Among modern landscape gardeners the natural style of landscape adornment is divided into two somewhat distinct branches, and are designated the Beautiful and the Picturesque; and although frequently used in common, the desire is to separate or use them for strongly marked differences on the same estate. Thus the beautiful is made use of in embellishing the dress grounds, while the picturesque is considered the most appropriate for those natural forms whoso outlines are irregular, and in which no display of art is contemplated. The propriety of blending these two varieties of the same style has not met with very close consideration, or perhaps the sources from which they have evidently been derived have not received that "study to which they are entitled.

We like to go to the fountain-head of all subjects that are worthy of investigation, as the most likely mode to develop the hidden meanings that a succession of derivations either overlooks or casts aside; and although our theory in this case may be false, still it is likely to lead to other and perhaps better conclusions.

The natural style of landscape gardening is founded upon the teachings of nature - her examples and hints, assisted by a refined and cultivated taste, are the most productive of pleasing results.

If we study nature closely, we find the two forms of natural landscape adornment plainly illustrated, and we also find them blended in the most harmonious manner; the rough, jagged rock is not out of keeping with the graceful catenary curve of the drooping vine, nor the splintered and twisted oak with the helical curve of the twining vine; the peaceful lake harmonizes with its bold, rock-bound shores as gracefully as where its waters meet the closely shaven lawn, and the beautiful curve of the parabola described by failing water is not inappropriate to the wild gorge. It would appear reasonable that there should be some connecting links or graduations between the infinite beauty of natural curves, and the broken, irregular forms of the picturesque, and that the place of departure from one to the other should be from the straight line; but there are no straight lines in natural forms, no natural illustration of their existence, and we must therefore conclude that any form of construction in landscape art that deals with materials in their natural condition, and introduces the straight line, is at variance with the natural style of landscape adornment; and, however appropriate it might be in that style which is wholly artificial, a true course of reasoning would condemn it in one wholly natural.

The use of a natural curved line implies a high standard of beauty, as it expresses more beauty than a line of any other character. The eye curve of the common soi disant landscape gardener might be tolerated in the picturesque, but it is false both in principle and practice, and utterly worthless (excepting by guess work) on uneven ground, or on that which is thickly wooded; besides, in adopting any curve which is not a natural curve, we sacrifice the highest form of beauty. The lines of the "Beautiful" are derived from natural curves, and the beauty of natural curves differs only as one star differeth from another. They may be derided by being called mathematical; so are all lines and forms mathematical, and it is utterly impossible to produce any true style of landscape gardening that shall not be mathematical; a fact so apparent, that a further consideration of it in this light is unnecessary.

The use of curved lines of a natural form might be objected to among practical men as being difficult and expensive to lay out. Practical tests, however, show that a curve laid out by the eye is the most costly as well as the least satisfactory; one is known to'be correct and infinitely beautiful, the other carries with it a feeling of uncertainty, and can only approximate to true beauty. Although a curved line, which derives its exquisite grace from its natural model, is perfect in grace and beauty considered by itself, any use made of it that does not carry a good and sufficient reason with it, must be condemned when good taste is considered. That road is not beautiful which curves unnecessarily for the sake of the curve, and that which is already beautiful may easily be distorted and made positively disagreeable by the addition of a very beautiful feature. There should be in all departments of landscape art an expression of value, either of beauty, usefulness, or pleasure; whatever means nothing is much better dispensed with. The use of embellishments is good so far as they express a purpose; beyond that they only serve to point out an uneducated taste.

Artificial ornament or decorations, misapplied, are as false in landscape art as in architecture; they cease to be beautiful if the motive is not apparent.

Strongly as we would advocate the use of gracefully curved roads and walks on ornamental grounds, our disposition is to condemn all unmeaning uses of the curve. There is a grandeur in the single, long, graceful curve of an approach, that withers into insignificance the frittering reverses which a vulgar taste would work out from the line of grace and beauty. Like bold effects, or broad masses of light and shadow, the bold, free, running curve will make its impress; and our opinion would be, that he who seeks to gain long curves which plainly tell the story of their location, gains a point in which he will be sustained by variety, effect, and rare good taste.

In the use of the curve as a line of grace in ornamental roads, we must not overlook other inseparable conditions. The curved belt of smooth gravel is not wholly to display the beauty of alignment, or the contrast with the smooth green lawn; if this were all, it must be a failure. The leading feature of a road must be thoroughly practical, and until the highest degree of usefulness is expressed, it is folly to consider either beauty or ornament. The natural curves most applicable for use in the location of a road, are those which nature shows to bo best adapted to the passage of moving bodies, the principal ones being the circular, elliptical, and parabolic; but, as compound circular curves, practically considered, are identical with the last two, we should adopt them as combining the perfection of beauty and usefulness, and as displaying that graceful flow so essential to tasteful adornment; it is quite necessary to add, that even and regularly adjusted gradients are the only ones in keeping with such a line of road, the picturesque grades of rural roads and walks being inadmissible.

Our own disposition would be to abandon entirely the use of picturesque lines in road-making, as we can not see the philosophy or economy of building second rate roads through picturesque grounds. The pleasure in using a road decreases in proportion with its character, and if the lines of the beautiful are in keeping with the lines of the picturesque, why should they not be.preferred, more especially as they combine the practical and ornamental? Generally speaking, the improvement of picturesque grounds does not extend beyond roads and walks, and a few rustic embellishments, such as seats, bridges, etc; any other attempt to interfere with nature will not meet with success. Too little can scarcely be done to natural grounds, nor too much to the highly dressed grounds. There are but few examples of landscape adornment that rigidly adhere to either the beautiful or picturesque; numberless experimental attempts have been made combining both, always failures that mean nothing, and are generally produced by working up the picturesque and neglecting the beautiful until they meet on a common level; it is then difficult to distinguish between them.

In the hands of educated taste, the beautiful and picturesque can be harmoniously blended, and there may be any degree of excess of one over the other that is desirable; but he who can not appreciate the beautiful designs of nature, and has not good sense enough to let them alone, or aid her to complete them, lacks one of the qualifications of a landscape artist.