Gardening styles have evolved throughout history, from trends in different locations around the world. They have developed and cycled as fashion trends do. Today, we can imagine and become exposed to all different types of gardens. Through that opportunity, we can mix, match, and blend aspects of gardening styles to create endless selections. Let’s talk in more detail about the major gardening styles: where they come from, and what elements make them what they are.
Formal Garden Style
The formal garden style historically is traced back to 16th century France. The French formal design has many repetitive elements that create an overall look of axial symmetry, focal points, and topiaries. It is not abundant in color, being dominated with green horizontal space of lawn balanced by green vertical space of tree and shrub topiary. While the most famous landscapes, such as the Palace of Versailles, express this garden style in vast expanse, it is possible to borrow elements of the formal garden design to incorporate into your own garden. The most common elements of a formal garden include:
- Paths expanding outward (usually from the house) to show long axial views
- Symmetrical evergreen shrubs and trees that are neatly trimmed or shaped bordering the paths
- Knot gardens or Parterre: close to the ground symmetrical planting patterns that give a carpet-looking effect
- Reflection pools, usually oval or rectangular
- Focal points, including fountains or statuary