Although there is no true definition of a ‘Classical’ or ‘Traditional’ garden there are some common features of design that are often used. Flower beds and borders, hedges and lawns are all common features in a traditional garden design. Planting is often far more diverse than in contemporary or modern garden design.
Traditional gardens can be subdivided into many categories such as romantic, formal, cottage, French or Mediterranean.
Some traditional gardens are formal in style and use strong symmetry in the layout of paths, borders and beds. Other traditional or classical styles such at Cottage gardens, have more informality and often use very little symmetry in the layout.
What are the characteristics and features of Traditional or Classical Garden Design:
It is not easy to set out standard characteristics of a traditional style of garden as this is really an umbrella phrase that covers everything from formal English, French or Italian styles, to relaxed cottage, woodland or wild gardens. However some of the common characteristics might be:
Emphasis on plants and planting
Use of the natural features of the landscape such as trees, slopes, ponds and hedges
Frequent use of ornamental features, such as elaborate pots, planters and sculpture
A strong feeling of symmetry in formal styles of garden
Strong use of traditional materials such as brick and natural stone
A tendency to have softer, more blurred edges
Features such as lawns, planted beds and borders and shrubberies.
What style of property does a traditional garden design best work with?
The design of a traditional garden is often dictated by the style of the property to which it is attached, city or town house, rural cottage or grand country property.
If a property is in a conservation area the garden design may need to comply with local planning regulations and need planning permission. Often the garden design will need to use materials and finishes which are in keeping with the period of the property.
What are the advantages of traditional gardens over contemporary gardens?
One of the considerations you may want to make when deciding on the design of your garden will be the pros and cons of certain specific styles.
The advantages of garden designs in a traditional style:
A traditional style can be very fluid and adaptable and can accommodate many features and challenges found in your garden. It may be that the site is a difficult shape, sloping, long, narrow, short or triangular. It could be that the garden is damp and shaded, exposed and windy or has fixed features that can’t be changed such as ponds, walls and steps. A traditional garden style can adapt to many restrictions or challenges.
Adaptable to changing needs: As the occupants of the property grow, age and have changing needs, so the garden can be changed. Traditional gardens can allow many adaptations without the need for substantial landscaping changes.
Ageing and maturing: Trees, shrubs and hedges are living structures that grow and change over the years. A well-planned traditional garden will allow for such natural changes.
The disadvantages of traditional style garden designs:
Although very adaptable, traditional garden designs can have some drawbacks.
Maintenance and care: herbaceous perennials, shrubs, lawns and trees all need care and attention. If they are left, they can become overgrown, wild and unruly or simply deteriorate and die.
Time & money: Either you or a gardener will need to spend time maintaining the garden which will require an investment in time or money.
However, in reality, a well-planned traditional garden will take into account all of your needs and restrictions and be a wonderful space to relax and enjoy.
Would you like to discuss designing a traditional garden for you home?
Classic & Traditional garden designs completed for clients.
Classical Garden Crouch End
Following an architect’s redesign of their house and garden, our clients asked us to advise on the renovation of the remaining planting. Working with a palette of white and pink flowering plants, we added luscious hydrangeas, palms and beautiful David Austin roses to create planting which is both elegant and exotic.
Classical Garden Hampstead
We were asked to design the garden of this beautiful Grade II listed building, which had become rather overgrown. Our scheme is sympathetic to the traditional style of the house and incorporates several existing mature plants such as camellia and a spectacular fig tree. We added topiary to give evergreen structure and under planted with perennials and spring flowering bulbs to create interest throughout the year.
Classical Family Garden Mill Hill, London
This garden was redesigned as a part of the major refurbishment of this beautiful Mill Hill house. Our clients wanted their garden to be a large entertaining space, combined with a family friendly scheme. Our large, curved patio terrace uses brick which complements the traditional style of the property. The porcelain paving is low maintenance and mirrors the contemporary internal styling.
Ealing Show Garden Front Planting
We were also commissioned to design the planting for the front garden of this exclusive London property development. The site benefits from a warm, south facing garden which we filled with sun loving lavender, evergreen blue grasses, purple geranium and exotic Phormium. The scheme gives the garden year round structure and interest, thus ensuring that prospective buyers always have an excellent first impression of the house.
Garden Suburb Family Garden Design
Architects working on this Hampstead Garden Suburb property brought us in to redesign this large established garden. We created a new terrace to complement the extension to the property and reshaped lawns and borders to open the garden up. Our planting scheme utilises many of the mature existing shrubs and is designed to give year round interest and colour.
Golders Green Family Garden
Our clients wanted to redesign their garden to create a safe, interesting place for their young children, combined with a relaxing space for the adults. Making use of the existing ground levels, we designed a raised area at the back of the garden, home to an outdoor blackboard, sandpit and log stepping stones. The deck, carefully sited in the sunniest spot in the garden, gives mum and dad a relaxing seating area.
Hampstead Courtyard Garden
This sheltered London courtyard garden had great potential but was overlooked and lacked colour. We installed bespoke squared trellis screens to give added privacy, which were complemented by classical wooden planters in a matching colour. We then created a soft, pretty planting scheme which combines blue and white flowering plants with structural shrubs to give colour and interest throughout the year.
Traditional Family Garden in Hampstead
The back garden of this grade II listed home needed to be sympathetically redesigned, in order to respect the character of the property, whilst updating for the 21st century. We created new patio entertaining areas using buff sandstone paving combined with traditional clay bricks. Mature specimen plants in the existing garden, including a stunning Wisteria, were carefully retained and new planting added to create interest around the year.