In many ways, the Ha-Ha embodies the English Landscape movement. As a practical measure it enabled landowners to keep their livestock out of their gardens.
28 April 2016
In many ways, the Ha-Ha embodies the English Landscape movement. As a practical measure it enabled landowners to keep their livestock out of their gardens. As an aesthetic and social statement it created an uninterrupted view across ones very own rolling fields, towards clumps of trees and sinuous waterways.
Capability Brown, who celebrates his 300th birthday this August, was a great proponent of the Ha-Ha. Brown was influenced by William Kent, the father of the new English landscape that emerged in the 18th century. It is a landscape that we now think of as entirely ‘natural’, but is in fact largely a product of the minds of these great makers.
For all its historical pedigree, we think the Ha-Ha still has a place in contemporary garden design. It is about an openness to the landscape, and a sense that the more designed space near the house is separate from, but related to, the countryside beyond.
In several recent projects we have created Ha-Has, using materials and craftsmanship that Kent and Brown would recognise, but in a way that feels relevant to our times. As with many elements of 18th century garden design, the Ha-Ha has survived through trends, serving a purpose that is at once functional, beautiful and reverential to the great designers of the past.