An Overview of Research and Recording Practice
Making a site survey
Making an on-the-spot survey of the garden itself is as important as doing the documentary research. Designers' plans were (and are) rarely carried out exactly, and a survey can provide more reliable information about what actually happened than archive material alone.
- Walk over the site with copies of old maps, plans and illustrations and identify changes in boundaries and any surviving features.
- Locate the principal building and the main component areas of the site, such as a walled kitchen garden, a rose garden, or a maze.
- Look for ‘lumps and bumps' on the ground, which may be the remains of former features (drives, paths, buildings or water features).
- Identify current elements of the garden, such as water features, garden architecture and ornaments, trees and the remains of planting schemes.
- Make a written note of the condition of all garden features and structures, and take plenty of photographs.
- Identify tree and shrub species, their position and condition, and estimate their age.
- Look for signs of planting schemes, such as rows or clumps of trees or tree pits in parkland, showing where trees once stood.
- Identify important views within or beyond the garden which may now be hidden by younger planting.