It is no unusual thing to see the owner of a neat cottage make himself perfectly ridiculous by the way in which he lays out the walk from the street to his front door. There is a prevailing opinion that such walks should be curved ones, and gentlemen, often otherwise shrewd and intelligent, place themselves without question in the hands of some self-styled "garden architect," and thus manage to make themselves the laughing stock of a neighborhood. There was a well marked instance of this in a garden occupying a block in almost the center of Jersey City, where a man pretending to have a full knowledge of the subject, induced the proprietor to have a walk running about one hundred yards from the street to the house, made so curved that its length was nearly twice that distance. It was hard on the butcher's and grocer's boys, and it was said that even book-peddlers and sewing-machine agents, and lightning-rod men, looked ruefully at it and left him in peace. Some old authority on this subject says, that there "never should be any deviation from a straight line unless from some real or apparent cause." So if curved lines are insisted on, a tree, rock, or building must be placed at the bend as a reason for going around such obstacles. It will be evident to any one who reflects upon the matter, that a curved walk running a distance of a hundred yards or so from the street to the house, across an unplanted lawn, is utterly absurd. All short foot-walks from the street to the house should be straight, entering from the street at as near right angles as possible, and leading direct to the front door. There should be no necessity for a carriage road to the front entrance of a house, unless it is distant at least 100 feet from the street, and then a drive is best made by having an entrance at each side of the lot, as given in figure 4, presuming that the width of the ground is 500 feet, and the distance from street to the front door is 150 feet. Even here the foot-walk should be direct. The width of the roads or walks must be governed by the extent of the grounds. For carriageway the width should not be less than ten feet, and for foot-walks, five feet. Nothing is more annoying than to have a shower-bath in early morning from the dew from an overhanging branch in your narrow walk. We often see gardens of considerable pretentions where the walks are not more than three feet wide, where it is utterly impossible for two persons to walk abreast without getting their dresses torn or faces scratched by overhanging branches. Besides, it argues a narrowness in the owner, particularly if the grounds are at all extensive, and looks as if he were determined to cultivate every available foot of land. Of course it is another matter when the garden plot is limited to the width of a city lot, (20 or 25 feet); then such economy of space is perfectly excusable. The character of the soil must in a great measure determine the manner of making the road. Every one must have noticed that after a heavy rain, un-paved streets in some districts remain next to impassable for many hours, while in others, after the same amount of rain, the roads will seem firm and comparatively dry. In the former all carriage roads, and even foot-walks, to have any satisfaction from them, should have their foundations formed something like that shown in figure 5; this gives thorough drainage for the water at each side, and a depth of from one foot at center to two feet on sides of rubble stone and gravel to form the bed of the road or walk; but in sandy or gravelly soils, through which the water passes quickly, no such expense is necessary, as an equally good road may be made by five. or six inches of gravel. In foot-walks on such soils, I have found that three or four inches of gravel mixed with one fourth its bulk of cement to "bind," when watered and well rolled, makes an excellent smooth walk, and one in which, because of its hardness, there is no trouble with weeds.
Fig. 4. - Approach To A House - Drive And Path.
Fig. 5. - Section Of Road With Drain Each Side.