It has seemed to the authors that there is a real need for a book which will sum up, in a compact way, the most definite principles of design as applied to Landscape Gardening. As in all subjects relating to the fine and applied arts, very definite principles, rather than laws exist, though they are not always as easy of demonstration as the laws of physics and mathematics.
"I confess that the great object of my ambition is not merely to produce a book of pictures, but to furnish some hints for establishing the fact, that true taste in landscape gardening, as well as in all the other polite arts, is not an accidental effect, operating on the outward senses, but an appeal to the understanding, which is able to compare, to separate, and to combine, the various external objects, and to trace them to some preexisting causes in the structure of the human mind." - Humphrey Repton.
That such principles exist is not a matter of common knowledge or opinion, if one may judge by the unscientific discussions of landscape gardening which at the present time are appearing in unprecedented numbers.
It cannot be denied that landscape has a distinctly emotional value, but book-discussions of this nature have always seemed futile to the authors. Though considerable in bulk, these books are of slight real value because of their unsystematic recording of principles, and limited range.
This book is based largely upon lectures offered in the department of landscape gardening at the University of Illinois. The subject of plant color and the theory of color planting is given to the public with some reluctance. In spite of much time and study it still seems inadequate. The subject is, however, presented from a new standpoint and it is hoped that other workers in the same field may make much further progress along the way here pointed out.
Through this book the terms landscape architect, landscape gardener, and landscape designer, have been used interchangeably. There are strong par-tizans for each of these appellations, who can see no good in the employment of the other two. In the voluminous articles published in support of these views, nothing has appeared so convincing as to prejudice the authors in favor of any definite and exclusive title. In fact they feel that bickering on matters of terminology where the subject matter is universally agreed upon is apt to denote a tendency to decadence, rather than to vigorous constructive work.
The authors are indebted to Professor J. C. Blair, Professor Charles Mulford Robinson, Professor H. B. Dorner, Mr. F. A. C. Smith, of the University of Illinois and Mr. G. R. Forbes, of New York, for their courtesy in allowing them to reproduce several of the photographs used as illustrations. Some of the illustrations, several of the plans, for instance, are copies made from the work of students at the University of Illinois. Some were redrawn, others were used exactly as presented. The drawings are the work of C. F. Kel-ley.