This section is from the book "Beautiful Gardens - How To Make Them And Maintain Them", by Walter P. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Beautiful Gardens: How To Make And Maintain Them.
We cannot very well think of a lawn without at the same time thinking of its surroundings. The material and the mechanism for making the lawn may be perfect, but it will not give its full effect unless its boundaries are skirted by flowers and shrubs. A flat, level expanse of grass, stretching away unbroken and unbounded, is apt to appear tame and unfinished. Give it support at the outskirts, with due regard to the sky line and the outer view, and it serves its fullest purpose.
The illusion of increased area and enlarged view is strengthened by making the surface somewhat undulating. This will not suit the croquet player, but pastimes and the principles of landscape gardening cannot always be made to harmonise.
Remember that in speaking of lawns allusion is made to a real expanse of grass, not to the patches of turf which serve as a foil to flower beds, or as "verges" to walks. We want this cool, refreshing base for our beds undoubtedly, but we also want a lawn proper - a stretch of turf on which family and friends can foregather. Do not cut this piece up into patchwork with beds. Rather put belts of shrubs, flower beds, or herbaceous borders, quite on the outskirts. By this plan a restful and yet beautiful effect will be produced.
Fig. Rose Alister Stella Gray on a stump. This plant was in bloom from May to Mid-December in the authors garden.
With the exception of one or two breaks for ingress (which may be arched), or for the sake of a vista, the lawn may, if desired, be completely belted, but the treatment should vary. For example, one portion of the "surround" may be a bay of Rhododendrons, another a border of herbaceous plants, a third a large bed of pillar Clematises and stumps covered with Roses, a fourth a bed of Tea Roses or Carnations, a fifth a bank of shrubs. Here are a few detailed suggestions:
So exquisitely beautiful is a good bed of Carnations, with its silvery leafage and glorious blooms, that an effort must be made to include one. Let the ground be thoroughly prepared in winter, sturdy plants put out 15 inches apart in March, and success is almost certain to follow.
Staking will be required as the flower stems spindle up. Coil stakes, which circle and support the stem without tightly clasping it, are the best. Select varieties are given in the special chapter on Carnations.
This should be set in front of a group of evergreens, or in such a position that its winter bareness does not reveal an unsightly object. Trench and manure the soil generously in order to get good growth in the plants, and swift effect. With proper cultivation, a fully furnished border can be had in six months. Good kinds will be found in another chapter.