The Value of a Garden Plan

A GOOD garden plan enables the owner to carry out a policy either at once or gradually, according to his resources and the necessary time which some features take to mature.

When you make the plan yourself, ask yourself these qtiestions as soon as you have sketched in the main features. Will the garden be a useful addition to the house during the first year ? Can the trees, shrubs, hedges, and other plants which tako some years to mature be planted now, or during the next planting season, even though the whole garden layout is spread over a number of years ? Will the ultimate effect be a garden full of interest, useful for every purpose for which it is likely to be needed ?

First indicate roughly the use to which the garden will be put. An area for flowers, possibly some space allotted to fruit or to vegetables, screens, garages, sheds, green-house, cold frames, a domestio area, all these need consideration, and if they are to be included, they should be given a definite situation on the plan.

The vegetable plot can if necessary be seen from the kitchen and bedrooms. Unsightly but essential features should be out of sight as far as possible, or else beautified in some way.

Having decided on essentials, the plan can be drawn up in detail. This involves consideration of levels if the site is not a flat one. On a sloping site a level lawn cannot be made without some excavation, and usually it is best to call in a surveyor to assist in this part of the work.

The cost of laying out a garden does not depend on its size. Quite a small garden can be laid out very expensively, and on the other hand, a large garden can be made for a small sum. Neither does the subsequent cost bear any definite relation to the first cost. You may spend a good deal in laying out a garden -with stone paths, stono walls, costly ornaments, and elaborate patterns of formal beds with stone or grass walks between. These will need filling every season with colour, and you may perhaps rely on fresh bedding plants, bought or raised annually. Such a garden will always be bright and colourful during the summer months, but at a very high cost, both at first and in each succeeding year.

On the other hand, you may use stone walks, large areas of paving or tiling, and beds filled with flowering shrubs and perennials of the kind that do not like to be disturbed. This kind of garden would be fairly expensive at first, but very labour-saving and inexpensive in upkeep. Or you may make a very small lawn, just sufficient for family use, and fill the remainder of the garden with plants of your own raising. This means a very inexpensive beginning, and its success depends on the amount of constant work you are prepared to put into the garden as it develops.

Whatever you decide, allow for ten or twenty per cent, more cost than the sum you estimate. This is nearly alwa s needed, because there are items overlooked, such as the cost of lawn mowers, garden seata, frames, stakes and permanent labela.

Whether the garden be large or small, the same principles of design govern both. It is essential when designing a garden to have knowledge of what the soil will produce. In certain soils such moisture-loving plants as phlox and dahlias will only do well during a wet season. Aain, it is use-less to attempt to cultivate rhododendrons and similar plants where the subsoil is all chalky.

Beauty in design and form is only truly beautiful in its relation to the end in view. If your interost is in rock plants, fruit or vegetables, provision must be made for these. If you are anxious to provide for games, levelling and turfing are the first problems to be considered.

The type of house is another important consideration. Therefore the garden designer must have some knowledge of architecture, and ability to link the house with the garden by conforming to a definite style in all arclutectural garden Hoy$& features. Near the house, Borne formality in design is essential. It is here that architecture actually meets horticulture, and design and planting must be carefully considered to secure the best effect.

There are a few things which should be borne in mind when treating the garden

Plan of a garden showing the convenient allocation of areas.

Near the house. Usually there are objects close to the house which should be hidden by careful planting. It is always desirable to have easy access to garages, coal-sheds, tool-houses and the greenhouse. Every outlook should present a picture to the eye. And the main lines of the garden should lead from the house to objects of intrinsic beauty.

Flower beds and garden ornaments should bear artistic relation to each other. Proportion is needed in introducing features into the garden. Small ornaments on a substantially-built terrace or veranda are obvious examples of lack of proportion.

Yet another essential in garden design is to ensure good paths. One cannot fully appreciate the beauty of the garden if clean and easy access to all parts of the garden is not possible. The position of paths is determined by entrances, and special features of the garden, but the size is also important. Even in a small garden it should be possible for two people to walk abreast. There are many gardens where the paths do not allow easy working, and carrying has to take the place of wheeling when material must be moved.

Practical Layout I HE layout of a garden that surrounds the house calls for consideration from many different points of view. The first thing is to provide a screen to hide other houses or unsightly objects, and often it is best to enclose the whole plot with some sort of fence or hedge. These may be a legal requirement.

There are a number of hedge plants which are a departure from the orthodox privet, laurel and hawthorn, which can be used as boundary hedges. Lonicera nitida is splendid, but bids fair to become as monotonous as privet. Berbcris steno-phyUa, with its long festoons of bead-like flowers in early spring, and Olearia Haastii, the July-flowering Daisy Bush, .are two floral subjects that make good hedges.

For rapid growing, making a thick hedge six feet high in about three years, there is nothing finer than the evergreen Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa. Of course, all of these need feeding to make them grow well, and the hedge will not be well established for perhaps four or five years, so that its effect as a permanent feature can only be imagined at the time the garden is laid out, the kitchen garden, which will be in demand immediately the house is occupied, should be considered next. It needs a service path from the house, and for reasons of economy this should be made at the same time as the drive and main pathways. With a good path leading to it, the question of its nearness to the house is less material, and the vegetable plot can well be placed beyond a rose screen or a plantation of fruit trees.

In the vegetable garden one or two well-made paths are needed, but the side paths can be simple soil tracks.

The fruit garden is usually combined with the flower or vegetable garden, except on large estates, but it may be remarked here that the popular idea that an orchard with grass under the trees can be made at once is erroneous. The fact is that young fruit trees do not succeed if grown in grass, and the soil immediately round them must be cultivated for a number of yeara if the trees are to be healthy. Do not think, therefore, that a grassy orchard can be established immediately as a permanent feature.

The position of greenhouses and cold frames needs forethought. A greenhouse is not necessarily unsightly and can be worked into the scheme of a garden design without detriment to the general effect, but frames should always be screened in some way.

The flower garden, in a plot of limited size, will occupy the part, of the garden in front of the house, and that immediately accessible from drawing-room or lounge doors, or visible from house windows. Its treatment must depend on the amount of time the owner has to give to it or the amount of skilled labour that he can employ.

A garden of flowering shrubs, with the addition of such perennial plants as need little attention, can be arranged without difficulty if the owner has not much spare time. A gardener to cut the turf once a week, and clean the borders occasionally from weeds, would be all the help required. Such a garden can include fruit trees, roses, shrubs, a lily pool, and quite a number of perennial flowers.

Grass is a feature which demands constant attention, since it must be rolled and cut regularly. A compromise where labour is scarce and a large area of grass is wanted, is to leave it unmown, and only have it cut with a scythe two or three times during the summer. A strip three or four feet wide near the shrub borders could be kept mown to make a dry walk, and the long grass might be planted with spring and autumn flowering bulbs. These would naturalize and increase, so long as the leaves were not mown down until they had turned brown.

Treatment of the Rectangular Plot a semi-detached house, the garden to be designed usually takes the form of a rectangular plot back and front, with a long side passage. The passage is frequently neglected and might be made more attractive if it were regarded as part of the garden, instead of merely an entrance for tradesmen.

It is usually windswept, and for this reason a screen of some sort is needed-Sometimes it is possible to grow ferns, Solomons seal, and similar shade-loving plants in the shady passage at the side of the house. Bulbs in spring, and ivy for permanent effects, are also useful when planting such difficult parts of the garden.

The rectangular plot can be divided into two portions, using a screen of roses, a pergola, or even a simple barrier of cordon fruit trees as a division. The portion farther from the house makes a very charming formal garden, where this feature is liked. It is worth noting that though in the large garden formality near the house to conform to the lines of the architecture, and informality where the house extends to the wide open spaces, is the general rule, in the case of a small garden this rule can occasionally be reversed with good effect.

In a small garden the chief problem is to introduce something that will give it indi-viduality and character. A novelty that can be introduced to the flower borders is a circular recess, with specimens of topiary work These would also give height to the design.

Another problem is the hiding of necessary but ugly features. For instance, if the far end of the plot is a kitchen garden, the service path can lead to it behind the border, so as to keep an unbroken sweep of lawn between the house and borders.

To summarize the main features in good garden design, the following points are essential:

1. The design should be simple for moderate-sized gardens. Avoid any attempt at planting specimen trees or shrubs in lawns and borders. Beware of fussi-ness.

2. Make certain what flowers and plants will be likely to succeed in your garden before you commence any planting. The more you study the likes and dislikes of your plants, the more likelihood you have of success.

3. Carry the lines of the house into the design and planting of the garden.

4. Choose garden ornaments which har-monize with the architecture of the house.

5. Paths should allow two people to walk abreast, and material used should bear relation to the walls of the house.

6. During the winter months we spend most of the time indoors; therefore consider the %iews as seen from the windows, and specially their probable appearance in mid-winter.

7. Trees should be bronght into the picture as planting is done. A green background of trees or shrubs throws into relief the colourful flower border.

8. Do not try to cultivate more than you can conveniently manage with the labour available.

9. Do not at. First attempt to copy exactly any particular garden you may have admired. It may not be suitable for your own garden. Try to be original.