Formal Gardens are the representation of man’s dominance over nature. Like the name says, planting in a formal garden is done following a geometry and symmetry so much characteristic in the classical art. In fact, the best examples of this type of gardens can be found in Italy, France or Austria.
The ordered gardens provided a setting for the wealthy and powerful families across Europe featuring their majestic houses and palaces. Although the most known formal gardens are very big like Versailles, the principles of this style can be applied to any garden size.
The main design pattern that must be followed for a successful formal garden is the central axis. From this axis, the planting and structures should be designed symmetrically.
Key elements in formal gardens
- Symmetry: The most important aspect of a formal garden is it symmetry. This can be created at any scale;
- Topiary: clipped plants are used to create order, define space and give an architectural design to the garden. Yew or Box are the most popular evergreens to create this effect;
- Ornaments: Large pots and statuary are often used to add focal points and interest to the garden.
Formal gardens are usually associated to old classical gardens, but modern formal gardens use the same principals, although using different ornaments, paving materials and lighting.