When viewed by the passer-by in the street the planting around the house should be so arranged that it makes a natural frame for it and creates a composition for a picture. Regarded from this angle there should be background trees, trees and shrubbery flanking the sides along the edge of the plot, a green open lawn stretching forward to the street, some columnar-shaped trees or lacelike trees wisely placed to suggest the middle ground, and then a wall or low hedge with low plantings to make a foregound.
The background trees should be tall and mixed in character, so that their sky-line is not stiff and wall-like. The trees which run along the edge of the lot ought also to be varied in type. Low shrubs should fill in the spaces between their trunks, but as they come forward on the property they should be more scattered, lower and thinner, so that the neighboring property can be seen, and finally they should end, allowing a blended connection between the lawns on either side. There are some who advocate that the site should be completely walled in with shrubs or fences and separated entirely from the neighboring plots, but this is not quite in harmony with our traditions, and ought not to be carried to this individual exclusiveness, although the rear of the lot may be so screened in.
The green lawn should not be broken with flower-beds, for, taken at its largest, it is bound to be little, and nothing should be introduced to break it up. The windings of the front path may be such that clumps of low shrubbery and a few columnar trees, like cedars or Lombardy poplars, can be placed along its edge and produce a motif for the middle ground, like a moving silhouette against the elevation of the house as one passes by.
The building up of the foreground should be with some low planting over which one can look. The use of fence or wall is legitimate if it does not cut off the view. Gates are a little out of harmony with our American traditions, for they mean that they should be attended by a gatekeeper, a human tool that is quite extinct in the average home, and especially in the small one.