Well-known landscaping styles

Some landscaping styles are known the world over. The gardens that were created and that ultimately defined these styles were intended to provide a sense of restfulness and peace of mind. French gardens provide rest for the soul by giving off the impression that everything is in its proper place and that nothing bad can happen. You could call it peace by order. In the case of the English garden, on the other hand, it is more a question of pure relaxation. Just forget about everything and let your mind run among the rolling hills.

In this page, we will consider a few examples of well-known landscaping styles:

  • The French garden.
  • The English garden.
  • The Japanese garden.
  • The Alpine, or rock garden.
  • The contemporary, or modern garden.

English and French gardens are among the best known landscaping styles. You may not want to create such a garden around your house, but you may borrow specific items, or simply get inspiration from them. So here is a brief look at some of the better known styles.

The French landscaping style
Classic French garden

The French garden

The French garden was inspired by the Italian Renaissance garden. Symmetry and geometry are the key words when designing such a garden. The whole of the garden is composed like a painting reaching for pure aesthetic qualities. Like a painting, it is also created to be seen as a whole, so most French gardens were designed to be looked at from specific places, such as terraces or balconies. The overall impression of the French landscaping style is one of harmony, one of power of man over nature, where every tree and every bush is given a chosen location and shape.

If you are looking for a low maintenance garden, forget the French garden. For it to be at its best, it requires constant care.

Classic English Garden
Classic English Garden

The English garden

The early creators of the English landscaping style were also inspired by painters, but the style was much more romantic. In this case, it is not so much a question of domination of man over nature. Nature is seen as a comforting getaway. Rolling lawns, groves of trees and sometimes temples, or ruins and bridges are brought together to give off a sensation of natural and idyllic beauty. Although it may require less care than a French garden, a beautiful English garden does require regular care.

Classic Japanese Garden
Classic Japanese Garden

The Japanese garden

The Japanese garden landscaping style could be said to be somewhat between the French and English styles. On the one hand, it gives off an impression of order, but on the other hand, nature and spirituality are the dominating forces here.

The Japanese garden typically includes water, but raked gravel or sand can be used to represent water. Also found in Japanese gardens are rocks, preferably covered by moss, and a lantern. The garden is typically enclosed to put a physical frontier between the inner world represented by the garden and the outside world.

Classic Alpine Garden
Classic Alpine Garden

The Alpine garden

The Alpine garden is very different from the other style, because it is the most down to earth. Here, it is only a question of recreating a natural scene. We are not trying to reproduce a painting, or to create a mental image of what nature should be. Alpine gardens are mostly inspired by Nordic landscapes. They typically include rocks, low-lying bushes and flowers, and various types of ground covers. They are well suited to northern latitudes, where the weather is colder and the sun more sparse.

landscaping_styles_modern_gardenThe contemporary garden

The contemporary landscaping style, or modern garden, draws from all influences. Less romantic or spiritual than the classic styles, modern gardens are a design oriented style, in which nature and plants typically occupy second place. Materials and ornaments, made or stone, bricks, wood and even metal, occupy the center stage here. Trees, bushes and flowers are used as decorations. Contemporary gardens are often created as an extension of the house, like an outside room. As such, they are typically enclosed by walls.

We encourage you to document yourself and to look up these and other landscaping styles in books and magazines. Look at pictures of different gardens and consider all the landscaping plants you can use. At first it’s just going to fill your head with too many ideas, but then you’ll make choices and things are going to fall into place.

Have you given enough consideration to what you really want to achieve? If not, go to our Lawn and garden decor page.

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