Robert Hart's forest garden in Shropshire, England.
Forest gardening, a plantbased food prosystem, is the world's oldest form of gardening.Forest
gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungleclad river banks and in the wet foothills of
monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful
tree and vine species were identified, protected and improved whilst undesirable species were
eliminated. Eventually foreign species were also selected and incorporated into the gardens.
The enclosure of outdoor space began in 10,000 BC. Though no one knows the specific details of the
first garden, historians imagine the first enclosure was a type of barrier for the purpose of keeping out
animals and marauders. Gardenmaking and design was a key precursor to landscape architecture,
and it began in West Asia, eventually spreading westward into Greece, Spain, Germany, France,
Britain, etc. Modern words of “garden” and “yard” are descendants of the Old English term “geard,”
which means fence or enclosure.
Vitruvius, a Roman author and engineer, wrote the oldest surviving design manual in 27 BC. De
architecture libri decem (The Ten Books on Architecture) addressed design theory, landscape
architecture, engineering, water supply and public projects, such as parks and squares. Vitruvius
asserted that firmitas (firmness, durability, strength), utilitas (commodity, convenience, utility) and
venustas (delight, loveliness, beauty) were the main design objectives, and some consider these
elements centrally important to quality landscape design.
After the emergence of the first civilizations, wealthy individuals began to create gardens for purely
aesthetic purposes. Egyptian tomb paintings of the 16th century BC are some of the earliest physical
evidence of ornamental horticulture and landscape design; they depict lotus ponds surrounded by
symmetrical rows of acacias and palms. Another ancient gardening tradition is of Persia: Darius the
Great was said to have had a "paradise garden" and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned
as a Wonder of the World. Persian gardens were also organized symmetrically, along a center line
known as an axis.
Persian influences extended to postAlexander's Greece: around 350 BC there were gardens at the
Academy of Athens, and Theophrastus, who wrote on botany, was supposed to have inherited a
garden from Aristotle. Epicurus also had a garden where he walked and taught, and bequeathed it to
Hermarchus of Mytilene. Alciphron also mentions private gardens.
The most influential ancient gardens in the western world were the Ptolemy's gardens at Alexandria
and the gardening tradition brought to Rome by Lucullus. Wall paintings in Pompeii attest to elaborate
development later. The wealthiest Romans built extensive villa gardens with water features, topiary
and cultivated roses and shaded arcades. Archeological evidence survives at sites such as Hadrian's
Byzantium and Moorish Spain kept garden traditions alive after the 4th century and the fall of Rome.
By this time, a separate gardening tradition had arisen in China, which was transmitted to Japan,
where it developed into aristocratic miniature landscapes centered on ponds and separately into the
severe Zen gardens of temples.
In Europe, gardening revived in Languedoc and the ÎledeFrance in the 13th century. The rediscovery
of descriptions of antique Roman villas and gardens led to the creation of a new form of garden, the
Italian Renaissance garden in the late 15th and early 16th century. The first public parks were built by
the Spanish Crown in the 16th century, in Europe and the Americas. The formal Garden à la française,
exemplified by the Gardens of Versailles, became the dominant style of garden in Europe until the
middle of the 18th century when it was replaced by the English landscape garden and the French
landscape garden. The 19th century saw a welter of historical revivals and Romantic cottageinspired
gardening. In England, William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll were strong proponents of the wild
garden and the perennial garden respectively. Andrew Jackson Downing and Frederick Law Olmsted
adapted European styles for North America, especially influencing public parks, campuses and
suburban landscapes. Olmsted's influence extended well into the 20th century.
The 20th century saw the influence of modernism in the garden: from the articulate clarity of Thomas
Church to the bold colors and forms of Brazilian Roberto Burle Marx.
A strong environmental consciousness and Sustainable design practices, such as green roofs and
rainwater harvesting, are driving new considerations in gardening today.
The historical development of garden styles
Map showing the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Mesopotamia the "land between the Rivers" Tigris and Euphrates comprises a hilly and
mountainous northern area and a flat, alluvial south. Its peoples (Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians,
and Babylonians) were urban and literate from about 3,000BC. Evidence for their gardens comes from
written texts, pictorial sculpture and archaeology. In western tradition Mesopotamia was the location of
the Garden of Eden and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Temple gardens developed from the
representation of a sacred grove; several distinct styles of royal garden are also known.
The courtyard garden was enclosed by the walls of a palace, or on a larger scale was a cultivated
place inside the city walls. At Mari on the Middle Euphrates (c 1,800BC) one of the huge palace
courtyards was called the Court of the Palms in contemporary written records. It is crossed by raised
walkways of baked brick; the king and his entourage would dine there. At Ugarit (c1,400BC) there was
a stone water basin, not located centrally as in later Persian gardens, for the central feature was
probably a tree (date palm or tamarisk). The 7th century BC Assyrian king Assurbanipal is shown on a
sculpture feasting with his queen, reclining on a couch beneath an arbour of vines, attended by
musicians. Trophies of conquest are on display, including the dismembered head of the king of Elam
hanging from a fragrant pine branch! A Babylonian text from the same period is divided into sections
as if showing beds of soil with the names of medicinal, vegetable and herbal plants written into each
square, perhaps representing a parterre design.
On a larger scale royal hunting parks were established to hold the exotic animals and plants which
the king had acquired on his foreign campaigns. King TiglathPileser I (c 1,000BC) lists horses, oxen,
asses, deer of two types, gazelle and ibex, boasting "I numbered them like flocks of sheep."
From around 1,000 BC the Assyrian kings developed a style of city garden incorporating a naturalistic
layout, running water supplied from river headwaters, and exotic plants from their foreign campaigns.
Assurnasirpal II (883859BC) lists pines of different kinds, cypresses and junipers of different kinds,
almonds, dates, ebony, rosewood, olive, oak, tamarisk, walnut, terebinth and ash, fir pomegranate,
pear, quince, fig and grapevines: "The canal water gushes from above into the gardens; fragrance
pervades the walkways; streams of water as numerous as the stars of heaven flow in the pleasure
garden.... Like a squirrel I pick fruit in the garden of delights." The city garden reached its zenith with
the palace design of Sennacherib (704681BC) whose water system stretched for 50 km into the hills,
whose garden was higher and more ornate than any others, and who boasted of the complex
technologies he deployed, calling his palace and garden "a Wonder for all Peoples".
The biblical Book of Genesis mentions the Tigris and Euphrates as two of the four rivers bounding the
Garden of Eden. No specific place has been identified although there are many theories.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are listed by classical Greek writers as one of the Seven Wonders of
the World places to see before you die. The excavated ruins of Babylon do not reveal any suitable
evidence, which has led some scholars to suggest that they may have been purely legendary.
Alternatively the story may have originated from Sennacherib's garden in Nineveh.
The large charbagh (a form of Persian garden divided into four parts) provides the foreground for the
classic view of the Taj Mahal, UNESCO World Heritage Site
All Persian gardens, from the ancient to the high classical were developed in opposition to the harsh
and arid landscape of the Iranian Plateau. Unlike historical European gardens, which seemed carved
or reordered from within their existing landscape, Persian gardens appeared as impossibilities. Their
ethereal and delicate qualities emphasized their intrinsic contrast to the hostile environment. Trees and
trellises largely feature as biotic shade; pavilions and walls are also structurally prominent in blocking
The heat also makes water important, both in the design and maintenance of the garden. Irrigation
may be required, and may be provided via a form of underground tunnel called a qanat, that transports
water from a local aquifer. Welllike structures then connect to the qanat, enabling the drawing of
water. Alternatively, an animaldriven Persian well would draw water to the surface. Such wheel
systems also moved water around surface water systems, such as those in the chahar bāgh style.
Trees were often planted in a ditch called a juy, which prevented water evaporation and allowed the
water quick access to the tree roots.
The Persian style often attempts to integrate indoors with outdoors through the connection of a
surrounding garden with an inner courtyard. Designers often place architectural elements such as
vaulted arches between the outer and interior areas to open up the divide between them.
Rectangular fishpond with ducks and lotus planted round with date palms and fruit trees, in a fresco
from the Tomb of Nebamun, Thebes, 18th Dynasty
Gardens were much cherished in the Egyptian times and were kept both for secular purposes and
attached to temple compounds. Gardens in private homes and villas before the New Kingdom were
mostly used for growing vegetables and located close to a canal or the river. However, in the New
Kingdom they were often surrounded by walls and their purpose incorporated pleasure and beauty
besides utility. Garden produce made out an important part of foodstuff but flowers were also
cultivated for use in garlands to wear at festive occasions and for medicinal purposes. While the poor
kept a patch for growing vegetables, the rich people could afford gardens lined with sheltering trees
and decorative pools with fish and waterfowl. There could be wooden structures forming pergolas to
support vines of grapes from which raisins and wine were produced. There could even be elaborate
stone kiosks for ornamental reasons, with decorative statues.
A funerary model of a garden, dating to the Eleventh dynasty of Egypt, c. 2009–1998 BC. Made of
painted and gessoed wood, originally from Thebes.
Temple gardens had plots for cultivating special vegetables, plants or herbs considered sacred to a
certain deity and which were required in rituals and offerings like lettuce to Min. Sacred groves and
ornamental trees were planted in front of or near both cult temples and mortuary temples. As temples
were representations of heaven and built as the actual home of the god, gardens were laid out
according to the same principle. Avenues leading up to the entrance could be lined with trees,
courtyards could hold small gardens and between temple buildings gardens with trees, vineyards,
flowers and ponds were maintained.
The ancient Egyptian garden would have looked different from a modern garden. It would have
seemed more like a collection of herbs or a patch of wild flowers, lacking the specially bred flowers of
today. Flowers like the iris, chrysanthemum, lily and delphinium (blue), were certainly known to the
ancients but do not feature much in garden scenes. Formal boquets seem to have been composed of
mandrake, poppy, cornflower and or lotus and papyrus.
Due to the arid climate of Egypt, tending gardens meant constant attention and depended on irrigation.
Skilled gardeners were employed by temples and households of the wealthy. Duties included planting,
weeding, watering by means of a shaduf, pruning of fruit trees, digging the ground, harvesting the fruit
Hellenistic and Roman gardens
It is curious that although the Egyptians and Romans both gardened with vigor, the Greeks did not
own private gardens. They did put gardens around temples and they adorned walkways and roads
with statues, but the ornate and pleasure gardens that demonstrated wealth in the other communities
is seemingly absent.
Reconstruction of the Roman garden of the House of the Vettii in Pompeii
Roman gardens were a place of peace and tranquillity, a refuge from urban life. Ornamental
horticulture became highly developed during the development of Roman civilisation. The
administrators of the Roman Empire (c.100 BC 500 AD) actively exchanged information on
agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, hydraulics, and botany. Seeds and plants were widely
shared. The Gardens of Lucullus (Horti Lucullani) on the Pincian Hill on the edge of Rome introduced
the Persian garden to Europe, about 60 BC.
Chinese and Japanese gardens
Rock sculpture from the 'Lingering Garden' of Suzhou, China
Both Chinese and Japanese garden design traditionally is intended to evoke the natural landscape of
mountains and rivers. However, the intended viewpoint of the gardens differs: Chinese gardens were
intended to be viewed from within the garden and are intended as a setting for everyday life. Japanese
gardens, with a few exceptions, were intended to be viewed from within the house, somewhat like a
diorama. Additionally, Chinese gardens more often included a water feature, while Japanese gardens,
set in a wetter climate, would often get by with the suggestion of water. (Such as sand or pebbles
raked into a wave pattern.) Traditional Chinese gardens are also more likely to treat the plants in a
naturalistic way, while traditional Japanese gardens might feature plants sheared into mountain
shapes. This contrasts with the handling of stone elements: in a Japanese garden, stones are placed
in groupings as part of the landscape, but in a Chinese garden, a particularly choice stone might even
be placed on a pedestal in a prominent location so that it might be more easily appreciated.
Chinese scholar gardens
The style of Chinese garden varies among economic groups and differs by dynasties. Rocks, water,
bridges and pavilions are among the most common features of scholar gardens for the wealthy
classes, while courtyards, wells, and terra cotta fish tanks are common among general population.
Other features such as moon gates and leaky windows (openwork screens that pierce surrounding
walls) are seen in both groups.
The development of landscape design in China was historically driven by philosophies of both
Confucianism and Taoism. Geometric symmetry and reinforcement of class boundaries were typical
characteristics of landscape design in Asian cities, and both characteristics reflect Confucian ideals.
While the British used nature outside the home to provide privacy, Chinese homes were compounds
made of a number of buildings which all faced one or more courtyards or common areas. Rather than
around the home, the Chinese valued natural spaces inside the compound, which is where the family
socialized. Furthermore, Courtyards in the Chinese home reflected Taoist philosophies, where families
would try to create abstractions of nature rather than recreations of it. For example, a Taoist garden
would avoid straight lines and use stone and water instead of trees, whereas Asian cities followed
Confucian, geometric designs and North American parks typically feature trees and lawns.
There are two ways of looking at the signature design characteristics of the Chinese garden: first, the
concept of Yin and Yang and second, the myths of longevity that arose during the Qin Dynasty.
The philosophy of Yin and Yang portrays the idea of balance and harmony. The Chinese garden
expresses the relationship to nature and the idea of balance through the art of mimicking natural
setting, thus the existence of mountains, rocks, water, and wind elements. Yin and Yang juxtapose
complementary opposites: as hard as rock can be, the softness of water can dissolve it. Tai Hu rocks,
limestone eroded by the water of Lake Tai, are the quintessential example. Water, air and light run
through the rock as it sit still on display. The leaky windows of the Chinese garden wall portray both
steadiness and movement. The windows create a solid painting on walls, however that steadiness
changes once the wind blows or the eyes move.
Chinese garden's structure is based upon the culture's creation myth, rooted in rocks and water. To
have longevity is to live among mountains and water; it is to live with nature, to live like an immortal
being (Xian). The garden evokes a healthy lifestyle that makes one immortal, free from the problems of
civilization. Thus, Chinese landscape is known as Shan (mountain) and Shui (water). (Add Roger's
Symbolism is a key element of Chinese garden design. To the earthy tones of the Chinese garden, a
touch of red or gold is often added to bring forth the Yin/Yang contrast. The colors red and gold also
represent luck and wealth. Bats, dragons and other mystic creatures carved on wooden doors are also
commonly found in Chinese gardens; these are signs of luck and protection.
Circles portray togetherness, especially for family members, and are depicted in moon gates and
round tables placed within square backgrounds. The moon gate and other whimsical doorways also
act to frame views and to force the viewer to pause for a transition into a new space.
Paths in Chinese gardens are often uneven and sometimes consciously zigzag. These paths are like
the passages of a human life. There is always something new or different when seen from a different
angle, while the future is unknown and unpredictable.
Gardens of Byzantium
The Byzantine empire span a period of more than 1000 years (3301453 AD) and a geographic area
from modern day Spain and Britain to the Middle East and north Africa. Probably due to this temporal
and geographic spread and its turbulent history, there is no single dominant garden style that can be
labeled "Byzantine style". Archaeological evidence of public, imperial, and private gardens is scant at
best and researchers over the years have relied on literary sources to derive clues about the main
features of Byzantine gardens. Romance novels such as Hysmine and Hysminias (12th century)
included detailed descriptions of gardens and their popularity attests to the Byzantines’ enthusiasm for
pleasure gardens (locus amoenus). More formal gardening texts such as the Geoponika (10th century)
were in fact encyclopedias of accumulated agricultural practices (grafting, watering) and pagan lore
(astrology, plant sympathy/antipathy relationships) going back to Hesiod's time. Their repeated
publications and translations to other languages well into the 16th century is evidence to the value
attributed to the horticultural knowledge of antiquity. These literary sources worked as handbooks
promoting the concepts of walled gardens with plants arranged by type. Such ideals found expression
in the suburban parks (Philopation, Aretai) and palatial gardens (Mesokepion, Mangana) of
The Byzantine garden tradition was influenced by the strong undercurrents of history that the empire
itself was exposed to. The first and foremost influence was the adoption of Christianity as the empire's
official religion by its founder Constantine I. The new religion signaled a departure from the ornamental
pagan sculptures of the GrecoRoman garden style. The second influence was the increasing contact
with the Islamic nations of the Middle East especially after the 9th century. Lavish furnishings in the
emperor's palace and the adoption of automata in the palatial gardens are evidence of this influence.
The third factor was a fundamental shift in the design of the Byzantine cities after the 7th century when
they became smaller in size and population as well as more ruralized. The class of wealthy aristocrats
who could finance and maintain elaborate gardens probably shrank as well. The final factor was a
shifting view toward a more "enclosed" garden space (hortus conclusus); a trend dominant in Europe
at that time. The open views and vistas so much favored by the garden builders of the Roman villas
were replaced by garden walls and scenic views painted on the inside of these walls. The concept of
the heavenly paradise was an enclosed garden gained popularity during that time and especially after
the iconoclastic period (7th century) with the emphasis it placed on divine punishment and repentance.
An area of horticulture that flourished throughout the long history of Byzantium was that practiced by
monasteries. Although archaeological evidence has provided limited evidence of monastic horticulture,
a great deal can be learned by studying the foundation documents (τυπικόν, typikon) of the numerous
Christian monasteries as well as the biographies of saints describing their gardening activities. From
these sources we learn that monasteries maintained gardens outside their walls and watered them
with complex irrigation systems fed by springs or rainwater. These gardens contained vineyards,
broadleaf vegetables, and fruit trees for the sustenance of monks and pilgrims alike. The role of the
gardener was frequently assumed by monks as an act of humility. Monastic horticultural practices
established at that time are still in use in Christian monasteries throughout Greece and the Middle
Monasteries carried on a tradition of garden design and intense horticultural techniques during the
medieval period in Europe. Rather than any one particular horticultural technique employed, it is the
variety of different purposes the monasteries had for their gardens that serves as testament to their
sophistication. As for gardening practices, records are limited, and there are no extant monastic
gardens that are entirely true to original form. There are, however, records and plans that indicate the
types of garden a monastery might have had, such as those for St. Gall in Switzerland.
Generally, monastic garden types consisted of kitchen gardens, infirmary gardens, cemetery orchards,
cloister garths and vineyards. Individual monasteries might also have had a "green court", a plot of
grass and trees where horses could graze, as well as a cellarer's garden or private gardens for
obedientiaries, monks who held specific posts within the monastery.
From a utilitarian standpoint, vegetable and herb gardens helped provide both alimentary and
medicinal crops, which could be used to feed or treat the monks and, in some cases, the outside
community. As detailed in the plans for St. Gall, these gardens were laid out in rectangular plots, with
narrow paths between them to facilitate collection of yields. Often these beds were surrounded with
wattle fencing to prevent animals from entry. In the kitchen gardens, fennel, cabbage, onion, garlic,
leeks, radishes, and parsnips might be grown, as well as peas, lentils and beans if space allowed for
them. The infirmary gardens could contain Rosa gallica ("The Apothecary Rose"), savory, costmary,
fenugreek, rosemary, peppermint, rue, iris, sage, bergamot, mint, lovage, fennel and cumin, amongst
other herbs. From a utilitarian standpoint, vegetable and herb gardens helped provide both alimentary
and medicinal crops, which could be used to feed or treat the monks and, in some cases, the outside
The herb and vegetable gardens served a purpose beyond that of production, and that was that their
installation and maintenance allowed the monks to fulfill the manual labor component of the religious
way of life prescribed by Rule of St. Benedict.
Orchards also served as sites for food production and as arenas for manual labor, and cemetery
orchards, such as that detailed in the plan for St. Gall, showed yet more versatility. The cemetery
orchard not only produced fruit, but manifested as a natural symbol of the garden of Paradise. This bi- fold concept of the garden as a space that met both physical and spiritual needs was carried over to
the cloister garth.
The cloister garth, a claustrum consisting of the viridarium, a rectangular plot of grass surrounded by
peristyle arcades, was barred to the laity, and served primarily as a place of retreat, a locus of the ‘vita
contempliva’. The viridarium was often bisected or quartered by paths, and often featured a roofed
fountain at the center or side of the garth that served as a primary source for wash water and for
irrigation, meeting yet more physical needs. Some cloister gardens contained small fish ponds as well,
another source of food for the community. The arcades were used for teaching, sitting and meditating,
or for exercise in inclement weather.
There is much conjecture as to ways in which the garth served as a spiritual aid. Umberto Eco
describes the green swath as a sort of balm on which a monk might rest weary eyes, so as to return to
reading with renewed vigor. Some scholars suggest that, though sparsely planted, plant materials
found in the cloister garth might have inspired various religious visions.This tendency to imbue the
garden with symbolic values was not inherent to the religious orders alone, but was a feature of
medieval culture in general. The square closter garth was meant to represent the four points of the
compass, and so the universe as a whole. As Turner puts it,
Augustine inspired medieval garden makers to abjure earthliness and look upward for divine
inspiration. A perfect square with a round pool and a pentagonal fountain became a microcosm,
illuminating the mathematical order and divine grace of the macrocosm (the universe).
Walking around the cloister while meditating was a way of devoting oneself to the "path of life"; indeed,
each of the monastic gardens was imbued with symbolic as well as palpable value, testifying to the
ingenuity of its creators.
In the later Middle Ages, texts, art and literary works provide a picture of developments in garden
design. During the late 12th through 15th centuries, European cities were walled for internal defense
and to control trade. Though space within these walls was limited, surviving documents show that
there were animals, fruit trees and kitchen gardens inside the city limits.
Pietro Crescenzi, a Bolognese lawyer, wrote twelve volumes on the practical aspects of farming in the
13th century and they offer a description of medieval gardening practices. From his text we know that
gardens were surrounded with stonewalls, thick hedging or fencing and incorporated trellises and
arbors. They borrowed their form from the square or rectangular shape of the cloister and included
square planting beds.
Grass was also first noted in the medieval garden. In the De Vegetabilibus of Albertus Magnus written
around 1260, instructions are given for planting grass plots. Raised banks covered in turf called "Turf
Seats" were constructed to provide seating in the garden. Fruit trees were prevalent and often grafted
to produce new varieties of fruit. Gardens included a raised mound or mount to serve as a stage for
viewing and planting beds were customarily elevated on raised platforms.
Two works from the late Middle Ages discuss plant cultivation. In the English poem "The Feate of
Gardinage" by Jon Gardener and the general household advice given in Le Ménagier de Paris of
1393, a variety of herbs, flowers, fruit trees and bushes were listed with instructions on their cultivation.
The Menagier provides advice by season on sowing, planting and grafting. The most sophisticated
gardening during the Middle Ages was done at the monasteries. Monks developed horticultural
techniques, and cultivated herbs, fruits and vegetables. Using the medicinal herbs they grew, monks
treated those suffering inside the monastery and in surrounding communities.
During the Middle Ages, gardens were thought to unite the earthly with the divine. The enclosed
garden as an allegory for paradise or a "lost Eden" was termed the Hortus Conclusus. Freighted with
religious and spiritual significance, enclosed gardens were often depicted in the visual arts, picturing
the Virgin Mary, a fountain, a unicorn and roses inside an enclosed area.
Though Medieval gardens lacked many of the features of the Renaissance gardens that followed
them, some of the characteristics of these gardens continue to be incorporated today.
Italian Renaissance garden and Gardens of the French Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance inspired a revolution in private gardening. Renaissance private gardens were
full of scenes from ancient mythology and other learned allusions. Water during this time was
especially symbolic: it was associated with fertility and the abundance of nature.
The first public gardens were built by the Spanish Crown in the 16th century, in Europe and the
Terraced Italian Renaissance gardens
The Medici Villa Petraia, near Florence, laid out by Niccolò Tribolo, epitomizes the Italian garden of the
early Renaissance, before the grander architectural schemes of the 16th century
Portrait of André Le Nôtre (12 March 161315 September 1700) by Carlo Maratta
Main article: Garden à la française
The Garden à la française, or Baroque French gardens, in the tradition of André Le Nôtre.
The French Classical garden style, or Garden à la française, climaxed during the reign of Louis XIV of
France (1638–1715) and his head gardener of Gardens of Versailles, André Le Nôtre (1613–1700).
The inspiration for these gardens initially came from the Italian Renaissance garden of the 14th and
15th centuries and ideas of French philosopher René Descartes (1576–1650). At this time the French
opened the garden up to enormous proportions compared to their Italian predecessor. Their gardens
epitomize monarch and 'man' dominating and manipulating nature to show his authority, wealth, and
Renée Descartes, the founder of analytical geometry, believed that the natural world was objectively
measurable and that space is infinitely divisible. His belief that "all movement is a straight line
therefore space is a universal grid of mathematical coordinates and everything can be located on its
infinitely extendable planes" gave us Cartesian mathematics. Through the classical French gardens
this coordinate system and philosophy is now given a physical and visual representation.
This French formal and axial garden style placed the house centrally on an enormous and mainly flat
property of land. A large central axis that gets narrower further from the main house, forces the
viewer's perspective to the horizon line, making the property look even larger. The viewer is to see the
property as a cohesive whole but at the same time is unable to see all the components of the garden.
One is to be led through a logical progression or story and be surprised by elements that aren’t visible
until approached. There is an allegorical story referring to the owner through statues and water
features which have mythological references. There are small, almost imperceptible grade changes
that help conceal the gardens surprises as well as elongate the gardens views.
These grand gardens have organized spaces meant to be elaborate stages for entertaining the court
and guests with plays, concerts and fireworks displays. The following list of garden features were
Cul de sac
Grottos with rocaille
Parterre de broderie
Patte d'oie (Goose foot)
Due to being an early hub for Western society and being used for centuries, Mediterranean soil was
fragile, and one could think of the region’s landscape culture to be a conflict between fruitfulness and
frugality. The area consisted largely of smallscale agricultural plots. Later, following World War II,
Mediterranean immigrants brought this agricultural style to Canada, where fruit trees and vegetables in
the backyard became common.
AngloDutch formal gardens
Picturesque and English Landscape gardens
Main articles: English garden, Landscape garden and French landscape garden
Forested areas played a number of roles for the British in the Middle Ages, and one of those roles was
to produce game for the gentry. Lords of valuable land were expected to provide a bounty of animals
for hunting during royal visits. Despite being in natural locations, forested manor homes could
symbolize status, wealth and power if they appeared to spare no amenities. After the Industrial
Revolution, Britain’s forest industry minimized until it no longer existed. In response, the Garden City
Movement brought urban planning into industrialized areas in the early 20th century to offset negative
industrial effects such as pollution.
There were several traditions that influenced English gardening in the 18th century, the first of which
was to plant woods around homes. By the mid17th century, coppice planting became consistent and
was considered visually and aesthetically pleasing. Whereas forested areas were more useful for
hunting purposes in Britain during the Middle Ages, 18th century patterns demonstrate a further
deviation in gardening approach from practicality toward design meant to please the senses.
Likewise, English pleasure grounds were influenced by medieval groves, some of which were still in
existence in 18th century Britain. This influence manifest in the form of shrubbery, sometimes
organized in mazes or mazelike formations. And though also ancient, shredding became a common
characteristic of these early gardens, as the method enabled light to enter the understory. Shredding
was used to make garden groves, which ideally included an orchard with fruit trees, fragrant herbs and
flowers, and mosscovered pathways.
The picturesque garden style emerged in England in the 18th century, one of the growing currents of
the larger Romantic movement. Garden designers like William Kent and Capability Brown emulated
the allegorical landscape paintings of European artists, especially Claude Lorraine, Poussin and
Salvator Rosa. The manicured hills, lakes and trees dotted with allegorical temples were sculpted into
By the 1790s there was a reaction against these stereotypical compositions; a number of thinkers
began to promote the idea of picturesque gardens. The leader of the movement was landscape
theorist William Gilpin, an accomplished artist known for his realistic depictions of Nature. He preferred
the natural landscape over the manicured and urged designers to respond to the topography of a
given site. He also noted that while classical beauty was associated with the smooth and neat,
picturesque beauty had a wilder, untamed quality. The picturesque style also incorporated
architectural follies—castles, Gothic ruins, rustic cottages—built to add interest and depth to the
Controversy between the picturesque school and proponents