This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
If the lines of walks in a garden are ungraceful and inartistic, it is. not likely in other respects it will be an example of good design. But even supposing it were so, the circumstances of the walks being entirely opposed to this would sadly mar the general effect. There certainly is something anomalous in the fact that the eye which can appreciate, and would not for a moment tolerate other than the beautiful, in a building, in furniture, in ornament, in dress, should yet day after day endure forms in flower-beds, and lines of walks in gardens of the most tasteless and common-place character. A fundamental rule in determining the direction of a walk is that some apparent cause must always exist for every deviation from a right line. Mere curves in walks for which no reason is assigned, are unmeaning and absurd, and exemplify the worst possible taste.
The practice of placing a resting place, or covered seats at any given points in a walk commanding a pleasing or particular view, is a common one, and may with propriety be occasionally followed, for as the practice is a species of trick, it will, like all other tricks, if frequently played off, disgust rather than please. It implies a degree of compulsion, and we never truly enjoy anything which we are compelled to do. Where pleasing objects or distant scenes can be commanded, they should if possible be brought into view as a matter of course; the pedestrian ought not to feel that he is brought to any particular spot for the mere purpose of being shown something, but that the several beauties which delight him are the natural concomitants of the locality.
Even width of walks is a matter of importance in the general appearance of a garden. If too wide they reduce its apparent size, and give a bare appearance; and on the other hand, if too narrow, they are mean looking and inconvenient. In gardens of tolerable extent, the walks should not be much less than six feet wide; but there must ever appear a degree of relationship between the size of the garden, the extent of lawn and shrubberies, and the breadth of the walks. And there will always be found to exist a certain relative proportion between them, which should be adhered to if an harmonious effect is to be produced. The degree of convexity of a walk adds much to or detracts from its good effect. They are too often rendered both unsightly and inconvenient by the excess of this. To such an extent is it sometimes carried that the only part where one can walk with any degree of comfort is on the extreme edge. And then the Bides are usually of a corresponding depth, presenting for several months after every periodical" edging" a harsh line of bare earth.
The walk which has the best appearance, other circumstances being equal, is one that is not higher in the middle than the grass margin at its sides, and where those margins are not more than half an inch deep and bare earth not perceptible.
It is important to bear in mind that the repose of a garden will be in a great measure destroyed, and its apparent extent much lessened if the walks are allowed to be conspicous in the general scenery. Though a bold curve of walk with its appropriate appendages forms a pleasing and effective interlude, the walks, as a whole, must be kept subordinate.