Formal English Gardens Style Guide

formal garden path

The roots of the Formal English Garden can actually be traced back to the early Roman times.

Formal English Gardens as we know them today originated during the 18th Century, from about the 1740's.

These gardens represented a relaxation of the formal, symmetrical, and highly ordered gardens of the French Renaissance periods.

In the later years of the 19th century there was a return to more formal, symmetrical and geometric shapes, and today's English Garden often mixes these elements first seen in the Italian and French Renaissance periods with the more relaxed, but still highly formal English Gardens of the 1700's.

Formal English gardens in the true tradition embody, above all other things, an idealized view of nature. They draw heavily upon classical elements rooted in Greek, Roman and Chinese history.


  • Formal Water Features juxtaposed against natural elements
  • Lakes, Ponds, and streams modeled after natural water elements
  • Park like expanses of rolling lawns
  • Groves and clumps of trees
  • Straight or gently winding garden paths
  • Stone Elements with classical lines - such as garden walls, stone paths and formal benches
  • Columns, statues and balustrades with elegant, classically derived character
  • Generous pathways and large expanses of grass, gravel, or stone
  • Massed plantings and restrained plant palettes
  • A mix of asymmetrical and symmetrical elements
  • Heirloom Plants
  • Perennial borders
  • Defined Beds and Hedges
  • Garden Follies
  • Scented Plantings
  • Topiary

Antique Roses David Austin Roses
Delphinium Hollyhock
Foxglove Bleeding Heart
Clipped Yew Saracocca
Boxwood Garden Peony
Bluebells Hyacinth
Snapdragon Clematis

Historical Examples

Ionic Temple at Chaswick House Gardens

Vanbrugh's Rotunda at Stowe Gardens

Grotto at Bowood House Gardens

GardenDesignExposed! Home › Design Inspiration › English Gardens Ionic Temple at Chiswick House Formal Gardens

Source: www.gardendesignexposed.com


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All yards are not created equal.

There are so many outlying factors that are weighed in when designing a garden for a back yard.
Even if you were given 50 back yards that were all the same dimensions you will have 50 different designs because you have 50 different opinioned clients.
One wants a Japanese garden with traditional authentic stone work, while the next one wants a English cottage garden and the next one wants a Moorish styled garden.
Each design is built with completely different materials so each design has to be detailed and drafted differently .
A design that details extensive architectual detailing takes a lot longer to craft than a planting plan

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The company specializes in serving the power sports, industrial, automotive and aftermarket, and lawn and garden industries with leading value-added products and services such as design, tool building, manufacturing, secondary assembly and painting.

VILLAGE SPORTS  — Garden City News
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  • Avatar NA How do you start an English garden?
    Feb 21, 2009 by NA | Posted in Garden & Landscape

    After having been to a few countries I have to say English gardens are one of my favorites but I'm not exactly sure how to put one together myself? What flowers, lay out and technique are used?

    • The first English cottage gardens enclosed spaces (by shrubs & sometimes picket fencing) & had many useful herbs & flowers used for medicinal, cooking & fragrance purposes (even vegetables were included i …his English garden, along with the upbeat 'In the Summertime' music should put you in good spirits of what's to come once you get started:

      From one gardener to another...Good luck...and Happy Gardening!!!