So far as the picture in the landscape is concerned, walks and drives are blemishes. Since they are necessary, however, they must form a part of the landscape design. They should be as few as possible, not only because they interfere with the artistic composition, but also because they are expensive to make and to maintain.
Most places have too many, rather than too few, walks and drives. Small city areas rarely need a driveway entrance, not even to the back door. The back yard in Fig. 39 illustrates this point. The distance from the house to the street on the back is about ninety feet, yet there is no driveway in the place. The coal and provisions are carried in; and, although the deliverymen may complain at first, they very soon accept the inevitable. It is not worth the while to maintain a drive in such a place for the convenience of truckmen and grocers. Neither is it often necessary to have a drive in the front yard if the house is within seventy-five or one hundred feet of the street. When a drive is necessary, it should enter, if possible, at the side of the residence, and not make a circle in the front lawn. This remark may not apply to areas of a half acre or more.
The drives and walks should be direct. They should go where they appear to go, and should be practically the shortest distances between the points to be reached. Figure 66 illustrates some of the problems connected with walks to the front door. A common type of walk is _a,_ and it is a nuisance. The time that one loses in going around the cameo-set in the center would be sufficient, if conserved, to lengthen a man's life by several months or a year. Such a device has no merit in art or convenience. Walk _b_ is better, but still is not ideal, inasmuch as it makes too much of a right-angled curve, and the pedestrian desires to cut across the corner. Such a walk, also, usually extends too far beyond the corner of the house to make it appear to be direct. It has the merit, however, of leaving the center of the lawn practically untouched. The curve in walk _d_ is ordinarily unnecessary unless the ground is rolling. In small places, like this, it is better to have a straight walk directly from the sidewalk to the house. In fact, this is true in nearly all cases in which the lawn is not more than forty to seventy-five feet deep. Plan _c_ is also inexcusable. A straight walk would answer every purpose better. Any walk that passes the house, and returns to it, _e,_ is inexcusable unless it is necessary to make a very steep ascent. If most of the traveling is in one direction from the house, a walk like _f_ may be the most direct and efficient. It is known as a direct curve, and is a compound of a concave and a convex curve.
It is essential that any service walk or drive, however long, should be continuous in direction and design from end to end. Figure 67 illustrates a long drive that contradicts this principle.
It is a series of meaningless curves. The reason for these curves is the fact that the drive was extended from time to time as new houses were added to the villa. The reader will easily perceive how all the kinks might be taken out of this drive and one direct and bold curve be substituted.
The question of drainage, curbing, and gutters.
Thorough drainage, natural or artificial, is essential to hard and permanent walks and drives. This point is too often neglected. On the draining and grading of residence streets a well-known landscape gardener, O.C. Simonds, writes as follows in "Park and Cemetery ":
[Illustration: Fig. 68. Treatment of walk and drive in a suburban region. There are no curbs.]
"The surface drainage is something that interests us whenever it rains or when the snow melts. It has been customary to locate catch-basins for receiving the surface water at street intersections. This arrangement causes most of the surface water from both streets to run past the crossings, making it necessary to depress the pavement, so that one must step down and up in going from one side of a street to the other, or else a passageway for the water must be made through the crossing. It may be said that a step down to the pavement and up again to the sidewalk at the street intersections is of no consequence, but it is really more elegant and satisfactory to have the walk practically continuous (Fig. 68). With the catch-basin at the corner, the stoppage of the inlet, or a great fall of rain, sometimes covers the crossing with water, so one must either wade or go out of his way. With catch-basins placed in the center of the blocks, or, if the blocks are long, at some distance from the crossing, the intersections can be kept relatively high and dry. Roadways are generally made crowning in the center so that water runs to the sides, but frequently the fall lengthwise of the roadway is less than it should be. City engineers are usually inclined to make the grade along the length of a street as nearly level as possible. Authorities who have given the subject of roads considerable study recommend a fall lengthwise of not less than one foot in one hundred and twenty-five, nor more than six feet in one hundred. Such grades are not always feasible, but a certain amount of variation in level can usually be made in a residence street which will make it much more pleasing in appearance, and have certain practical advantages in keeping the street dry. The water is usually confined to the edge of the pavement by curbing, which may rise anywhere from four to fourteen inches above the surface. This causes all the water falling on the roadway to seek the catch-basin and be wasted, excepting for its use in flushing the sewer. If the curbing, which is really unnecessary in most cases, were omitted, much of the surface water would soak into the ground between the sidewalk and the pavement, doing much good to trees, shrubs, and grass. The roots of the trees naturally extend as far, or farther, than their branches, and for their good the ground under the pavement and sidewalk should be supplied with a certain amount of moisture.
"The arrangement made for the removal of surface water from the street must also take care of the surplus water from adjacent lots, so there is a practical advantage in having the level of the street lower than that of the ground adjoining. The appearance of houses and home grounds is also much better when they are higher than the street, and for this reason it is usually desirable to keep the latter as low as possible and give the underground pipes sufficient covering to protect them from frost. Where the ground is high and the sewers very deep, the grades should, of course, be determined with reference to surface conditions only. It sometimes happens that this general arrangement of the grades of home grounds, which is desirable on most accounts, causes water from melting snow to flow over the sidewalk in the winter time, where it may freeze and be dangerous to pedestrians. A slight depression of the lot away from the sidewalk and then an ascent toward the house would usually remedy this difficulty, and also make the house appear higher. Sometimes, however, a pipe should be placed underneath the sidewalk to allow water to reach the street from inside of the lot line. The aim in surface drainage should always be to keep the traveled portions of the street in the most perfect condition for use. The quick removal of surplus water from sidewalks, crossings, and roadways will help insure this result."
These remarks concerning the curbings and hard edges of city streets may also be applied to walks and drives in small grounds. Figure 69, for example, shows the common method of treating the edge of a walk, by making a sharp and sheer elevation. This edge needs constant trimming, else it becomes unshapely; and this trimming tends to widen the walk. For general purposes, a border, like that shown in Fig. 70, is better. The sod rolls over until it meets the walk, and the lawn-mower is able to keep it in condition. If it becomes more or less rough and irregular, it is pounded down.
If it is thought necessary to trim the edges of walks and drives, then one of the various kinds of sod-cutters that are sold by dealers may be used for the purpose, or an old hoe may have its shank straightened and the corners of the blade rounded off, as shown in Fig. 71, and this will answer all purposes of the common sod-cutter; or, a sharp, straight-edged spade may sometimes be used. The loose overhanging grass on these edges is ordinarily cut by large shears made for the purpose.
Walks and drives should be laid in such direction that they will tend to drain themselves; but if it is necessary to have gutters, these should be deep and sharp at the bottom, for the water then draws together and tends to keep the gutter clean. A shallow and rounded brick or cobble gutter does not clean itself; it is very likely to fill with weeds, and vehicles often drive in it. The best gutters and curbs are now made of cement. Figure 72 shows a catch basin at the left of a walk or drive, and the tile laid underneath for the purpose of carrying away the surface water.
The best materials for the main walks are cement and stone flagging. In many soils, however, there is enough binding material in the land to make a good walk without the addition of any other material. Gravel, cinders, ashes, and the like, are nearly always inadvisable, for they are liable to be loose in dry weather and sticky in wet weather. In the laying of cement it is important that the walk be well drained by a layer of a foot or two of broken stone or brickbats, unless the walk is on loose and leachy land or in a frostless country.
In back yards it is often best not to have any well-defined walk. A ramble across the sod may be as good. For a back walk, over which delivery men are to travel, one of the very best means is to sink a foot-wide plank into the earth on a level with the surface of the sod; and it is not necessary that the walk be perfectly straight. These walks do not interfere with the work of the lawn-mower, and they take care of themselves. When the plank rots, at the expiration of five to ten years, the plank is taken up and another one dropped in its place. This ordinarily makes the best kind of a walk alongside a rear border. (Plate XI.) In gardens, nothing is better for a walk than tanbark.
The sides of walks and drives may often be planted with shrubbery. It is not necessary that they always have prim and definite borders. Figure 73 illustrates a bank of foliage which breaks up the hard line of a walk, and serves also as a border for the growing of flowers and interesting specimens. This walk is also characterized by the absence of high and hard borders. Figure 68 illustrates this fact, and also shows how the parking between the walk and the street may be effectively planted.