The great outdoors

When you consider the design of some period houses, the one thing that strikes you is the surprising lack of views of the garden in many of them. This is particularly the case in urban housing right into the Victorian era when in some cases the only view was down the side of the house to the distant flower bed.

In earlier times the land was crucial for growing seasonal food for all ranks in society: the humble cottager grew vegetables and fruit in the same way that great estates dedicated land and staff to cultivating walled kitchen gardens, hothouses and orangeries to provide food for their households.

Many sale particulars of the 18th and 19th centuries refer to ‘pleasure grounds’ where their owners could ‘take a turn’ during clement weather. Victorian travellers brought back new and exotic species of plants and trees, and gardening magazine began to emerge.

Today, gardens are more likely to focus on our recreational needs. Many of us regard the garden as another ‘room’ of the house and have built conservatories, patios and terraces to provide easy access to enjoy ‘the great outdoors’. Our gardens reflect our lifestyle and it’s not surprising therefore that most of us want to see our gardens from as many vantage points as possible.

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