Table of Contents

Federal Neoclassicism
   - Transition, English Landscape Garden, 1779-1830

Fig.13, Federal Neoclassic style
Fig. 13
After the American Revolution the Georgian architectural style gives way to the Roman motifs of Federal Neoclassicism. Features on new construction, or added to older Georgian style homes, are flat panels, pilasters and a crown over the door. Porches are eliminated or reduced to a small entry. The fashion turns from smaller colonial houses to larger four-square buildings with minimum embellishment, unlike the interiors, which continue in a grand style. Benjamin H. Latrobe, is the most influential architect of this period.

Garden plan
Fig. 14
In this transition period, a Federal style home may be landscaped using either a formal (like the Georgian) or a mixed plan as at the Paca garden, (Fig.10). For the most part, formal design continues until the 1830s. Some gardens, designed by professional landscape gardeners and as advocated in the first American book on gardening by Bernard McMahon in 1806, are naturalistic, composed mainly of lawn, thickets of trees, shrubs, winding walks and clumps of flowers. This is notably achieved on large estates such as The Vale or Gore Place in Waltham, Massachusetts, and in Rural Romantic Cemeteries. However, it takes the middle class gardener, with a lot size of 2/3 to 1/4 acre, about 60 years to completely change from the formal geometry of the colonial garden to the Picturesque and semi-naturalistic Gardenesque garden styles of the 1830s and later.

Fruit trees
Fine fruit is cultivated for eating and not just for cider as earlier. In 1801 ‘Johny Appleseed’ starts planting trees in Ohio, helping to bring fruit trees westward.

Flowers, shrubs, and trees There is a passion for collecting exotic plants from South America, Africa, and the new plants collected by The Lewis and Clark expedition from the American West. Nurseries vie to provide new selections yearly, even including hardy species of grapes. There are seed houses as early as 1737, but after the revolution, a break in control of trade allows commercial nurseries to proliferate, with the plant material set out in naturalistic displays. In 1828, the Belgian horticulturalist, Andre Parmentier, is the first to open a nursery in Brooklyn displaying the plant stock in suggested Romantic style design, including a rustic "grotesque" style arbor made of rough branches and moss. The planting style for all this material is to place taller pointed evergreens like cedar and spruce in the center and rear of a thicket, surrounding it with shrubs, tiered down to an edging of flowers. A favorite tree-shrub combination is conifers with rhododendron.

Focal points
After 1800, a new manufacturing process makes iron stronger, increasing its use for railings, and other decorative garden items such as large urns, which however, are not used as planters but set out as pieces of sculpture.