English Gardens in Your Own Backyard
If you feel as if London is calling or want to bring a bit of British distinction to your own backyard, a quaint yet sophisticated English garden might be just your style. This gardening style dates back to the first century A.D., and today, it can be found in some of the most famous botanical gardens as well as family yards of all sizes across the globe. British gardens are well manicured and contain carefully sculpted hedges and lots of open spaces that mimic park-like settings. Incorporate fresh herbs to pick, a vegetable garden to harvest and blooming perennials that fill the air with inviting scents to create your own perfect spot for meditating, socializing or noontime tea and cakes.
Geometrical Shapes in an English Garden
When implementing an English garden into your own landscape, geometrical shapes play a critical role. Create flow with winding gravel pathways that mimic long ovals lined with short, rectangular shaped hedges and shrubs. Add circles with pavers, bird baths, archways and water features. Finish off your garden with triangular features including cone shaped shrubs, topiaries or decorative garden gnomes and statues.
Flowers in an English Garden
Flowers are not the main focal point of this style of gardening, but they are almost always found in English gardens. Most include a colorful selection of perennials and annuals used sparingly throughout the design. Place low growing flowers along sunny pathways, surrounded by well manicured shrubs and bushes. This will add color and interest to your garden and lend to the visual appeal. Include a variety of perennials such as:
- Bee Balm
Mix in some annuals for good measure. Excellent choices include marigolds and pansies. For flowers that are not of the ground loving varieties, climb vines along a trellis, fence or railing to really make your garden stand out.
No English garden would be complete without beautiful roses, so make sure to plant several in your own space. Plant rows of roses throughout your garden, or create a beautiful archway enhanced by blooming vines. Include a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink and red, and consider adding different varieties including the Knockout Rose, English Rose and the Fairy Rose.
Water Features and Foot Bridges
Most English Gardens prominently display beautiful water features. If you have the room, consider adding a small pond filled with a selection of water plants and goldfish. If your space is limited, add a wooden foot bridge that crosses over a circle of smaller stones to create the illusion of a water feature. This makes for a tranquil addition to your garden and gives a respectful nod to old English traditions.
Open, Grassy Areas
Since English Gardens are designed to be outdoor living spaces, open grassy spaces play an important role. Think of your grass as an outdoor carpet, the space where your family will enjoy a game of croquet, place a blanket on for a family picnic or kick their shoes off on to while enjoying an afternoon cup of tea and crumb cake. If you don’t want to do a lot of mowing, keep your grassy areas smaller but don’t leave them out entirely. Surround them with interesting, taller hedges and archways or add decorative features like fountains and bird baths to break grass apart into outdoor “rooms” and shape the different areas of your garden space.
Furniture for Your English Garden
English Gardens are meant to be enjoyed, and in order to do that, it is important to carefully place pieces of furniture, inviting your guests to sit and stay awhile. Add a bench beside a cozy flowerbed or underneath a large shade tree to create an inviting reading nook. Strategically place a gazebo at the end of a long walkway to create a space for shade and relaxing. Add a table and chairs for teatime enjoyment, or incorporate child-sized furniture for the youngest members of your family. Think “shabby chic” when choosing materials and colors for your furniture, and make sure to add enough pieces so that your space is comfortable without going overboard and allowing furniture to take over the garden.
An English Garden is a beautiful addition to any home, but designing one correctly does take a bit of time, research and skill. This style of garden is a study in contrasts and contains a variety of natural elements including stones, flowers and meticulously sculpted hedges. To create a design that is symmetrical, attractive and inviting, many find the assistance of a knowledgeable landscaping artist to be a worthy investment. Whether you go that route or take on the design on your own, and English Garden will be unique, one of a kind and a tranquil, soft and inviting space that pays homage to a centuries-old tradition, right in your own backyard.