4 Basic Styles of Garden

       The style of the garden holds a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which gardening can be worked out. There are basically four styles of gardening that are followed to establish any garden. A brief of them is given below.

Basic Styles of Gardens (toc)

Formal style

1. Plans are made on paper and then lands are selected accordingly. 

2. Leveling of land should be done.

3. It is usually based on mathematically arranged geometric shapes (circles, squares rectangular, and ellipses).

4. It can either be classical or modern in style.

5. They are usually small to medium in size. 

6. An axis or central line is the basis of the garden plan.

7. Ideally, such gardens face due north or due south to achieve matched planting.

8. It has an East-West orientation.


Key Features of Formal Style Gardens

1. The outlay is symmetric with squares/rectangles and roads and paths running across at right angles.

2. Generally enclosed by the boundary.

3. Flower beds also have geometric designs as in carpets.

4. The arrangement of trees and shrubs is kept necessarily geometric.

5. Hedges, edges, shrubbery, and trees are kept in shape by trimming and training.

6. Trees can be selected as specimens.

7. Features like fountains, statues, pools, cascades, etc. are used for further attraction.

    E.g. American, Chinese, French, Mughal, and Persian gardens.


Informal Style

1. Here the garden elements are set up in an informal style.

2. It makes the garden look very natural. 

3. No symmetry is maintained in the design.

4. There is always an element of surprise at places to walk through the whole garden.

5. Much more variety of elements is used.

6. Each part of the garden looks amazingly different.

7. Elements like umbrellas, seats, cascades, rockery, water pool, etc. are used.


Key Features of Informal Style Gardens

1. This style is natural and holistic.

2. It is a contrast to the formal style. 

3. Aim is to capture natural scenery.

4. Leveling of land is not required.

5. Plan is asymmetric according to the land available for making the garden. 

6. Smooth curvaceous outlines are more applied.

7. Non-geometrical beds and borders.

8. Hedges, edges, and borders are not trimmed.

9. Trees are not used as specimens.

10. Water bodies are more irregular in shape.

11. Hillocks, waterfalls, lakes, islands, cascades, rocks, and rustic hutments may be provided to create a countryside effect. 

12. Approximately grouped plants provide spontaneity and they are not trimmed.

13. All the garden elements and adornments can successfully be used in this style without any restrictions.

      E.g. Chinese, English, and Japanese gardens.



1. A new approach to gardening that allows developing a garden with what is on hand.

2. This style combines the good point of both formal and informal as well a

naturalistic features are aesthetically mixed to create a picturesque effect.

3. In freestyle formality and the flatness of all geometrical styles are included along with the freedom in applying the treatment while choosing the essentials of different styles.

4. This style is suited to almost all situations.


Key Features of Freestyle Gardens

1. Curved paths with both regular and irregular shapes.

2. Non-geometrical beds and borders.

3. Well-defined borders with hedges and edges.

4. Close to naturalistic garden design.

5. More flowing shapes.

6. Less regulated and controlled planting.

7. Softly curved patterns.

8. Mix of both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs. 

    E.g. Rose Garden of Ludhiana (Punjab, India).



1. William Robinson gave the concept of wild style of gardening.

2. Aim is to make a garden more beautiful and natural

3. The concept of a wild garden is against formalism.

4. Such gardens are laid out for more agreeable communication with nature.

5. Wide variety of trees, shrubs, and creepers are used in a natural way. 

6. No formal rules are followed and plants are allowed to grow in their natural shapes.


Key Features of Wild Style Gardens

1. Grasses remain unmowed as in nature and bulbous plants are grown scattered in the grass to create a wild effect.

2. Ornamental trees and shrubs are planted in forest flora and creepers are allowed to grow over the trees.

3. Hardy flowers that thrive much better in rough places are planted.

4. Fine-leafed plants, ferns, flowers, climbers, grasses, and trailing shrubs relieve each other in the wild-style garden where they give a natural picturesque scene.

5. The passage to the garden is generally opened in woodland. 6. Wild garden style is attempted where a vast area is available.

7. Such a garden combines a pleasing blend of beauty and utility with ecological and environmental needs.

    E.g. Highline Park (New York).

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