Dumfries House lies in the valley of the Lugar water some 15 miles (24km) south-east of Ayr and 2 miles (3km) west of Cumnock. The broad valley setting, with its gently sloping hills to the north and south, provides extensive views of the parkland from either side of the valley. The house commands a fine prospect to the north and is itself a feature in the designed landscape when viewed from the north side of the valley, and particularly from the original main approach from Auchinleck which curves through the parkland and across the Adam Bridge to the House. The policy woodlands are the most significant feature in the landscape viewed from outside the park.
The house is set on the south side of the Lugar Water, overlooking the river. The policies today extend from Hinnieston Wood in the west, north to the north- east lodge, east to Tarringzean Castle, and south to the A70. The woodlands south of the A70, particularly the roundel plantings, were planted as part of the designed landscape to be viewed from within the park. Dettingen Mount is particularly significant in the landscape.
These distinctive roundels were planted before General Roy's map of 1750 and feature prominently on this map, as does the east/west avenue planting lining the main road through the estate at that time. A formal design centering on Lochnorris castle is also shown. A plan at the estate office by William Smith in 1756 shows a simplified version of this layout at about the time the new house was being built. This names the vistas through the plantings on Mount Allan and shows the 'bouline green' to the east of the house. By 1772 John Home's plan reveals a shift in emphasis with the formal elements of the design reduced to those focussing on the new Dumfries House, and with formal rides centering on the bowling green in Shaw Wood. A new kitchen garden is shown to the north of the river, and the 'Old Garden' is marked by the bridge.
At some time between the production of this map and the 1st edition OS map of 1854, the main road was moved southwards out of the policies to its present route.
The former line of the road became the drive, leaving the two south lodges at Stockiehill stranded in the new park. The main approach today leaves the A70 and approaches the house from the south, through the west gates. The structure of the designed landscape has since remained similar to that shown on the 1854 map. There are around 1,320 acres (535ha) in the designed landscape today.