Formal Gardens

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Formal Gardens2021-01-12T05:16:42+00:00

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 Look

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.



In winter, golden brown leaves remain on the European beech (Fagus sylvatica) hedge brightening up this winter landscape.


Fagus yew Buxus boxwood formal estate modern garden min


With sophisitcated hedges, even a garage/storage building like shown here can be made less noticeable in a commercial landscape application.


Footpaths are neatly bordered in a knot garden style with boxwood (Buxus) hedges in this country garden.


Older European beech (Fagus sylvatica) hedges can be pruned to create shapes or even structures like this arch.


Older hedges like this European beech (Fagus sylvatica) can be trained to form an arch or gable.


Dense, evergreen, easily-maintained Hicks Yew hedges are the perfect choice for low, artistic borders.


taxus hicksii yew hedge border pond water feature formal garden modern contemporary estate topiary


An entryway or courtyard in a modern landscape can give an air of elegance with the use of well-manicured hedges.


A low boxwood (Buxus) hedge as well as a taller yew (Taxus) hedge can be used in conjunction with one another to create an outdoor courtyard.


Older hedges like this European beech (Fagus sylvatica) can be trained to form an arch or gable.


Knot gardens almost always showcase boxwood (Buxus) which looks very nice when interplanted with perennials and other flowering plants.


Large, sloping properties benefit from using hedges to add stabilize the soil as well as adding structure and beauty to the landscape


Historic homes and country settings can use low boxwood hedges to line paths and highlight courtyards and patios.


Beech hedges can be planted in blocks to create patterns to highlight other plants and sculptures.


This outdoor space is framed thoughtfully with well-maintained yew (Taxus) and laurel (Prunus) hedges.


This outdoor space is framed thoughtfully with well-maintained yew (Taxus) and laurel (Prunus) hedges.


In winter, the yew (Taxus) hedges in this European landscape are so elegant with a dusting of snow.


The sharp angles of this pond are mimicked and softened by the surrounding boxwood hedge.


Artistic symmetry can be implemented in a formal garden with the use of uniformly-grown boxwood (Buxus) InstantHedges.


A low boxwood (Buxus) hedge for a formal knot garden looks great with a mixed purple and green European beech (Fagus sylvatica) hedge.


Interplanting purple and green beech trees to form a multi-colored hedge creates a delightful backdrop.


A striking formal garden can be created using simply beech hedges of varying heights and colors


This garden room is made elegant and modern with the beech hedge design surrounding the seating area.


Mixing green and purple beech is a simple but highly effective way to create impact in the garden


Historic estates and parks can be revived using new boxwood hedges to create classic knot gardens


Create a calm, private garden area by surrounding with a solid Arborvitae hedge.


Public parks, botanical gardens, and historic estates can use low boxwood hedges for a simple yet extremely elegant design


Botanical gardens can use boxwood hedges to display other interesting plants to the best advantage


The clean lines of a boxwood hedge form the backbone behind the seasonal displays of perennials, annuals, and other flowering plants


This formal courtyard looks tidy with a perfectly uniform boxwood (Buxus) InstantHedge border and coniferous arborvitae (Thuja) privacy hedge.


With their dark green color and feathery texture, Hicks Yew hedges make excellent low borders that complement other plants and stone.


Government building areas and universities often have wide open areas for landscaping. Boxwood knot gardens provide year-round structure and interest.


A driveway framed by trees can be made even more distinguished with a hedge border behind.


A driveway framed by trees can be made even more distinguished with a hedge border behind.


An impressive knot garden can be planted in a day using InstantHedge boxwood units


The garden at this historic estate balances the whimsical topiaries near the house with acres of perfectly manicured boxwood hedges.


European beech (Fagus sylvatica) makes a stately background for displaying art in the garden.


Intricate designs such as this can be achieved almost instantly with a boxwood (Buxus) InstantHedge!


This cottage garden juxtaposes the wild, climing rose and untamed grasses against the carefully clipped boxwood hedges for a beautiful effect.


Hicks Yew makes a low-maintenance, dense hedge, perfect for creating maze gardens to delight the public.