This is the third in a series of ‘snippets’ on different garden styles. Today, formal gardens.

A successful formal garden is balanced, the design based on symmetry in its layout and a clearly recognisable ground plan or other pattern. Other features include:

  • Vistas – long channels in which the view is drawn towards a distant point or view

  • Statuary – often used as focal points within formal garden spaces or at the end of vistas

  • Topiary – ‘living statuary’ – small-leaved evergreen plants (Box and Yew, typically) are used to create all year round structure and focal points in the borders or spaces as well as hedges to create edges/ boundaries, parterres and knot gardens

  • Ornament – structures or materials are used which embellish otherwise plain surfaces or features

  • Natural stone – limestone, sandstone, granite, marble are all used to create a rich hard landscape which harmonises with the planting

  • Dramatic planting – specimen tress and shrubs are used as focal points and large expanses of single or limited numbers of species are used in mass effects

Let me know what you think makes a Formal style garden, and if you have some pictures I’d love to see them!

Other posts in the series:

Mediterranean Gardens

Cottage gardens

Old School Gardener

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