Types of Ground

When attempting to vary the forms of surface on which the gardening is to be done, the attention falls on the three basic forms: the plane, the concave, and the convex surfaces. Convex and Concave surfaces will offer more variety themselves, then that which is afforded by a plane.

Great care is taken to avoid working on a perfect plane when designing the surfaces for park grounds or residential purposes. The idea is still to provide uniform swell and depression though. If the plane is broken by a series of small hillocks, the appearance could be fatal. For small areas, the use of a concave surface is normally best. From any point within a concavity the whole surface is visible. This is not true of a convexity; and a perfectly flat surface will seem rather bland, unless given some bold and striking treatment.

Thomas Wheatly, in 1770, noted the following advice:
"In made ground the connection is, perhaps, the principal consideration. A swell which wants it is but a heap; a hollow but a hole; and both appear artificial. Such shapes should be contiguous as most readily unite; and the actual division between them should be anxiously concealed. If a swell descends upon a level; if a hollow sinks from it, the level is an abrupt termination, and a little rim marks it distinctly. To cover that rim a short sweep at the foot of the swell, a small rotundity at the entrance of the hollow, must be interposed."

These cautions are worth attention, because the slightest differences in ground surface are obvious and can be sensitive to the beholder. Broken ground creates an evident and spicy look, creating a development for the picturesque!

Sloping grounds offer a value all their own, but do require a special treatment to get effective utilization. There are two specific opportunities for the gardener with sloping grounds, then in any other setting.

Slope offers diversity in the surface, and it also creates an advantageous display for many planters. Even the most gentle of slopes can be emphasized with proper treatments, making them appear to be steep declivities.

The first step is determining the treatment of the ground itself. Crete small irregularities, by placing a swell, here and there, that rises up abruptly, and then falls gradually down the hill. This part of the declivity will be steeper than the slop, giving the desired appearance.

This kind of variety is often sought after on a surface that is flat and featureless. A slope provides a suitable location to dispose of rocks, bother because they are needed to hold the hillside against washing rains, and because they will appear better here than on level ground.

If the rocks that form the hillside are obviously misplaced, it is best to disguise them. They can be hidden with grasses, shrubs, or trailing vines. All of these will look lovely if allowed to run down the side of a bank.

Water always adds a pleasant and finishing touch to a garden. An addition of a bubbling fountain,  a bubbling brook, or a cool and quiet pond with a mirror like surface, all adds a stunning  and soothing aspect. These are delightful resources as well to the gardener.

Water has many pleasing and wonderful effect unto itself, but it also provides the opportunity for growing many species and varieties of the most beautiful plants.
There are many simple things you can do to a garden, even with unpleasant grounds, to make it beautiful and appealing!