How very seldom it is that the home builder gives the same thought and consideration to his outdoor home surroundings that he gives to the interior of his home ! Do we not enter a man's home the moment we set foot on the property, and not, as generally accepted, when we cross the threshold ?
There are many important reasons for the careful planning of the home grounds and I would lay particular stress on these: The greater enjoyment of our surroundings; The expression of taste and personality; The enjoyment of others; The uplift of the community; The economy of execution.
To get the greatest amount of enjoyment out of our home surroundings from a purely practical standpoint the drives, the walks and other utilitarian features should be carefully planned in their relation to the house. Much thought should also be given to the location and arrangement of the garage, stable, chicken houses, and other buildings apart from the main house.
From an esthetic standpoint an even greater amount of thought should be given to the accentuating, through the correct framing of any architectural features of the house (Fig. 1); to screening out unsightly views; to the establishing of vistas; and to the locating and planting of the gardens. Every tree and shrub, every plant and plantation, should bear a definite relation, one to the other, in the general scheme.
It is a very welcome thought that, as yet, the taste and refinement of the average home builder is not judged entirely by the exterior arrangement and adornment of his property. It is only when it is brought to his attention through some striking incident that the average man is brought to the realization that, to the majority of his fellows, the exterior appointments of the home stand for what he himself is. If these be cheap and tawdry he is judged to his prejudice, but if the arrangement is orderly and artistic he is credited accordingly.
It is essential, therefore, that our exterior surroundings reflect us truly. No matter how small the space, it is possible to beautify it. Among all the arts of design none is so varied in its application as that pertaining to landscape gardening. Every subject has surroundings which influence the treatment best suited to its needs; it may be the configuration of the ground, or the presence of Nature's gifts of woodland and water; it may be unattractive nearby scenes, or beautiful distant views; often, lacking all, we must create scenes within the boundaries.
The personal note continually enters into the design (Fig. 2). Some lean toward an arrangement that is stiff and formal, others to the flowing and graceful; some are partial to evergreens, others to deciduous trees and shrubs. In the floral adornment much opportunity is given for individual taste in the arrangement, the color scheme, and the seasons of bloom.
This is an unselfish reason for more careful planning and worthy of mention from that standpoint alone. Have some thought for your neighbor and the passerby. Surely such an opportunity is not to be overlooked, for of all pleasures none is to be compared with that which brings joy to the heart of others.
The owner who plans, builds and cultivates beautiful things is a benefactor, and in no channel of thought or activity is there greater or more satisfying response than in the creation of the beautiful in landscape design (Fig. 3), showing a well placed flowering specimen.