The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
Nurserymen in the nineteenth century sold plants through their catalogs, but they also often advised on landscape gardening.
Many seed and nursery catalogs offered it for sale.
In his 1881 magazine Gardener’s Monthly Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan reviewed Elliott’s book.
Meehan wrote: “When one travels through the country and notes how poorly some farms and rural residences are in all their surroundings, which, with a very small expenditure of money and labor, might be made beautiful, any work which would suggest to these unfortunates how to do better, we feel to be doing a useful work. This is just the missionary ground for a work like this.”
Rural America needed Elliott’s book. At least that is what Meehan recommended.
The type of landscape that Elliott proposed in the book was the English garden, with its extensive lawn. He considered A. J. Downing, America’s most famous nineteenth century landscape gardener, his mentor.