Historical gardens

Ha-Ha fence

also called A-ha fence

The fence or a garden element called ha-ha or aha, is a hidden border of a garden or park, allowing an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond and at the same time prohibits prevented grazing animals to enter the estates grounds.  It provides therefore the visual connection and prolongation of garden area with surrounding landscape, a way borrowing this landscape into a garden. In that way, the garden remains open to outsides.

KW_Hah_ha fence

The description “ha-ha” originates from the unexpected moment when, the vertical barrier suddenly becomes visible and prevents to go further. First time it was used by Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond, who also gave the explanation of this terminology.


It was usually built in a form of a ditch, cliff, retaining wall, moat, small river or a pond.

First it was introduced in French gardens in XVII century, among others it was proposed already by Dezallier d’Argenville in his work La théorie et la pratique du jardinage from 1709.

In England, although first such project was realized in Levens Hall by Guillaume Beaumont, the implementation of this element was attributed usually to Charles Bridgeman, who propagated strongly this idea of the space arrangement.



  1. Hobhouse P., 2002, The Story of Gardening
  2. Majdecki L., 2016. History of gardens

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