In improving larger park-like grounds with varied hill and valley, and possibilities in the way of natural or artificial water views, it is always advisable to employ an experienced landscape gardener. He alone will be able to give each varied view its peculiar individual expression, and yet combine the whole so that a walk or drive over the place will present a pleasing and yet united succession of views. But the open space in front of the residence, more or less modified by undulations of the surface, was urged as an essential element of taste by A. J. Downing and others in Europe and America fifty years ago. As an example, Downing gives the home seat of the Van Rensselaer family, Fig. 86, and that of the Livingstons, Fig. 87.
Fig. 86. - Beaverwyck, the seat of Wm. P. Van Rensselaer, Esq.
In Fig. 86 the planting is all back of the lawn, but in Fig. 87 a single old tree is retained in the front with a high stem, showing it to be a relic of the primitive forest.
In laying out a large place, the expert will prove an essential helper, but the owner must decide, as a rule, on the healthfulness of the location, its accessibility, its capacity for improvement at a given cost, the fitness of the soil for tree-, shrub-, and grass-growing, the character of the water, and the social and other advantages. The preliminary chapters of this book will give hints on transplanting, pruning, and even the propagating, pruning, and management of shrubs, small fruits, and orchard
Aid will also be given by consulting books devoted to landscape gardening, such as those of Maynard, Kemp, Long, Bailey, and others.
Fig. 87. - The Manor of Livingston fruits.
A few general principles cover the leading essentials in such improvements, aside from the artistic blending of the landscape gardener. His services are often needed in the varied grouping adapted to varied elevations and slopes, the locating of the grass-plots, the preservation of vistas or outlooks in the direction of inviting views, the planning of roads and walks, securing natural effects at group borders by under growth, hiding undesirable views, and above all, giving his aid in selecting species that will give needed size and effects in all leading positions and prove absolutely hardy in the given climate. In this work of deciding on exact adaptation, a study of the oldest plantings in the near vicinity will often prove valuable in the selection of varieties and species.