The Most Interesting Garden Styles

Gardening is not only a hobby, it can be a form of art. Gardens can be unique as they provide a great opportunity to use your creativity. You can express your dreams and reflect your ideas by planting plants, placing sculptures, and playing around with the landscape. There are many styles of gardens that you can incorporate in your backyard.  They all originate from different parts of the world, have different purposes and diverse characteristics. Let’s look at some of the most popular and interesting ones:

Cottage Gardens

Cottage Gardens, or English style gardens, originated from 18th century England. They were means for the peasants to provide for themselves – to grow flowers, vegetables and fruits. They would build gardens around their homes and put fences to keep their livestock away from the plants. Even though these gardens were built out of necessity, their romantic style was appealing for the people who lived in the cities and they started to adapt the cottage gardens for the urban landscape. The usage of colorful ornamentals rather than fruits and vegetables became more popular.

Cottage gardens generally have abundant planting that spills over onto narrow trails, lots of colours, and scented flowers. Utilizing every available space is also a part of a cottage garden, creating a sense of a designed disorder. Some other major elements of this style of gardening are walls or fences covered in plants, pathways made by natural elements like stones and gravel, and mixed colours, plant heights and textures. When you are creating your cottage garden, you should not define the edges, just let everything grow and spill over the pathways and fences. You can also add a small herb, vegetable garden, or a fruit tree, and you will have the perfectly charming cottage garden.

Urban Gardens

Urban gardens are completely different than the cottage ones. Their purpose is to provide outdoor space for plants, relaxation, play time, etc. They are generally in small areas and need to be well-thought in order to work well. Urban gardens need minimal design and repeated patterns of colors, shapes and plants. They are well-organized to serve as functional areas for activities and have defined features.

Formal Gardens


Formal gardens have a balanced design and are generally very symmetric. They are built around a central feature such as a statue and have a geometric structure. The plants are also growing in a symmetric manner around linear paths. Formal gardens originated from 16th century France. The French formal design style has repetitive elements that form an overall impression of axial symmetry, focal points and topiaries. The main color is green as they are dominated by green lawn and green vertical space of trees and shrubs. Incorporating elements of the formal garden style is possible even in smaller house gardens. The most common features are symmetrical evergreen plants that are neatly trimmed and shaped to border the pathways, close to the ground plants that are placed symmetrically in patterns to give an impression of a carpet, reflection pools, fountains, statues, and symmetrical pathways.

Wildlife Gardens


Wildlife gardens have plants and structures that attract the native wildlife – birds, small mammals, beneficial insects that can chase away pests such as slugs and aphids. These gardens have more emphasis on supporting the local ecological life rather than appealing to the human eye. This type of garden doesn’t need much maintenance and human interference, since it’s built to sustain itself. You can have a wildlife-friendly garden in your backyard by selecting plants that attract birds and pollinating insects, adding hedgehogs’ boxes, bee hotels, bird feeders, and others. You should plant flowers which are full of pollen, or fruits and berries. Generally, native plants for the ecosystem will be perfect. You also need to utilize all three layers of ecosystem – trees, shrubs and grass – in order to have diverse habitats for different animals. Adding a source of water such as a stream or pond, will also help attracting smaller mammals.

Contemporary Gardens


Contemporary gardens have clean lines and geometric layouts. They utilize space without creating clutter and chaos. Having a contemporary garden in your backyard is perfect for someone who has a busy and hectic life. It will create a great place to relax and reduce tension. In order to build a contemporary garden, you can add natural and timeless materials such as stones, slate, and wood. The usage of a water source will create the feeling of reflection, movement and peacefulness. Focus more on foliage and texture instead on abundance of colourful flowers. The plants need to compliment the architectural features rather than be a striking element.   

Mediterranean Gardens


Mediterranean gardens originated from the hot, dry climates of the south of France, Italy and Spain. You need to have plants that can tolerate drought such as lavender, rosemary, vines, olive trees, figs, and grapes. Gravel is generally used for pathways between plants. This style cannot be adapted in every country, since some places have cold, wet winters.

Contemplation Gardens


Contemplation gardens originated in Asia around 1300 AD. They were particularly popular in Japan as the period of Zen Buddhism became more widespread. The contemplation gardens are built to reflect the teachings of Buddhism. These gardens are built to connect people with nature on a spiritually and mentally level, rather than the physical one. They are minimalistic and use rakes sand and stone to embody rivers and mountains. This simplicity will help the observer to avoid any distractions and allow the mind to relax and meditate. If you want to have a contemplation garden, these are some of the elements you will need: minimalist plants, green moss, neatly trimmed shrubs, stones, sand, raked into line patterns, focal point such as a fountain or a statue, bamboo, and running water.

There are many more types of gardening styles: botanic garden, community garden, desert garden, paradise garden, organic garden, rock garden, tropical garden, water garden, and others. If you need help with building your garden, you can always get in touch with a professional gardener, who can give you some tips and advice. 

Author’s Bio:

Name: Dimo Koev

Dimo has 10+ years of experience in landscaping services, garden design and maintenance, lawn care, turfing, hedge trimming, weeding, fencing, decking, patio and driveway laying, planting, garden clearance, and more. He is the president of Professional Gardening Services, which delivers the bespoke gardening services in London. Dimo believes in constantly adapting, innovating and learning about his industry in order to deliver the best service to his clients. That’s why he is so enthusiastic and eager to share his knowledge and skills with everyone who needs gardening advice.

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