By a variation of the steps, much ingenuity can be introduced into the design of a terrace. Straight steps from the centre are noble and dignified where a mansion and grounds are being treated. They are less pleasing in the little garden. Solid stone steps, with stone vases (or lions) and formal balustrades, are out of place in most amateurs’ gardens. Where they are introduced, they should have five- or six-inch risers, and thirteen- to sixteen-inch treads. Where more than ten steps exist, a landing is advisable. A two-inch nosing and two-inch coping is generally used throughout.
But in, a circular landing where a seat can be placed, or a pair of twisting twin stairways, or ornamental tiled or bricked stairways, or hidden stairways disguised by creeper-covered screens, are types preferred to the heavy formality of stone balustrades and central stairways.
BEDS ON THE TERRACE
Small beds are sometimes included in the terrace layout. These must of necessity be rather formal, and should be planted with formal compact plants—bulbs in spring, tender bedding plants in summer, andin winter, for instance. The beds must not be too large, and ample space for walking round them is essential. Such beds are only to be regarded as “trimmings”; they are not an essential part of the garden planting scheme. The main object of the terrace is to be a viewpoint from which the garden can be appreciated. That is why any design must include one or more seats, placed either at the ends, or facing central steps, or on the stairway landings.
A SERIES OF TERRACES
A very steep slope on a garden site opens up the possibility of making a series of terraces, each divided from its neighbour by a retaining wall. Steps leading from one to the other will usually be a little less formal than those leading from the house doors, and their sides can well be planted with creeping subjects—Periwinkle, Pinks, Arabis, Thymes, etc while the balustrade may be omitted altogether.
Such terraced gardens suggest the use of each level for a different purpose. On a long gradual slope, the second terrace may be at a con-siderable distance from the house, and may be used perhaps as a games lawn. The players can then be watched from the upper terrace. A smooth, green games lawn does not shorten the vista as vivid carpet bedding does, if placed in the middle distance.
A series of terraced levels is of course very suitable for the garden which slopes upwards from the house. In such a case, the gardencan be placed on the highest terrace, where it will command a view of the whole garden, and also make a decorative feature seen from house windows.