Stuart (1603 – 1714)
During the Stuart period, British gardens moved away from Italian influences and, instead, followed the trends of France.
This was the time when a broad avenue sweeping up to a house, often lined with trees, became popular, alongside parterres, elaborate formal gardens, and expanses of water that could be used for pleasure boats. Topiary was also used to control nature as natural and wild gardens fell out of favour.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk, and Chastleton House, Oxfordshire, are both great places to visit if you’d like to see how a garden would have looked.
Georgian (1714 – 1837)
In the Georgian period, gardens started to become a little less formal. British landscaped parks influenced gardens throughout Europe.
Gardens no longer had straight, symmetrical designs, as paths curved through the landscape instead. This approach made houses a part of the surrounding landscape and favoured a more natural look when planting trees and creating lakes. It’s also during this period that gardeners began to add temples, grottos, and statues to visit while walking along the paths.
There are plenty of gardens you can visit and stroll around with Georgian features. Among them are Croome, Worcestershire, and Osterley Park and House, London.
Victorian (1837 – 1901)
During the Victorian period, interest in gardening really exploded.
There were lots of innovations that mixed formal gardens, exotic plants grown in greenhouses, and beautiful terraces. Bright colours and intricate designs were popular. But there was still demand for the wild, informal gardens of the Georgian period. Sometimes these distinct aesthetics were combined in the same garden.
Public parks and green spaces also started to grow during this time. These were often characterised by large open green spaces, ornamental lakes, elaborate flower beds, and woodlands.
If you’re interested in seeing a Victorian garden, you should plan a visit to Bodnant Garden, Conway, or Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire. The People’s Park in Halifax is also an excellent example of a public park created in 1857.
20th century (1901 – 1999)
Finally, in the 20th century, gardens were heavily influenced by the arts and crafts movement, which attempted to reform design and decoration in Britain.
These gardens combined formal and informal elements to create what’s often thought of as a traditional English cottage garden. Key features included borders filled with colourful plants, pergolas covered with climbing vines, and wildflower meadows.
Many properties across the UK feature styles from the 20th century to enjoy, such as Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, and The Courts Garden, Wiltshire.
Why our outdoor spaces are so important
Gardening or simply enjoying your outdoor space can have a positive effect on your wellbeing. According to the Office for National Statistics, 9 in 10 people agree that natural spaces are good for their mental health and wellbeing.
Creating a garden that you love can provide you with an oasis to unwind and spend time with family. With spring arriving, now is the perfect time to plan some gardening projects – perhaps you’ll even draw inspiration from times past.