There are many kinds of walls, and even among those built on a country estate, designs vary according to their purpose. One rather ingenious wall design is the ha-ha, possibly called that because that’s what people said when they saw how it worked. From the grounds of well-kept estate, it was barely visible, and what you saw was not only minimal, but aesthetically pleasing. What you didn’t see was a barrier that kept animals out of the yard.
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In those early days, before mechanical lawn mowers, sheep and cattle were often allowed to graze on the ground to keep the grassland trimmed. A ha-ha was typically constructed between the estate’s gardens and grounds to prevent grazing animals from crossing over to the manicured lawn and gardens adjoining the house, while generating a continuous vista of the garden and landscape beyond. Unlike an ordinary trench, which may turn into a moat or become overgrown with vegetation, a ha-ha keeps the estate ground in an impeccable state by allowing livestock to graze right up to the stonewall.
Find out how a ha-ha works, and see examples of its use at Amusing Planet.
(Image credit: Flickr user Tim Dawson)