Material Path
— Laying hard loose material paths
— Tools and materials
— Design
— Laying soft loose material paths
— Tools and materials
— Design
Chapter Eighteen — Planting the Gaps
— Establishing plants in gaps
— Moss in the gaps
— Recommended plants
APPENDICES
A. Sources
B. Indigenous Materials
C. Associations, Manufacturers and Suppliers
D. An Annotated List of Public Gardens Worldwide
E. Bibliography
Photography Credits
INDEX
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Preface

Introduction

The idea for this book grew out of my work as a garden designer. Time and again I found myself turning to paths for help in starting a design. They organize space, break design problems down into related parts, and help my clients understand a design process that results in a garden they can use and enjoy. After countless designs for clients, after years of developing our own gardens here in southern Vermont, I still approach the garden design problem the same way. First, I establish where the major elements of the garden — terraces or patios, a grape arbor, perennial beds, the vegetable garden, large trees — will go in relation to the house or existing outbuildings. Then I turn to paths as a way of linking the house to existing as well as planned elements of the garden. Finally, I turn to plants to help me define the nature of each area. It is this process, this sequence, and particularly the role of the path within it, that I
want to share in the hope that it will enable you to more confidently design your own landscape, for it is an approach to garden design I know works for me and for others.

The goal of this book, then, is to give you the confidence and the knowledge to begin designing your own garden. While it cannot provide you with all the plant information you need, it will give you a place to start your own plant choices within a framework. Confidence will build on confidence, and you'll be surprised how successful you really can be at designing your own garden once you let the path lead you.

Of course, I did not invent this idea of the path's importance in good garden design. When I spoke to garden designers working throughout America and England, and when I turned to the writings of great garden designers from the past century, I found support for my notion that the path is central to the early stages of garden design. In 1962, Russell Page, the late and eminent English garden designer, wrote in The Education of a Gardener,

Paths are all-important. Before I begin to elaborate my composition, I like to establish ... the lines of communication between house and garden .... Paths indicate the structure of a garden plan, and the stronger and simpler the lines they follow the better. They help define the organic shape of your garden; an indecisive arrangement of paths will make an amorphous and weak garden, a basic error which even the most skillful planting will never be able to put right.

Lanning Roper, a distinguished landscape designer who moved from America to England to live and work, wrote in 1957, "No matter what the size of your garden or what the design, there are inevitably paths or terraces, and often both. The design of the whole garden will depend to a large extent on these features."

And Fletcher Steele, an influential American garden designer, places paths at the very heart of the landscape. In 1924 he wrote, "Beds and decoration are but to enhance the path.... Paths play an important part in giving character to the garden." The Role of the Path in Design

It is one thing to be assured by great garden designers past and present that paths make a big difference, but quite another to be given guidelines on how to use paths in your own property to make a good garden. The way you lay out the paths through your garden will determine how you and your visitors experience it. As you pass from one garden space to the next along the path, the meaning and feeling of each, through contrast, becomes clearer. When I asked Rosemary Verey, an English gardener and writer, for her understanding of the role of paths in garden design, she underscored this idea:

Their layout and material will determine the garden style. Paths, allées and walks also dictate the way you wish people to move around your garden. They are the skeleton of the garden. They frame beds into manageable sizes and divide the garden into different areas, leading you on from one section to the next, through gates, under archways, round corners and along vistas.

Often the word "path" conjures an image like that of W. Eugene Smith's 1946 photograph, "The Walk to Paradise Garden," the last in the photographic essay, The Family of Man. The photo shows the backs of his two very young children, hand in hand, walking from a shaded woodland path into a sunny idyllic garden. Or we imagine a nineteenth-century Helen Ellingham painting depicting an English woman sweeping a simple way between two borders to the front door of her rustic thatched cottage. These certainly are paths, but in this book, I expand the definition to include any combination of footpaths, walkways, footbridges, boardwalks or stepping-stone paths, whether curving, straight or meandering, narrow or wide. Pathways may be made of cut stone, fieldstone, lawn, brick, concrete, wood, gravel, trodden earth or the naturally occurring woodland floor. Steps, too, are paths in that they also focus our movement, inviting us to enter new garden spaces.

Redefined, the garden path not only leads you from one area of the garden to the next, but also provides you with a sequential design process. The concept of the path can help you divide spaces into specific forms and shapes, dividing the design problem in such a way that you can think of parts of your design, and then use the path, and later, plants, to create a whole garden. Here is an example.

In a sense, the entire design for the 1 1/2-acre garden my wife Mary and I are developing around our 200-year-old farmhouse in southern Vermont started from one gently curving 20-foot-long lawn path. We had created a spring garden under wild plums, and across an amorphous patch of lawn, a rectangular herb garden answering the rectangular shapes of an old wooden garden shed. But the two did not relate in any way. Out of the amorphous lawn, we cut a curving 5-foot-wide path, extending the herb garden toward the spring garden in the process. Instantly the two garden areas were drawn into a relationship with one another. The path simultaneously established logical edges for the herb garden and spring gardens. And as we followed the line of the path around the other side of the herb garden, it helped us draw the nearby rock garden into a relationship with the herb garden too. And so it went. The effect of making that first path eventually rippled the length and width of our property, and continues to do so, nine years later. Without realizing it at the time, we were following a precept of Russell Page's: all the lines in a garden — whether initially established by streams, driveways, the edges of beds, the driplines of overhead trees,
or, in our case, a single path — should relate to one another. The application of that idea when gathered around paths that lead articulately throughout a garden results in a coherent design that has what Capability Brown, an influential garden designer in 18th-century England, called an itinerary.

But Harland Hand, an artist who gardens in Berkeley, California, pointed out to me that the concept of the path goes even deeper than design:

For a garden to be more than color or form or variety — for it to inspire and move you — it must contain three elements that fulfill ancient, primitive human needs: shelter, trails and lookouts, not garden rooms, paths and views. These words are removed from the natural world. They do not speak directly to the feelings you might have when, having hiked all day along a high, exposed ridge trail, you come, as dusk falls, upon a ravine where a knot of trees offers shelter for the night. When you find such a place you feel good and warm and safe. Trails produce mixed emotions, a sense of expectation and a sense of direction. A lookout brings a sense of power and exhilaration. This is how primitive people saw nature and how modern people experience nature and even gardens, whether they know it or not.

Throughout the history of civilization, paths have been important in determining the shapes and

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

The idea for this book grew out of my work as a garden designer. Time and again I found myself turning to paths for help in starting a design. They organize space, break design problems down into related parts, and help my clients understand a design process that results in a garden they can use and enjoy. After countless designs for clients, after years of developing our own gardens here in southern Vermont, I still approach the garden design problem the same way. First, I establish where the major elements of the garden -- terraces or patios, a grape arbor, perennial beds, the vegetable garden, large trees -- will go in relation to the house or existing outbuildings. Then I turn to paths as a way of linking the house to existing as well as planned elements of the garden. Finally, I turn to plants to help me define the nature of each area. It is this process, this sequence, and particularly the role of the path within it, that I want to share in the hope that it will enable you to more confidently design your own landscape, for it is an approach to garden design I know works for me and for others.

The goal of this book, then, is to give you the confidence and the knowledge to begin designing your own garden. While it cannot provide you with all the plant information you need, it will give you a place to start your own plant choices within a framework. Confidence will build on confidence, and you'll be surprised how successful you really can be at designing your own garden once you let the path lead you.

Of course, I did not invent this idea of the path's importance in good garden design. When I spoke to garden designers working throughout America andEngland, and when I turned to the writings of great garden designers from the past century, I found support for my notion that the path is central to the early stages of garden design. In 1962, Russell Page, the late and eminent English garden designer, wrote in The Education of a Gardener,

Paths are all-important. Before I begin to elaborate my composition, I like to establish ... the lines of communication between house and garden .... Paths indicate the structure of a garden plan, and the stronger and simpler the lines they follow the better. They help define the organic shape of your garden; an indecisive arrangement of paths will make an amorphous and weak garden, a basic error which even the most skillful planting will never be able to put right.

Lanning Roper, a distinguished landscape designer who moved from America to England to live and work, wrote in 1957, "No matter what the size of your garden or what the design, there are inevitably paths or terraces, and often both. The design of the whole garden will depend to a large extent on these features."

And Fletcher Steele, an influential American garden designer, places paths at the very heart of the landscape. In 1924 he wrote, "Beds and decoration are but to enhance the path.... Paths play an important part in giving character to the garden."

The Role of the Path in Design

It is one thing to be assured by great garden designers past and present that paths make a big difference, but quite another to be given guidelines on how to use paths in your own property to make a good garden. The way you lay out the paths through your garden will determine how you and your visitors experience it. As you pass from one garden space to the next along the path, the meaning and feeling of each, through contrast, becomes clearer. When I asked Rosemary Verey, an English gardener and writer, for her understanding of the role of paths in garden design, she underscored this idea:

Their layout and material will determine the garden style. Paths, allées and walks also dictate the way you wish people to move around your garden. They are the skeleton of the garden. They frame beds into manageable sizes and divide the garden into different areas, leading you on from one section to the next, through gates, under archways, round corners and along vistas.

Often the word "path" conjures an image like that of W. Eugene Smith's 1946 photograph, "The Walk to Paradise Garden," the last in the photographic essay, The Family of Man. The photo shows the backs of his two very young children, hand in hand, walking from a shaded woodland path into a sunny idyllic garden. Or we imagine a nineteenth-century Helen Ellingham painting depicting an English woman sweeping a simple way between two borders to the front door of her rustic thatched cottage. These certainly are paths, but in this book, I expand the definition to include any combination of footpaths, walkways, footbridges, boardwalks or stepping-stone paths, whether curving, straight or meandering, narrow or wide. Pathways may be made of cut stone, fieldstone, lawn, brick, concrete, wood, gravel, trodden earth or the naturally occurring woodland floor. Steps, too, are paths in that they also focus our movement, inviting us to enter new garden spaces.

Redefined, the garden path not only leads you from one area of the garden to the next, but also provides you with a sequential design process. The concept of the path can help you divide spaces into specific forms and shapes, dividing the design problem in such a way that you can think of parts of your design, and then use the path, and later, plants, to create a whole garden. Here is an example.

In a sense, the entire design for the 1 1/2-acre garden my wife Mary and I are developing around our 200-year-old farmhouse in southern Vermont started from one gently curving 20-foot-long lawn path. We had created a spring garden under wild plums, and across an amorphous patch of lawn, a rectangular herb garden answering the rectangular shapes of an old wooden garden shed. But the two did not relate in any way. Out of the amorphous lawn, we cut a curving 5-foot-wide path, extending the herb garden toward the spring garden in the process. Instantly the two garden areas were drawn into a relationship with one another. The path simultaneously established logical edges for the herb garden and spring gardens. And as we followed the line of the path around the other side of the herb garden, it helped us draw the nearby rock garden into a relationship with the herb garden too. And so it went. The effect of making that first path eventually rippled the length and width of our property, and continues to do so, nine years later. Without realizing it at the time, we were following a precept of Russell Page's: all the lines in a garden -- whether initially established by streams, driveways, the edges of beds, the driplines of overhead trees, or, in our case, a single path -- should relate to one another. The application of that idea when gathered around paths that lead articulately throughout a garden results in a coherent design that has what Capability Brown, an influential garden designer in 18th-century England, called an itinerary.

But Harland Hand, an artist who gardens in Berkeley, California, pointed out to me that the concept of the path goes even deeper than design:

For a garden to be more than color or form or variety -- for it to inspire and move you -- it must contain three elements that fulfill ancient, primitive human needs: shelter, trails and lookouts, not garden rooms, paths and views. These words are removed from the natural world. They do not speak directly to the feelings you might have when, having hiked all day along a high, exposed ridge trail, you come, as dusk falls, upon a ravine where a knot of trees offers shelter for the night. When you find such a place you feel good and warm and safe. Trails produce mixed emotions, a sense of expectation and a sense of direction. A lookout brings a sense of power and exhilaration. This is how primitive people saw nature and how modern people experience nature and even gardens, whether they know it or not.

Throughout the history of civilization, paths have been important in determining the shapes and spaces of gardens. The nature of path, and thus garden design, also reflects the cultural and religious attitudes of the society in question. For instance, the earliest Egyptian frescoes show formal, geometric walled gardens with straight paths, the lines of which were imposed, in part, by the irrigation channels and the protective walls. Early Persian gardens, similarly walled against an unforgiving, largely featureless landscape, also had straight paths which, far better than natural curves and meanderings, bespoke humanity's control over nature.

The notion of straight paths through symmetrical gardens, perhaps brought back from the Middle East and northern Africa to Europe during the crusades, inspired generations of garden designers who especially, in France, lined up their paths and thus their gardens. For centuries, paths were straight. The usual medieval European garden was a walled square with four paths leading to a central fountain symbolizing the waters of life. The Renaissance gardens of Italy and Holland and the great European gardens of the eighteenth century all had straight paths.

There was one ancient exception to this rule: in China, where the attempt to recreate the natural world in the garden has been the guiding principle for at least 2,500 years, the early designers, surrounded by a verdant and varied landscape and influenced by Taoist nature worship, created paths that meandered through gardens, along streams, around ponds and up hillsides. Around 600 A.D., this style of gardening reached Japan by way of Korea.

It did not reach Europe -- and even then in a very different form -- until the eighteenth century in England, where the landscape school replaced straight paths with ones that meandered through parklands or pleasure grounds. Design since then has been shifting between the formal and informal, the architectural and natural.

So, path design, and thus garden design, clearly reflects cultural characteristics. As Charles Moore writes in The Poetics of Gardens,

The paths of Islam are straight and narrow, leading directly into the heart of paradise. Those of Versailles are equally single-minded but climax in the bed chamber of the Sun King. The goose-foot patterns of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French hunting parks tell of the headlong flight of the stag, while English parks may be patterned on the winding tracks of the devious fox. Rococo gardens cut paths into the curlicued rhythms of courtly frivolity, and Japanese gardens have, for centuries, deployed precarious stepping-stones with such artful irregularity that the placement of each geta-constrained foot must become a conscious, exquisitely shaped act.

The garden path also has psychological overtones; the meandering walk to the Japanese tea house is subtly designed to help visitors slough off the cares of the day so that they arrive mentally prepared for the tea ceremony. This emotional aspect can also be highly personal. Shortly after the premature death of his wife, Henry Hoare, the designer of the famous Stourhead Garden in Wiltshire, England, created a path that was meant as a therapeutic journey. The path travels around a lake, and the buildings, statuary, views and plantings along it were arranged symbolically to suggest the return of Aeneas from Troy. The path was intended to gradually confront Hoare with the darkness in a grotto that symbolized his tragedy, only to have that darkness relieved at the sunlit conclusion of the walk in the Temple of Apollo.

While the psychological effect upon visitors to Stourhead depends on what they see along the gravel path, in other gardens the paving materials themselves, and the way they are laid out, can create various feelings. A pine needle path through a Maine coastal woodland garden is calming, while the broad, straight and long gravel path that leads from the formal garden to the Doric temple at Blickling Hall (once owned by Anne Boleyn's father) in England implies all the feelings associated with power and grandeur. At the same time, materials can add movement, a new level of interest, beauty and even craftsmanship to your garden. Surface materials and patterns, especially in the hands of Japanese or Chinese garden designers, can be artful yet remain functional.

Carefully conceived and properly laid out, paths are practical too; they provide year-round access throughout the garden for you and your maintenance equipment. Furthermore, paths reduce maintenance in a garden by helping control surface drainage, weeds, lawn, mud, heat and dust.

The path, then, is far more than a means of getting from here to there on dry, solid ground. It is a way to organize your thinking about garden design; it is a way to organize space and clarify the meaning of your whole garden; it is a means, by which you can, in the words of Harland Hand, "choreograph your visitors' movements," and thus their feelings.

The well-designed path is irresistible. It invites, even pulls people into the garden. Put a curve in a path that disappears around a corner and visitors will yearn to know what is around that corner. Then let that path lead to other thoughtfully designed paths throughout your property and your garden will become coherent while simultaneously offering intrigue, surprise, movement, variety and ever-changing perspectives.

A path determines the sequence by which you move up, down or through a garden, and the many vantage points from which you see it. To look at a garden in terms of its paths, then, is to look at the garden as a whole, for it is the path that links all parts and thus helps create a sense of place.

In Part 1 of the book, I look closely at four model gardens that exemplify how paths can create unity and a sense of expectation. The models include a small urban garden, both small and large suburban gardens and an estate garden.

In Part II, I look at fine gardens throughout the world in terms of their paths. It is organized from the most formal gardening style, often near the house, to increasingly informal gardens further away. For example, I begin with a chapter on cut stone, the most formal material, frequently used right near the house. I end with a chapter on informal paths of gravel, pine needles and trodden earth. These are often associated with woodland, fields or the edges of a meadow.

In Part III, I describe how you can create paths of these materials so that they will last a long time and do their job well. Included is a plant list to give you ideas for what Harland Hand calls "crevice gardening"; that is, plants that are appropriate for gaps between paving stones or steps.

Finally, in the appendices, I provide sources for: garden structures and gates; benches and furniture; garden ornaments, statuary and planters; lighting; fine tools; associations and manufacturers. There is also a list of indigenous paving materials available across the country and finally a list of public gardens worldwide that use paths in interesting ways.

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