Those who purchase period homes often find a neglected landscape or one that is not appropriate to the building. What to do? I would suggest reading American Home Landscapes: A Design Guide to Creating Period Garden Styles by Denise Adams and Laura Burchfield before undertaking any changes. This book is a great resource for homes in any area of this country.
The first chapter defines the differences between preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction with an eye to helping the homeowner decide which approach to take. It is crucial that the homeowner or designer have a goal that is tempered by personal requirements for the use of the property as well as comfort with the degree of historic accuracy.
Once the “period of significance” is established, it is time to research and inventory the site and the authors provide several suggestions for avenues to pursue. Then one should move on to deciding how practical the design will be in light of the desired uses for this landscape in the twenty-first century. Included in this decision will be consideration of styles and materials for hardscaping. Then finally, a plant list can be developed.
Ensuing chapters divide American landscapes into six eras and design styles, the last one being from 1960-2000. Each one is based on the publishing writing of the time and includes examples of landscape features of the time as well as case studies with plant lists. This book entailed an enormous amount of research that is reflected in the text but especially in the drawings and photographs.
The bibliography is quite extensive and would serve as an incredible resource for those researching a particular era. Do take advantage of all this book has to offer if you live in a period home.
Adams, Denise Wiles and Burchfield, Laura L.S., American Home Landscapes: A
Design Guide to Creating Period Garden Styles, Timber Press, Portland, 2013, $39.95.