Garden Designing, Planting and Cultivation

MANY things have to be considered when choosing the site for a house and garden. The ideal site for a garden is that of a lifted plateau, sheltered on the north and east sides with a range of hills and trees. Elevation enables the designer to bring into the garden, picturesque glimpses of distant views, thus adding enchantment. Unfortunately for most amateur gardoners, the choice of an ideal site is practically impossible, but if asked to select a plot from bare fields that are being developed for building, keep in mind the following points:

1. Rich soil

This is indicated by the presence of rank weeds and shrubby growth. The trees and surrounding hedgerows are also a good guide as to the fertility of the local soil.

2. Drainage

Expense can be avoided by the selection of a site which drains naturally. A sub-soil of gravel or sand is, of course, well drained. Land on the side of a hill usually gets rid of water quickly. Land over chalk is generally well drained. But land can be over-drained, especially during a dry summer, where the sub-soil is of a porous character.

3. Existing Trees and Fences

If the plot is approaching an acre in extent, the presence of a few trees on the site is desirable. The only objection would be if they interfered with certain features in the garden such as tennis courts, and vegetable or fruit garden. But in the flower garden the design can usually be accommodated to the trees. It is a golden rule never to destroy a tree without careful consideration. In fact, it is a good plan to live for a few months with the tree or trees, provided they can be left without interfering with the building or construction, and only to cut them down after lengthy consideration. As the Irishman would say, Make haste slowly.

Once a tall mature tree is cut down, it is irreplaceable in ones lifetime. This also applies partly to existing hedges. The warm shelter of a thick hawthorn or beech hedge is welcome in any garden, and where such shelter exists, it should not be removed without careful thought.

4. Personal preferences in Type of Garden

If the range in search of a house is not restricted, sites are obtainable favourable for particular types of gardens.

The keen alpine gardener may find a site where the natural rock formation can be utilised for a rock garden. Having selected such a site, it would be a mistake to im port stone that is alien to the district. As an example, if the rock garden is made where Sussex sandstone is the natural out crop, then any additional stone used for the construction of the rockery should be Sussex sandstone; if in the North of England and the outcrop is mountain limestone, the natural addition to the existing rock should be the same material.

Should water be desired as a garden featuro, a site with a stream meandering across the lower end would be ideal. In fact, what might at first sight seem an undesirable factor in the site for a garden, can often be turned to an advantage by the formation of a bog and water garden.

5. Natural Slope

Where land is of sloping character, the slope whioh conforms nearest to the ideal for a mixed garden is that where the natural fall is from north to south, but a slight slope to the north is better for fruit trees.

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