How to Set up an English Garden

Thought to date back to the time of Roman occupation, the English garden has been a feature of many landscapes for centuries. It has evolved over the years into a distinct style of garden; knowing how to set up an English garden will help you achieve the grandeur and classic feel this garden evokes.


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    Draw a plan of your garden before you begin. Study photos of English gardens to collect ideas for your own garden design. Include layouts of your planting beds and types of flowers and shrubs. Be sure to locate on your diagram where you will place garden features.
    • Traditionally English gardens are rectangular or square in shape. Modern versions also allow for curving lines.
    • The English garden usually has a focal point of some sort such as a large statue, fountain, or bird bath.
    • Include formal wide straight pathways in your drawing. Paths can be made using pea gravel or brick as well as stone.
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    Keep a mixture of formal and informal features in your English garden. The structures, walkways, statuary, and hedges are kept formal while the flowers are lush and informal-looking.
    • Traditional perennial flowers such as lavender, phlox, veronica, foxglove, roses, delphinium and lupine are among plants you might consider.
    • Try placing taller plants to the rear of the flower bed and keep shorter plants to the front. At times, however, placing a taller plant at the front will add to an informal look.
    • Formal hedges such as boxwood are often used in the English garden. Hedges form outdoor rooms that are a part of the English garden tradition. It will be necessary to keep the hedges trimmed and looking well-groomed.
    • Lavender can be used if you want a less formal looking hedge.
    • Plant different shrubs together to form a tapestry hedge. Allow the limbs to weave into each other to form the tapestry effect.
    • Have a well designed color scheme in your English garden. Unlike cottage gardens where many varieties and colors of flowers are desired, the lush English garden is meant to be more controlled and have a more planned appearance.
    • Keep your English garden well kept. Remove yellow leaves and dead-head flowers past their prime.
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    Brick or stone walls can also be a part of the traditional English garden. The wall can be used instead of hedges to form a garden room.
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    Provide furniture throughout your English garden. Use trellises, statuary, tables, and seating made of wood, stone or wrought iron. Comfortable benches and chairs give comfortable places to relax and add to the traditional English garden look. Provide special spots to have a tea party or luncheon.
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    Include vegetables and herbs in your English garden. Place them in in a separate garden room or just let them mingle in with your other plants.
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    Consider adding a topiary as a focal point in your garden. Shrubs or ivy can trained or trimmed to form geometrical shapes or to look like animals.
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    Decide on how much lawn you want for your garden. A small patch of grass can be used to accent your garden if you don't want a lot of lawn to tend. Or you may want to have a large green lawn upon which to play games or have picnics.

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Categories: Gardening | Theme and Feature Gardens