To create a formal garden look people have been shaping hedges into crisp lines and geometric patterns for centuries.
Formal garden design includes:
- A tall border around the area, to define the space and provide privacy
- Low boxwood hedges planted in a clean pattern, creating paths that radiate out from a central spot
- Hardscaping elements like stone, gravel, sculptures, or water features (typically an element of interest is placed in the middle area where the paths meet)
- Accents like topiary shrubs or trees, flowering hedges (typically planned en masse and in a monochromatic palette to keep the design simple and clean)
Formal garden landscape designs may take on a very traditional, renaissance-type design, or they may be very modern. Modern and formal gardens often implement the same design principles of clean, geometric lines, so they blend well together.
Since formal garden elements are very simple, it is a style that can be adapted to any location. Country homes, suburban residences, urban rooftops, event venues, institutions like government or university buildings, public parks, botanical gardens, resorts, and more can all use formal gardens to their advantage.
Formal garden design techniques can also be applied to other spaces like entries and driveways, using the clean lines of hedges with accent plants shaped into columns or other topiaries.
Formal landscapes are usually a defined space, separate from the rest of a landscape, so they can be implemented in any type of garden without changing the feel of the overall design and giving the area a formal garden look.