If carefully removed the old glass may be cut up and used again, thus reducing the outlay to the carpenter's time and a small amount of inexpensive material. Windows so treated have a character which at once redeems them from the commonplace.
With casement windows the large pane is never in keeping.
We may improve them in one of two ways, either by subdividing each casement into smaller panes of equal size throughout, or by removing the glass and substituting leaded lights.
The latter plan undoubtedly is the better, for the casement dates from a period when glass could not be made in large pieces, and had to be joined up with lead strips.
In deciding on such alterations one must study the general style of the house.
Most often it will be found that square panes give a better result than those of diamond shape. The latter rarely accord with modern architecture, though appropriate enough in some old cottage or Tudor residence.
The window-box may be commended as a cheap and simple device for adding to the good appearance of the house-front. Alas, how rarely we see quite the right thing! Errors of taste, taking the form of so-called " rustic " adornment or the use of gaudy tile work, have done much to discredit the window-box.
The best form of box is made of oak or teak, and may be left un-painted, as both woods are proof against rot.
If provided with a superstructure of light rods to frame the window completely, climbing plants may be made to wreathe it about, adding their blossom to that of the flowers below, and making a picture both from within and without.
With regard to the back premises, there is a rule for our guidance. If you cannot remove an eyesore the next best thing is to conceal it from view.
The kitchen offices, with their outlying annexes, the coal-house, dust-bin, and other necessary but not always sightly conveniences, too often form a background to the garden vista that could well be spared.
When this is the case a screen of trellis or hedging should be erected.
Access to the House
Houses differ greatly in the way access to the garden is arranged. Here are two examples which will cover many cases and should sufficiently explain the mode of screening just advocated.
In Fig. 6 the relative positions of sitting-room and kitchen are reversed.
The former, perhaps, is the better arrangement, as it enables one to divide off a small yard about the kitchen quarters, forming a boundary to the near end of the garden.
In the second arrangement this space becomes part of the garden, but has very little value for horticulture.
It may, however, be made the site of a rock garden for ferns,which thrive best in the absence of direct sunlight; or a conservatory may be erected against the house wall adjoining the sitting-room, in which success in plant culture will be in proportion to the amount of sunlight which the structure receives.
It is questionable whether glass-houses have any real decorative value when tacked on to the house back.
Some will prefer a verandah, which is always useful for shade or shelter, and as a support for flowering climbers.
The verandah may be a light structure of trellis and wood framing, which, when overgrown with creepers, will be effective for shade if not weather-proof; or it may be a more permanent structure built on to the house, in which case it is well to give it ample width, not only for securing the requisite amount of shade, but because a wide verandah may be made to serve the purpose of a supplementary room by the addition of glass screenwork or bamboo lattice blinds.
Fig. 4. By subdividing its glazing, a sash window can be greatly improved in appearance
In a long verandah part only may be treated in this way.
The Problems of the Back Garden
As suggested already, for the front entrance, the pergola may be used with equally good effect at the back, by bringing it up to the French window.
When well covered with growth it makes an ideal sitting - place, cool and shady, where one may command a view of flower and turf, and it will be the gardener's fault if this is not one of the best vistas he has to offer.
So varied are the problems connected with the house back, owing to differences of design in the house and its offices, that suggestions cannot be made to meet every possible case. Each house will provide its own set of conditions, which must be studied before any suggestions for improvements can be formulated. Happy the tenant who finds that his predecessor has done what is needful.
The aim in every case should be to eliminate the unsightly, and to connect house and garden so that one merges into the other.
When the garden slopes away from the house, the introduction of a low terrace wall will make a pleasing feature at the house back, giving a point of vantage from which to look out upon the garden, and opportunity for comfortable seating accommodation. The terrace so created should be of ample width.
Fig .5.The kitchen and offices may be concealed attractively and effectively from the garden by means of a trellis level with the drawing-room window
It may be covered, wholly or in part, with a light wood framing, as indicated in the illustration, not for shade, but for the purpose of growing climbing roses and other fragrant and beautiful plants, the presence of which near the house is always welcome.
The construction of such a terrace is a comparatively simple and inexpensive matter. The wall may be built of brick burrs, rubble, or any rough stone that can be picked up in the builder's yard. It requires no mortar and need not be sunk more than six inches below the ground-level.
Its height should be, say, six inches above the level taken at the base of the house wall.
Fig. 7. For a garden that slopes away from the house, a terrace is advisable. It should be wide enough to afford ample seating accommodation yard and offices from the garden. Here the positions of kitchen
Fig. 6. Another method by which a trellis may serve to screen the and drawing-room are reversed
The space between wall and house may be filled up with brick rubbish and then gravelled.
If the aspect is suitable, Alpine plants may be grown in the crannies of the terrace wall.