A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of
plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and manmade materials.
The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has traditionally
been a more general one. Zoos, which display wild animals in simulated natural habitats, were
formerly called zoological gardens. Western gardens are almost universally based on plants, with
garden often signifying a shortened form of botanical garden.
Some traditional types of eastern gardens, such as Zen gardens, use plants sparsely or not at all.
Xeriscape gardens use local native plants that do not require irrigation or extensive use of other
resources while still providing the benefits of a garden environment. Gardens may exhibit structural
enhancements, sometimes called follies, including water features such as fountains, ponds (with or
without fish), waterfalls or creeks, dry creek beds, statuary, arbors, trellises and more.
Some gardens are for ornamental purposes only, while some gardens also produce food crops,
sometimes in separate areas, or sometimes intermixed with the ornamental plants. Foodproducing
gardens are distinguished from farms by their smaller scale, more laborintensive methods, and their
purpose (enjoyment of a hobby rather than produce for sale). Flower gardens combine plants of
different heights, colors, textures, and fragrances to create interest and delight the senses.
Gardening is the activity of growing and maintaining the garden. This work is done by an amateur or
professional gardener. A gardener might also work in a nongarden setting, such as a park, a roadside
embankment, or other public space. Landscape architecture is a related professional activity with
landscape architects tending to specialise in design for public and corporate clients.
Nicosia municipal gardens, Cyprus
The etymology of the word gardening refers to enclosure: it is from Middle English gardin, from Anglo- French gardin, jardin, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German gard, gart, an enclosure or
compound, as in Stuttgart. See Grad (Slavic settlement) for more complete etymology.The words yard,
court, and Latin hortus (meaning "garden," hence horticulture and orchard), are cognates—all referring
to an enclosed space.
The term "garden" in British English refers to a small enclosed area of land, usually adjoining a
building. This would be referred to as a yard in American English.
Main article: Garden design
Garden design is the creation of plans for the layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Gardens
may be designed by garden owners themselves, or by professionals. Professional garden designers
tend to be trained in principles of design and horticulture, and have a knowledge and experience of
using plants. Some professional garden designers are also landscape architects, a more formal level
of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license.
Elements of garden design include the layout of hard landscape, such as paths, rockeries, walls, water
features, sitting areas and decking, as well as the plants themselves, with consideration for their
horticultural requirements, their seasontoseason appearance, lifespan, growth habit, size, speed of
growth, and combinations with other plants and landscape features. Consideration is also given to the
maintenance needs of the garden, including the time or funds available for regular maintenance, which
can affect the choices of plants regarding speed of growth, spreading or selfseeding of the plants,
whether annual or perennial, and bloomtime, and many other characteristics. Garden design can be
roughly divided into two groups, formal and naturalistic gardens.
The most important consideration in any garden design is, how the garden will be used, followed
closely by the desired stylistic genres, and the way the garden space will connect to the home or other
structures in the surrounding areas. All of these considerations are subject to the limitations of the
budget. Budget limitations can be addressed by a simpler garden style with fewer plants and less
costly hardscape materials, seeds rather than sod for lawns, and plants that grow quickly; alternatively,
garden owners may choose to create their garden over time, area by area.
Example of a garden attached to a place of worship: the cloister of the Abbey of Monreale, Sicily, Italy
The Sunken Garden of Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia
Gardens of Versailles (France)
The back garden of the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India
Tropical garden in the Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore in Singapore
Flowerbed with the date in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy
Gardens at Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, feature many heirloom varieties of plants.
Elements of a garden
Garden at the centre of intersection in Shanghai.
Naturalistic design of a Chinese garden incorporated into the landscape, including a pavilion
Garden with Fountains, Villa d'Este, Italy.
Most gardens consist of a mix of natural and constructed elements, although even very 'natural'
gardens are always an inherently artificial creation. Natural elements present in a garden principally
comprise flora (such as trees and weeds), fauna (such as arthropods and birds), soil, water, air and
light. Constructed elements include paths, patios, decking, sculptures, drainage systems, lights and
buildings (such as sheds, gazebos, pergolas and follies), but also living constructions such as flower
beds, ponds and lawns.
Uses for the garden space
Partial view from the Botanical Garden of Curitiba (Southern Brazil): parterres, flowers, fountains,
sculptures, greenhouses and tracks composes the place used for recreation and to study and protect
A garden can have aesthetic, functional, and recreational uses:
Cooperation with nature
Observation of nature
Bird and insectwatching
Reflection on the changing seasons
Family dinners on the terrace
Children playing in the garden
Reading and relaxing in the hammock
Maintaining the flowerbeds
Pottering in the shed
Basking in warm sunshine
Escaping oppressive sunlight and heat
Growing useful produce
Flowers to cut and bring inside for indoor beauty
Fresh herbs and vegetables for cooking
Types of gardens
A typical Italian garden at Villa Garzoni, near Pistoia
Checkered garden in Tours, France
Zen garden, Ryōanji
French formal garden in the Loire Valley
Bristol Zoo, England
Castelo Branco, Portugal
The Italian gardens of El Escorial, Spain
An ornamental garden in the Auburn Botanical Gardens, Sydney, Australia
Gardens may feature a particular plant or plant type(s);
Gardens may feature a particular style or aesthetic:
Alpine or rock garden
Bonsai or miniature garden
English landscape garden
Gardens of the French Renaissance
French formal garden
French landscape garden
Types of garden:
Cold Frame Garden
Raised bed gardening
Square foot garden
Environmental impacts of gardens
Gardeners may cause environmental damage by the way they garden, or they may enhance their local
environment. Damage by gardeners can include direct destruction of natural habitats when houses
and gardens are created; indirect habitat destruction and damage to provide garden materials such as
peat, rock for rock gardens, and by the use of tapwater to irrigate gardens; the death of living beings in
the garden itself, such as the killing not only of slugs and snails but also their predators such as
hedgehogs and song thrushes by metaldehyde slug killer; the death of living beings outside the
garden, such as local species extinction by indiscriminate plant collectors; and climate change caused
by greenhouse gases produced by gardening.
Some gardeners manage their gardens without using any water from outside the garden, and
therefore do not deprive wetland habitats of the water they need to survive. Examples in Britain include
Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight, and parts of Beth Chatto's garden in Essex, Sticky Sticky
Wicket in Dorset, and the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens at Harlow Carr and Hyde Hall. Rain
gardens absorb rainfall falling onto nearby hard surfaces, rather than sending it into stormwater drains.
For irrigation, see rainwater, sprinkler system, drip irrigation, tap water, greywater, hand pump and
Wildlife in gardens
Chris Baines's classic book 'How to make a wildlife garden' was first published in 1985, and is still a
good source of advice on how to create and manage a wildlife garden.
Climate change and gardens
Climate change will have many impacts on gardens, most of them negative, and these are detailed in
'Gardening in the Global Greenhouse' by Richard Bisgrove and Paul Hadley. Gardens also contribute
to climate change. Greenhouse gases can be produced by gardeners in many ways. The three main
greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Gardeners produce carbon dioxide
directly by overcultivating soil and destroying soil carbon, by burning garden 'waste' on bonfires, by
using power tools which burn fossil fuel or use electricity generated by fossil fuels, and by using peat.
Gardeners produce methane by compacting the soil and making it anaerobic, and by allowing their
compost heaps to become compacted and anaerobic. Gardeners produce nitrous oxide by applying
excess nitrogen fertiliser when plants are not actively growing so that the nitrogen in the fertiliser is
converted by soil bacteria to nitrous oxide. Gardeners can help to prevent climate change in many
ways, including the use of trees, shrubs, ground cover plants and other perennial plants in their
gardens, turning garden 'waste' into soil organic matter instead of burning it, keeping soil and compost
heaps aerated, avoiding peat, switching from power tools to hand tools or changing their garden
design so that power tools are not needed, and using nitrogenfixing plants instead of nitrogen
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