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History of Early American Landscape Design

Difference between revisions of "Yard"

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==History==
 
==History==
  
In American landscape vocabulary the term  
+
In American landscape vocabulary the term yard connoted an enclosed space, generally contiguous to a building and associated with specific activities related to that building. Hence, the term was often paired with another describing its adjacent structure or use, as in the case of barnyard, stable yard, churchyard, farmyard, poultry yard, kitchen yard, prison yard, cow yard, shipyard, and chunkyard (see also Fence, Hedge, and Wall).  
yard connoted an enclosed space, generally  
 
contiguous to a building and associated with  
 
specific activities related to that building.  
 
Hence, the term was often paired with  
 
another describing its adjacent structure or  
 
use, as in the case of barnyard, stable yard,  
 
churchyard, farmyard, poultry yard, kitchen  
 
yard, prison yard, cow yard, shipyard, and  
 
chunkyard (see also Fence, Hedge, and Wall).  
 
  
A yard’s layout was dependent upon its  
+
A yard’s layout was dependent upon its particular function and upon such factors as lot boundaries. Generally, however, yards were geometrically regular. J. B. Bordley noted in 1801 that on paper an octagonal farmyard was pleasing to the eye, but that a rectangular shape small enough to attend easily to the animals was, in reality, more practical. While images suggest that yard topography was often relatively level, yards for livestock were sometimes designed with a grade for drainage or runoff, as Samuel Deane (1790) suggested. The surface treatment of yards varied, as indicated by descriptions of southern paved yards and by William Bartram’s account (1791) of Native American swept yards in Cuscowilla, Ga. As early as 1683, dwelling-house yards were described to be turfed or seeded with grass. These lawns, such as the “grass plot” in the yard of Pennsbury Manor, near Philadelphia, continued to be the subject of both horticultural advice and visitors’ admiration through the mid-nineteenth century.  
particular function and upon such factors as  
 
lot boundaries. Generally, however, yards  
 
were geometrically regular. J. B. Bordley  
 
noted in 1801 that on paper an octagonal  
 
farmyard was pleasing to the eye, but that a  
 
rectangular shape small enough to attend  
 
easily to the animals was, in reality, more  
 
practical. While images suggest that yard  
 
topography was often relatively level, yards  
 
for livestock were sometimes designed with  
 
a grade for drainage or runoff, as Samuel  
 
Deane (1790) suggested. The surface treatment  
 
of yards varied, as indicated by  
 
descriptions of southern paved yards and by  
 
William Bartram’s account (1791) of Native  
 
American swept yards in Cuscowilla, Ga. As  
 
early as 1683, dwelling-house yards were  
 
described to be turfed or seeded with grass.  
 
These lawns, such as the “grass plot” in the  
 
yard of Pennsbury Manor, near Philadelphia,  
 
continued to be the subject of both horticultural  
 
advice and visitors’ admiration through  
 
the mid-nineteenth century.  
 
  
Despite its simple form, the American  
+
Despite its simple form, the American yard was a complex social space in terms of its function as an activity area and its relation to landscape design. Couplings of the word, such as family yard, door yard, exotic yard, foreyard, and backyard, imply the variety of ways in which these enclosed spaces were used while their ubiquity suggests their significance in the American landscape. In warm climates or warm seasons, the yard adjacent to a dwelling served as an extension of the house for activities as wide ranging as food preparation and socializing. Images of farms and rural residences, such as the naïve view of a Pennsylvania farm with many fences [Fig. 1], depict how the space adjacent to a house (described variously as front yard, family yard, and courtyard) was demarcated from other working areas and from the landscape. Other images represent the yard as a buffer in more densely settled towns and cities, providing separation from neighboring houses and streets. This idea is illustrated in Rufus Hathaway’s painting of Joshua Winsor’s residence [Fig. 2] and Charles Bulfinch’s view of the Elias Hasket Derby House [Fig. 3], both in Massachusetts.  
yard was a complex social space in terms of  
 
its function as an activity area and its relation  
 
to landscape design. Couplings of the  
 
word, such as family yard, door yard, exotic  
 
yard, foreyard, and backyard, imply the variety  
 
of ways in which these enclosed spaces  
 
were used while their ubiquity suggests their  
 
significance in the American landscape. In  
 
warm climates or warm seasons, the yard  
 
adjacent to a dwelling served as an extension  
 
of the house for activities as wide ranging  
 
as food preparation and socializing.  
 
Images of farms and rural residences, such  
 
as the naïve view of a Pennsylvania farm  
 
with many fences [Fig. 1], depict how the  
 
space adjacent to a house (described variously  
 
as front yard, family yard, and courtyard)  
 
was demarcated from other working areas and from the landscape. Other images  
 
represent the yard as a buffer in more  
 
densely settled towns and cities, providing  
 
separation from neighboring houses and  
 
streets. This idea is illustrated in Rufus  
 
Hathaway’s painting of Joshua Winsor’s residence  
 
[Fig. 2] and Charles Bulfinch’s view of  
 
the Elias Hasket Derby House [Fig. 3], both  
 
in Massachusetts.  
 
  
Yards were seen as an extension of a house’s  
+
Yards were seen as an extension of a house’s architectural façade, and together they often registered in descriptions as an outward and public presentation of the dwelling’s occupants. References in eighteenth-century travel accounts and nineteenth-century periodicals include comments about the appearance of a “well-kept” yard as a sign of its owner’s prosperity and responsible management. In 1827, for example, the New England Farmer noted that a “slovenly door yard is a pretty infallible indication of a slovenly farmer.”
architectural façade, and together they often  
 
registered in descriptions as an outward and  
 
public presentation of the dwelling’s occupants.  
 
References in eighteenth-century travel  
 
  
accounts and nineteenth-century periodicals
+
Yards were vital elements of institutional landscapes, including the State House in Philadelphia; Harvard College [Fig. 4]; Princeton College [Fig. 5]; and the College of William and Mary. The term “courtyard” was used for an area enclosed on two sides by buildings and on another by vegetation, as at the Georgia Orphan House Academy [Fig. 6] and a nestling of the space within a building at the Governor’s House in New Bern, N.C. [Fig. 7]. These spaces created a visual frame for the buildings and also provided places for public gatherings, as suggested by the 1705 notice for burning grievances in the yard of the Capitol of Williamsburg. In addition, they served as areas of social interaction, as seen in numerous projects depicting promenaders in the State House Yard in Philadelphia, or, as in a 1743 engraving, showing students sporting on the grounds at Harvard College [Fig. 8]. Descriptions and representations of prisons, hospitals, and asylums reveal that the enclosed yard provided a secure area for patients or inmates to take fresh air and exercise. This function is illustrated in Robert Waln, Jr.’s 1825 description of the Friends Asylum for the Insane, in Charles Bulfinch’s 1818 plan of two wings added to Pleasant Hill to create McLean Asylum [Fig. 9], and in John Hawks’s 1773 design for a prison in Edenton, N.C. [Fig. 10].  
include comments about the appearance of a
 
“well-kept” yard as a sign of its owner’s prosperity
 
and responsible management. In 1827,  
 
for example, the New England Farmer noted that  
 
a “slovenly door yard is a pretty infallible indication
 
of a slovenly farmer.
 
  
Yards were vital elements of institutional
+
The relationship of the terms “yard” and “garden” is an ambiguous one in the vocabulary of the American landscape. Treatise authors were inconsistent in their explanations of the distinction between these two terms. William Forsyth, for example, in 1802 distinguished a garden as being situated near the house as opposed to a farmyard, which was located at a further distance from the house, although still close enough for direct supervision of laborers.1 Bordley, on the other hand, writing at almost the same time, noted that a garden within the area near a house was a “Family-yard.” In popular American usage, these terms also appear to have been used inconsistently. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, numerous writers referred to a site’s “garden and yard,” whereas advertisements and deeds often listed the garden and yard separately.This distinction between more intensively cultivated garden space (located generally near the house) and the more utilitarian yard area is exemplified in the 1810 description that accompanied a sketch of Belfield. This drawing clearly separated the fenced “yard” surrounding Peale’s house from his paled and elaborately planted “garden,” located to the rear. Several images of domestic settings further suggest a distinction between the two types of spaces. Views, such as Ralph Earl’s 1792 portrait of the Chief Justice and Mrs. Ellsworth [Fig. 11], depict white painted fences immediately adjacent to the house, while red paint decorated the more distant fences (see Fence). Unfortunately no text references exist in which the term “yard” is associated with such images. This explicit visual demarcation of the two spaces may have been representative of a distinction between utilitarian
landscapes, including the State House in  
+
yards (of the sort described in other sources as barn yard, hog yard, etc.) and ornamental yard spaces. Alternatively, the different treatment of the fences may represent properties whose owners would not have claimed to have a “garden” at all; in this case, the images might reflect a distinction between yard and the surrounding agricultural landscapes of pastures, meadows, and field.
Philadelphia; Harvard College [Fig. 4]; Princeton
 
College [Fig. 5]; and the College of William
 
and Mary. The term “courtyard” was used for
 
an area enclosed on two sides by buildings
 
and on another by vegetation, as at the Geor
 
  
 +
A gradual shift in the distinction between yard and garden took place in the first half of the nineteenth century. Martha Ogle Forman’s 1824 account of Newark, N.J., and articles, such as that in the New England Farmer (1837) about “Front Yards,” mark an increasingly common pattern for private residential landscaping in which flower borders, shrubbery, and gardens are included within the space that was designated as a yard. Such designers as A. J. Downing (1849) and William H. Ranlett (1849) advocated that the yard should complement a residence, and each produced plans that became models for early suburbias. Their writings, particularly those disseminated through periodicals, were critical in the replication of such designs throughout America.
  
gia Orphan House Academy [Fig. 6] and a
+
-- ''Elizabeth Kryder-Reid''
nestling of the space within a building at the
 
Governor’s House in New Bern, N.C. [Fig. 7].
 
These spaces created a visual frame for the
 
buildings and also provided places for public
 
gatherings, as suggested by the 1705 notice
 
for burning grievances in the yard of the Capitol
 
of Williamsburg. In addition, they served as
 
areas of social interaction, as seen in numerous
 
projects depicting promenaders in the
 
State House Yard in Philadelphia, or, as in a
 
1743 engraving, showing students sporting on
 
the grounds at Harvard College [Fig. 8].
 
Descriptions and representations of prisons, hospitals, and asylums reveal that the
 
enclosed yard provided a secure area for
 
patients or inmates to take fresh air and exercise.
 
This function is illustrated in Robert
 
Waln, Jr.’s 1825 description of the Friends Asylum
 
for the Insane, in Charles Bulfinch’s 1818
 
plan of two wings added to Pleasant Hill to
 
create McLean Asylum [Fig. 9], and in John
 
Hawks’s 1773 design for a prison in Edenton,
 
 
 
N.C. [Fig. 10].
 
The relationship of the terms “yard” and
 
“garden” is an ambiguous one in the vocabulary
 
of the American landscape. Treatise
 
authors were inconsistent in their explanations
 
of the distinction between these two
 
terms. William Forsyth, for example, in 1802
 
distinguished a garden as being situated near the house as opposed to a farmyard,
 
which was located at a further distance from
 
the house, although still close enough for
 
direct supervision of laborers.1 Bordley, on
 
the other hand, writing at almost the same
 
time, noted that a garden within the area
 
near a house was a “Family-yard.” In popular
 
American usage, these terms also appear
 
to have been used inconsistently. Throughout
 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
 
numerous writers referred to a site’s
 
“garden and yard,” whereas advertisements
 
and deeds often listed the garden and yard
 
separately. This distinction between more
 
intensively cultivated garden space (located
 
generally near the house) and the more utilitarian
 
yard area is exemplified in the 1810
 
description that accompanied a sketch of
 
Belfield. This drawing clearly separated the
 
fenced “yard” surrounding Peale’s house
 
from his paled and elaborately planted “garden,”
 
located to the rear. Several images of
 
domestic settings further suggest a distinction
 
between the two types of spaces. Views,
 
such as Ralph Earl’s 1792 portrait of the
 
Chief Justice and Mrs. Ellsworth [Fig. 11],
 
depict white painted fences immediately
 
adjacent to the house, while red paint decorated
 
the more distant fences (see Fence).
 
Unfortunately no text references exist in
 
which the term “yard” is associated with
 
such images. This explicit visual demarcation
 
of the two spaces may have been repre
 
 
 
 
 
sentative of a distinction between utilitarian
 
yards (of the sort described in other sources
 
as barn yard, hog yard, etc.) and ornamental
 
yard spaces. Alternatively, the different
 
treatment of the fences may represent
 
properties whose owners would not have
 
claimed to have a “garden” at all; in this
 
case, the images might reflect a distinction
 
between yard and the surrounding agricul
 
 
 
 
 
tural landscapes of pastures, meadows, and
 
field.
 
 
 
A gradual shift in the distinction between
 
yard and garden took place in the first half
 
of the nineteenth century. Martha Ogle Forman’s
 
1824 account of Newark, N.J., and
 
articles, such as that in the New England
 
Farmer (1837) about “Front Yards,” mark an
 
increasingly common pattern for private residential landscaping in which flower borders,
 
shrubbery, and gardens are included
 
within the space that was designated as a
 
yard. Such designers as A. J. Downing (1849)
 
and William H. Ranlett (1849) advocated
 
that the yard should complement a residence,
 
and each produced plans that
 
became models for early suburbias. Their
 
writings, particularly those disseminated
 
through periodicals, were critical in the replication
 
of such designs throughout America.
 
 
 
EK-R
 
 
 
  
 
==Texts==
 
==Texts==

Revision as of 15:49, February 8, 2016

History

In American landscape vocabulary the term yard connoted an enclosed space, generally contiguous to a building and associated with specific activities related to that building. Hence, the term was often paired with another describing its adjacent structure or use, as in the case of barnyard, stable yard, churchyard, farmyard, poultry yard, kitchen yard, prison yard, cow yard, shipyard, and chunkyard (see also Fence, Hedge, and Wall).

A yard’s layout was dependent upon its particular function and upon such factors as lot boundaries. Generally, however, yards were geometrically regular. J. B. Bordley noted in 1801 that on paper an octagonal farmyard was pleasing to the eye, but that a rectangular shape small enough to attend easily to the animals was, in reality, more practical. While images suggest that yard topography was often relatively level, yards for livestock were sometimes designed with a grade for drainage or runoff, as Samuel Deane (1790) suggested. The surface treatment of yards varied, as indicated by descriptions of southern paved yards and by William Bartram’s account (1791) of Native American swept yards in Cuscowilla, Ga. As early as 1683, dwelling-house yards were described to be turfed or seeded with grass. These lawns, such as the “grass plot” in the yard of Pennsbury Manor, near Philadelphia, continued to be the subject of both horticultural advice and visitors’ admiration through the mid-nineteenth century.

Despite its simple form, the American yard was a complex social space in terms of its function as an activity area and its relation to landscape design. Couplings of the word, such as family yard, door yard, exotic yard, foreyard, and backyard, imply the variety of ways in which these enclosed spaces were used while their ubiquity suggests their significance in the American landscape. In warm climates or warm seasons, the yard adjacent to a dwelling served as an extension of the house for activities as wide ranging as food preparation and socializing. Images of farms and rural residences, such as the naïve view of a Pennsylvania farm with many fences [Fig. 1], depict how the space adjacent to a house (described variously as front yard, family yard, and courtyard) was demarcated from other working areas and from the landscape. Other images represent the yard as a buffer in more densely settled towns and cities, providing separation from neighboring houses and streets. This idea is illustrated in Rufus Hathaway’s painting of Joshua Winsor’s residence [Fig. 2] and Charles Bulfinch’s view of the Elias Hasket Derby House [Fig. 3], both in Massachusetts.

Yards were seen as an extension of a house’s architectural façade, and together they often registered in descriptions as an outward and public presentation of the dwelling’s occupants. References in eighteenth-century travel accounts and nineteenth-century periodicals include comments about the appearance of a “well-kept” yard as a sign of its owner’s prosperity and responsible management. In 1827, for example, the New England Farmer noted that a “slovenly door yard is a pretty infallible indication of a slovenly farmer.”

Yards were vital elements of institutional landscapes, including the State House in Philadelphia; Harvard College [Fig. 4]; Princeton College [Fig. 5]; and the College of William and Mary. The term “courtyard” was used for an area enclosed on two sides by buildings and on another by vegetation, as at the Georgia Orphan House Academy [Fig. 6] and a nestling of the space within a building at the Governor’s House in New Bern, N.C. [Fig. 7]. These spaces created a visual frame for the buildings and also provided places for public gatherings, as suggested by the 1705 notice for burning grievances in the yard of the Capitol of Williamsburg. In addition, they served as areas of social interaction, as seen in numerous projects depicting promenaders in the State House Yard in Philadelphia, or, as in a 1743 engraving, showing students sporting on the grounds at Harvard College [Fig. 8]. Descriptions and representations of prisons, hospitals, and asylums reveal that the enclosed yard provided a secure area for patients or inmates to take fresh air and exercise. This function is illustrated in Robert Waln, Jr.’s 1825 description of the Friends Asylum for the Insane, in Charles Bulfinch’s 1818 plan of two wings added to Pleasant Hill to create McLean Asylum [Fig. 9], and in John Hawks’s 1773 design for a prison in Edenton, N.C. [Fig. 10].

The relationship of the terms “yard” and “garden” is an ambiguous one in the vocabulary of the American landscape. Treatise authors were inconsistent in their explanations of the distinction between these two terms. William Forsyth, for example, in 1802 distinguished a garden as being situated near the house as opposed to a farmyard, which was located at a further distance from the house, although still close enough for direct supervision of laborers.1 Bordley, on the other hand, writing at almost the same time, noted that a garden within the area near a house was a “Family-yard.” In popular American usage, these terms also appear to have been used inconsistently. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, numerous writers referred to a site’s “garden and yard,” whereas advertisements and deeds often listed the garden and yard separately.This distinction between more intensively cultivated garden space (located generally near the house) and the more utilitarian yard area is exemplified in the 1810 description that accompanied a sketch of Belfield. This drawing clearly separated the fenced “yard” surrounding Peale’s house from his paled and elaborately planted “garden,” located to the rear. Several images of domestic settings further suggest a distinction between the two types of spaces. Views, such as Ralph Earl’s 1792 portrait of the Chief Justice and Mrs. Ellsworth [Fig. 11], depict white painted fences immediately adjacent to the house, while red paint decorated the more distant fences (see Fence). Unfortunately no text references exist in which the term “yard” is associated with such images. This explicit visual demarcation of the two spaces may have been representative of a distinction between utilitarian yards (of the sort described in other sources as barn yard, hog yard, etc.) and ornamental yard spaces. Alternatively, the different treatment of the fences may represent properties whose owners would not have claimed to have a “garden” at all; in this case, the images might reflect a distinction between yard and the surrounding agricultural landscapes of pastures, meadows, and field.

A gradual shift in the distinction between yard and garden took place in the first half of the nineteenth century. Martha Ogle Forman’s 1824 account of Newark, N.J., and articles, such as that in the New England Farmer (1837) about “Front Yards,” mark an increasingly common pattern for private residential landscaping in which flower borders, shrubbery, and gardens are included within the space that was designated as a yard. Such designers as A. J. Downing (1849) and William H. Ranlett (1849) advocated that the yard should complement a residence, and each produced plans that became models for early suburbias. Their writings, particularly those disseminated through periodicals, were critical in the replication of such designs throughout America.

-- Elizabeth Kryder-Reid

Texts

Usage

Citations

Images

Notes

Retrieved from "https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Yard&oldid=18446"

History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Yard," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Yard&oldid=18446 (accessed December 2, 2021).

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