What is a Ha-ha?
A ha-ha is some form of a fence that is kept hidden in a trench or excavation. Its basic purpose is to provide some sort of barrier in a patch of land without obstructing the view. This concept is commonly used in gardens or parks that need to have a double-purpose barrier. These barriers or “ha-has” provide the necessary block without having to disturb or obstruct a particular view. Usually ha-has are intended for blocking some animals from entry into a particular field area without having to put an obvious barrier. In this case, an excavation on the ground is what’s needed to keep the unwanted animals from entering the restricted area.
Ha-has were said to be introduced back in the 1700s as an example of landscape gardening. The creation of trenches or ha-has became popular even before lawnmowers entered into the gardening picture. In the past, it is common for people to allow sheep to feed on the grass of large estates while barring them from entry into manicured lawns and gardens. And so as not to disrupt the view on beautiful gardens, excavations on the ground are done instead of putting up generic fences to ward off the unwanted sheep.
But aside from keeping animals out in a certain field, ha-has may also serve a different purpose. Some people build ha-has for aesthetic reasons and make a park look “endless” from any angle or point of view. Some people also dig out trenches as a form of building or area security. With ha-has built around structures, entry into them will be restricted and thereby increasing the security of the said location. Ha-has were usually created for jailhouses, courthouses, and other government buildings of the past. These types of buildings needed extra security measures for their entry points and ha-has were built for this purpose.