The Path to Enlightenment

A Scripted Freelance Writer Writing Sample

The Path to Enlightenment

Gentile Allées inspire travelers to slow down and savor the journey.

The French are widely known to have given us countless great poets and painters. However, they have also given us a living art that, while slightly less recognized, is no less beautiful or craftily structured than a line of poetry. With its bold simplicity and inspiring clarity the allée is a landscaping technique where a row of trees or large shrubs lining of the same species line a street, pathway, or driveway, focusing the eye on a central point such as a house, park, or architectural feature.

"Allées were originally military parade grounds meant for riding horses, to guide them down a straight path," says Henry Hughes, Director of Education at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. However, he adds, "When I think of the allée I also think of southern plantations."

An allée lends an undeniable amount of sophistication and charm to any home and certainly the old manors that still prevail in parts of Alabama. There is nothing more southern, or relaxing, than driving along a lush foliage-covered road, anticipating the extravagant house that lazily transforms from a colored speck into a marvelous home. Although the allée is a formal landscaping concept, it readily lends itself to a certain romance and creates a calming effect with its rhythmic pacing.

In his book Trees in Urban Design, Henry Arnold explains, "An urban sidewalk without trees is like a building without a roof." Henry believes that the allée gives order to a city and completes the architecture surrounding it. He says, "They make the walls and ceilings of outdoor rooms and are used to connect and extend the geometry, rhythms, and scale of buildings into the landscape."

Both in the city and at home, careful planting of trees has many advantages. Allées improve air quality, increase property value, and offer noise control. But beyond the utilitarian benefits, the allée serves as a gracious greeting to all who travel beneath its arching branches.

Tip Box: Benefits of an allée

"Their peaceful beauty and psychological benefits provide us with the most poetic of building materials." -Arnold

Psychological benefits

Educational values

Utilitarian benefits:

climate, air quality, noise control

Economic benefits: property value

Tip Box: True allée

Trees should be…

Spaced no more than 20 feet apart center to center

Evenly spaced

Of the same species

Lining a street, path, or driveway


Suited for place (climate, soil, and available space)

Trees should not be…

In raised planters

Trees suitable:

Live Oaks



Craype Myrtles

Willow Oaks

American Elms

Trees not siutable:

Pine Trees

Bradford Pairs

Ashlie S

Wilmington, North Carolina, United States •

Ashlie has had experience writing in a variety of contexts. She holds a degree from Samford University is in English with a concentration in creative writing. She has an extensive creative portfolio of poetry, short fiction, and novel snippets. Ashlie also worked for Alabama Magazine, a lifestyle magazine based in Birmingham AL, as an editor and writer. Ashlie has samples from her work with the magazine as well that includes both short and long lifestyle articles. Ashlie enjoys using her writing and editing skills to describe or create an experience, sell a product, and creatively share information.

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