I am doing a course for gardendesigner , I have just started but I need to know what a Aha garden looks like?
I need some more information about aha gardens , I know these were gardens designed to make the garden look wider and ?bigger but I can''t find a specific photo or picture as an example , who can help me ??
- My understanding is that an aha is a fence that is hidden from view by placing it in the bottom of a ditch
- Do you mean a "Ha Ha!!!!"
If so a ha-ha was a wall or fence erected in the bottom of an excavated trench or ditch.
Its purpose was to provide an uninterrupted view of the landscape, whilst at the same time providing a barrier to animals such as sheep and cattle from straying onto the lawns and gardens of the big house.
I suggest you research the works of two specific Landscape Gardeners of the 18/19th Centuries - 1) Lancelot "Capability" Brown [1716 to 1783] and Sir Joseph Paxton [1801 to 1865].
They were both, pioneers in landscape design and construction.
In particular Joe Paxton's works at Chatsworth House [Derbyshire England]. and the Crystal Palace a bulding of glass and iron designed and constructed for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
- I think you mean a ha-ha, originally called Ha! Ha!s because of the surprise element involved in falling over the wall you can't see into the ditch below, designed to keep the cattle and deer from the house front.
These were originally in use across Italy and France in the seventeenth century, but more for practical reasons than design features. Only in England did they become a status symbol, probably because we are a small country and to make your estate look bigger required a bit more ingenuity. The debate around them in the middle and later eighteenth century is very interesting. I suggest, if you want to see a good example, you visit Stowe (NT) in Buckinghamshire which you ought to visit anyway as it contains features from virtually all the garden designers of the 1800s, Batty Langley, Bridgeman, Kent and 'Capability' Brown. Chatsworth also has a ha-ha, and there is a very nice, small-ish, example at Blickling in Norfolk, I think. Most period gardens have some remnants of the ha-ha. Stowe is the largest, I think. Petworth is one of the most complete of Brown's designs, and Blenheim, of course, is an important site.
Read: Stephen Switzer, one of the first garden writers to make economies of scale possible - running a big estate was expensive.
Humphry Repton, writing at the turn of the eighteenth into the nineteenth centuries. He was influential, although very few of his designs remain: one of his debating points is, in fact, the ha-ha, which by 1790 was beginning to be more of a problem than a virtue - estates were smaller, money tighter, and there was a return to a desire for the more formal garden, terraces, ballustrades and flower-beds near the house, so a fence would do as well in Repton's mind. The other thing he pointed out was the peculiarity of a garden looking as though it was full of cows, when, if you have pretty plantings near your windows you plainly don't want a lot of cows there as well ...
Brown didn't write much about garden designs. He was a pragmatic and tireless professional who had an idea and wanted to carry it out - some thought to ridiculous levels - moving villages, and so forth, but it's most likely that you'll find good examples of the ha-ha in his designs.
John Claudius Loudon published all Repton's writings in one volume in 1840, available now in the 'Aesthetics and the Picturesque, 1795-1840' series, ed. Gavin Budge (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2001). The other large series to look at is 'The English Landscape Garden' (29 volumes at last count), ed. John Dixon Hunt (New York/London: Garland, 1982). Also, have a read of John Dixon Hunt's 'The Figure in the Landscape', which discusses the relationship of painting to European gardens - one reason the ha- ha was liked, because it made your estate look more like the French and Italian paintings so popular in England at the end of the seventeenth century (status again - it meant you'd travelled if you knew what these things looked like).
A comprehensive and useful, but a little opinionated, study of garden design is by Charles Quest-Ritson; 'The English Garden: A Social History' (Penguin, 2003).
Hope this helps, but get out there - it's never the same in a picture!