Formal garden style


Lesson 06:Landscape Styles

Formal garden style

  • The idea of formal style gardening is as old as primitive man when he started construction of houses for living. His houses were built in square, rectangular or sometimes in circular shapes. The geometrical formalism brought orderliness to his immediate surroundings.
  • Symmetry is the main characteristic of formal garden style.
  • The Persian gardens, the Moorish gardens of Spain, Mughal gardens and Italian gardens were formal in design.
  • Geometrical formalism also influenced the French and British gardens of the pre-Industrial Revolution.
  • In the formal design, the land is forced to fit the plan.

  • Geometrically designed landscapes with trimmed hedges, paired flower beds, straight line planting and equal length
    of the sides of the area are the main features of formal or symmetrical gardening.
  • Formal treatment is best for small compounds where there is no room for a wide lawn or spreading tress.
  • The outline of the whole garden as well as the outline of different parts like flower beds, paths, hedges and lawns are of geometrical shape.
  • These shapes are normally square rectangular or circular.
  • Symmetry is calculated to afford harmonies and contrast in colour and a balanced whole, one half of the design the counterpart of the other.
  • Formal gardens are generally enclosed.

  • There can be many variations in the formal style, all more or less severe and set in appearance.
  • Upon a sloping site, leveling operations are usually desirable to obtain the best results and this leveling usually creates the necessity for retaining walls and steps.
  • Depending upon the availability of space, some of the features like lawns, water pools or tanks are used.
  • Water impounded in large pools is often used as a reflective surface. The central water body may have a fountain or a statue at the centre.
  • A well clipped topiary, straight pergolas, architectural statues and paved paths are generally included in the garden.
  • Attractive focal points at the terminals and intersections of paths and roads are essential to make such formal gardens more effective.
  • These gardens are, however, scarcely thought of in present day garden design, and are found mostly in the front portion of public buildings

Important features of a formal garden are

  • Characteristically elegant and ordered.
  • Balanced , well proportioned and strongly patterned
  • Typically include closely mown lawns, straight paths, neatly clipped hedges.
  • Well defined borders by low hedges or edging plants.
  • Roads and paths cut at right angle.
  • Balance is symmetrical as same feature replicated on both sides of central axis.
  • Trees can be selected as individual feature.
  • On the whole in a formal garden, which is generally introverted, the flower bed and pools are in geometrical shapes. It has a symmetrical balance in the design having garden ornaments like fountains, statues, benches, paved walks, hedges, edging, topiary and beautiful architectural features. Examples of formal gardens are Mughal, Persian, Italian, French, and American gardens.

Last modified: Saturday, 10 December 2011, 9:52 AM