Blast from the Past: Design a Period Garden

People often talk about period homes when it comes to buildings. Properties that still resemble their original structure from when they were built and have been well-preserved are abundant in the UK. We have houses going back hundreds of years, and they can make charming homes, full of character. But what about a period garden? While it’s not typical to find a garden that has been kept in its original style, except perhaps in stately homes, it’s definitely not difficult to replicate the trends of the past. From cottage gardens to colonial styles, there’s plenty to inspire you if you want to create a traditional garden.

Choose a Time Period or Style

If you want to create a period garden, you first need to choose a certain time period or style that you want to emulate. There are plenty of different options, whether you want to look at gardens through the ages in Britain or you want to explore some styles from around the world. If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to look at the history of your home. Find out when it was built and if you can perhaps even find some photos of it. You might want to imagine what the garden first looked like or how it could have changed over the years.

You have lots of styles to choose from. There’s the baroque style, Georgian gardens, Arts and Crafts gardens, Victorian gardens, and much more. A great resource to take a look at is the National Trust guide to gardens through the ages. Of course, many gardens you can look at from the past are sprawling formal gardens. You probably don’t have nearly as much space to work with, but just because you can’t landscape something worthy of Capability Brown, it doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from these gardens.

Read Up on the Trends of the Day

If you’ve decided on a theme or a particular time period, your next step might be to do some further research. Find out some more about the trends and fashionable styles of the day, from what sort of plants people were using to typical garden layouts. For example, Victorian gardens brought in lots of new and exotic plants, while in the 20th century, gardens became a bit less formal and structured. You don’t have to follow a strict set of rules to create your garden. It’s just interesting to look for ideas that could inspire you, especially if you see yourself as a bit of history buff.

Consider the Practicalities

While you’re exploring ideas for your garden, it’s worth thinking about some of the practical aspects of some of the things you might do. Keep in mind that some of the formal gardens of the period you’re researching might well have had a team of gardeners to care for them. Of course, you might be happy to spend a lot of time gardening or hire someone to do it for you. But there could be some ideas that sound fun on the surface but soon turn out to be completely impractical. It’s important not to be overly ambitious, especially if you don’t have the budget of the landed gentry.

Choose Updated Ways of Doing Things

If there are some ideas that you have to scrap for impracticality, there could still be plenty more that are easier to carry out today than it would have been in the past. Even though you’re trying to create a period garden, you can still enjoy the benefits of modern inventions. For example, caring for some more exotic plants could be easier with some of the garden technology available today. Some things are much more affordable too. Stuart gardens often featured extravagant water features. While you might not pay thousands for something truly impressive, you can install a beautiful water feature without paying too much.

Create a Plan

Once you’re feeling truly inspired, you can start to create a plan for your garden. You might want to work with a landscaper who can help you to plan out your vision. They can draw detailed plans to make it easier to visualise your garden. Once the plans are finalised, you can follow them to turn your garden into a reality. If you don’t want to design your garden from scratch, you can also find some great plans to work with. You could adjust them slightly to match what you want so that it’s suitable for the size of your garden and the particulars of what you want.

Before contacting a landscaper you may consider trying some landscape design software – there are a number of free options out there to choose from.

Look for Materials Matching Your Theme

It’s often not just the plants and layout that give your garden a particular look. The materials you use, from paving to plant pots, can also contribute to the overall style of your garden. The great thing is that you can find plenty of products designed in the style of different eras. If you’re trying to create a 19th-century garden, you can find Victorian greenhouses inspired by the trends of the day. However, another excellent thing is that you can find products that have the look you want and also have a more solid, modern construction. With modern materials and techniques, you can get the best of both worlds.

Find the Right Plants

Of course, the plants you choose are important too. As well as being inspired by the popular plants of the period you’re using for inspiration, it’s a good idea to think about how well they’re going to work for you. Firstly, they need to be compatible with the soil and the climate. You should also consider how much care some plants might need. Perhaps they can survive in your garden, but only if you’re very attentive. Not everyone wants to spend a lot of time doting on certain plants to make sure they can thrive. You can usually get the look you want without sticking to very specific plants.

If you want to create a period garden, do some research before you start. Not only will you learn a lot, but it will be fun too.

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