1. Different landscape styles
  2. Formal gardens
  3. Characteristics of formal garden style

Understanding the Characteristics of Formal Garden Style

Discover the Key Elements of Formal Garden Design and Construction

Understanding the Characteristics of Formal Garden Style

Formal gardens are known for their symmetrical and structured design, offering a sense of order and elegance to any outdoor space. This style of landscaping originated in Europe during the Renaissance period, and has since become a popular choice for those looking to create a sophisticated and classic look in their gardens. The characteristics of formal garden style are carefully planned and executed, with a focus on balance, proportion, and precision. In this article, we will delve into the key elements that make up a formal garden, and how they contribute to its overall aesthetic.

Whether you are a gardening enthusiast or simply looking for some inspiration for your outdoor space, understanding the characteristics of formal garden style will surely pique your interest. So let's dive in and explore the world of formal gardens!To start, it's important to understand that formal gardens have a long history dating back to ancient civilizations such as Ancient Egypt and Rome. They were often used as a reflection of wealth and power, with grand palaces and estates featuring expansive formal gardens. In modern times, formal gardens have become more accessible and can be found in residential homes, public parks, and commercial properties. The main elements that make up a formal garden include symmetry, structure, balance, and order.

Let's take a closer look at each one.


plays a crucial role in formal garden design. It involves creating a mirrored effect on either side of a central point or axis. This can be achieved through the use of identical plantings, pathways, or features on either side. For example, a central fountain may be flanked by two identical hedges or statues on each side.

This creates a sense of balance and harmony in the garden.


is another important characteristic of formal gardens. This refers to the use of defined lines and shapes to create a sense of order and organization. Straight pathways, neatly trimmed hedges, and geometric flower beds are all examples of structural elements commonly found in formal gardens. These structures also serve to highlight the symmetry of the garden.


is achieved through the careful placement of elements in a formal garden.

This includes both visual balance and physical balance. Visual balance refers to the overall look of the garden, with each side mirroring the other. Physical balance involves ensuring that the weight of objects or features is evenly distributed throughout the garden. This can be achieved by using similar materials and plants on both sides of the garden. Finally, order is a key characteristic of formal gardens.

This is achieved through careful planning and maintenance of the garden. Plants are often neatly arranged in rows or patterns, and any wild or unruly growth is trimmed to maintain a clean and orderly appearance. Regular maintenance is essential in keeping a formal garden looking its best.

Water Features in Formal Gardens

Water Features such as fountains, ponds, and waterfalls are often incorporated into formal gardens. These not only add a sense of tranquility and beauty but also serve as a focal point and help to break up the symmetry of the garden.

When designing a formal garden with a water feature, it's important to consider the scale and proportion of the feature to ensure it complements the overall design.

The Importance of Topiaries in Formal Gardens

Topiaries are a popular feature in formal gardens, adding a touch of elegance and artistry. These are plants that have been carefully pruned and shaped into specific forms, such as balls, cones, or animals. Boxwood, yew, and privet are commonly used for topiaries due to their dense foliage and ability to be easily shaped. They can be used to create focal points, add structure to a garden, or line pathways.

Using Color in Formal Gardens

While formal gardens are known for their structured and symmetrical design, this doesn't mean they have to be devoid of color.

In fact, pops of color can add interest and vibrancy to a formal garden. Flower beds can be planted with annuals in coordinating colors, or evergreen plants with colorful foliage can be used as accents throughout the garden. Formal gardens may seem rigid and intimidating, but they can be adapted to suit any space and style. By incorporating the key characteristics of symmetry, structure, balance, and order, you can create a beautiful and timeless formal garden that will impress visitors and provide a peaceful escape for yourself. Remember to regularly maintain your garden to keep it looking its best.

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable information and inspiration for your next landscaping project.