When you think of Georgian garden design, you often think of visions of big, big open spaces complementing even grander homes – maybe seen in the great British country houses or on Netflix Bridgeton.
It may seem difficult to successfully transfer ideas used on such a large scale to a more modest home garden; However, there are many design and planting ideas that you can take from that era and apply to a backyard today – regardless of its size.
Follow this advice from National Trust gardeners on how to take inspiration from Georgian gardens and incorporate some of the key features and planting styles into the garden ideas for your modern garden.
Georgian garden design – for every garden size
“Georgian garden landscapes used nature as a guide, aiming to offer new views and vistas at every turn, allowing a visitor to be constantly amazed by the diversity of the garden,” explains Rosie Fyles, Chief Gardener at the National Trust.
That doesn’t mean you need a large outdoor area to achieve the look – the following design elements can be incorporated into small garden ideas just as successfully.
1. Plan an informal garden design
“The layout and features of a Georgian garden are inspired by simplicity, nature and fun,” explains Rosie.
Although the Georgian garden appears to have a natural simplicity, it is in fact artificial, explains Katherine Alker, who is responsible for Croome’s magnificent landscaped garden, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and considered ‘one of the most innovatively landscaped landscapes in Britain “.
“Georgian landscapes were largely man-made, but they replicated natural features. Simple flower bed or garden path ideas that a home gardener could employ are curves and serpentine shapes. You don’t have to have straight edges on your borders and paths; Curves and contours create a more natural look,” she says.
Serpentine pathways running through a garden rather than straight paths add a more natural and simple feel to the design and guide the gaze through the landscape.
2. Add water features
Water feature ideas are an important part of Georgian garden design.
“A pool or water feature can add an extra layer to the ambience of your home garden,” explains Rosie.
“Capability Brown has created many curving, serpentine lakes, often with a clump of trees or an island at one end to give the impression that the lake goes on forever,” says Katherine.
“You could use a similar perspective trick on a garden pond that’s wider from the vantage point of your house window and then tapers, with the planting obscuring the endpoint,” she suggests.
3. Plant shrubs for seasonal interest
Shrubs were very popular among Georgian gardeners. “There was a ‘mania’ for American flowering shrubs and conifers in a Georgian garden,” says Andy Eddy, chief gardener at Osterley Park and House and an expert on Georgian plants and plants.
“Inspired by the plants that make their way into the UK from the US east coast, many of which bear the species name”Virginia’Georgian gardeners could extend the interest well into the fall with the colors these shrubs and trees have added,” explains Rosie.
“You can do this at home with a few well-chosen plants that are interesting in the fall. Choosing the Carolina Silver Bell, Halesia Carolinawould give you both spring and fall color Sassafras albidum or Halesia monticola.’
Enjoy your garden even in winter by including some of the best evergreen shrubs.
“Our evergreen shrubs at Croome attract winter interest and are relatively easy to care for. Try to create an interesting border using only evergreens – and it doesn’t have to be all conifers – to create different textures and moods, and to make more colorful parts of the garden appear all the brighter,” advises Katherine.
If you’re impatient to add interest to your garden, some of the best fast-growing shrubs will soon fill it with color and texture.
4. Mix productive plants with ornamental plants
“Georgian gardeners were thrifty and imaginative – they might have pretty flowers in their gardens, but there were also a lot of useful plants,” says Rosie.
William Wordsworth’s garden, for example, is full of 18th-century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. Gardener Amanda Thackeray explains that in city gardens of the time, people would have transplanted ornamental plants, shrubs and roses with productive plants such as herbs.
Planting in garden beds and borders was informal and naturalistic, with an emphasis on perennials and biennials.
“They liked plants with many uses. Good King Henry – Chenopodium bonus henricus — also known as poor people’s asparagus, was used as a dye to fatten chickens and the young stalks were eaten like broccoli,” says Amanda.
You can follow suit by looking for pollen-rich aromatic herbs like catnip, lavender, and herbs like golden marjoram that look beautiful and authentic and also help encourage bumblebees and butterflies as a wild garden idea.
“Georgian gardeners were keen on some of the best fruit trees, especially apples. To maximize space in your garden, try growing a trellis against a wall,” says Rosie.
In terms of rose garden ideas, old-fashioned fragrant strains would be a good, personable choice. Or choose for an authentic feel but with the benefits of modern plant breeding – such as B. Disease resistance – a multiflowering shrub rose.
5. Use elements and plants to frame the garden view
“Georgian garden design tends to avoid physical barriers such as walls or fences whenever possible, to allow for unobstructed views,” explains Rosie.
Plants and features are used to frame, screen, and focus garden views.
You can recreate this idea in a city garden on a smaller scale using borrowed views. “For example, if there’s an interesting tree in a neighbor’s backyard, consider a lower, fast-growing hedge or lower planting to broaden your view and avoid an abrupt ‘end’ to your own yard,” suggests Katherine in front.
“Eyecatchers” – something artificial that is placed in the landscape as a focal point – are often used in Georgian garden design. Like here in Kedleston, where the sight of an urn partially obscured by plants encourages you to look around the landscape.
“An eye-catcher can be more modest. You could do the same thing with an object like a bird feeder or a small seating area,” says Rosie.
What is a Georgian Garden?
A Georgian garden can range from large, open landscapes with many views, such as those designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century, to compact city gardens such as Mompesson, which are tended in a Georgian style.
What did Georgian gardens look like?
There are different styles of Georgian gardens but there are certain elements that they would have had.
“Similar to today’s gardeners, Georgian “practical” gardeners tried different and new things. They were enthusiastic about the introduction of new plants; straight lines became curved; Materials such as brick and stone have been reused and repurposed; Lawns were labor intensive, so small, or maybe none at all; They borrowed views and looked beyond their confines and the planting was mixed,” explains Rosie.
If you’re trying to recreate a Georgian-style garden, “while you might opt for defined borders, even in a more formal form, try to keep the planting informal and naturalistic,” explains Colin Hayman, gardener at Mompesson.
“Experiment with the plants you choose by first creating a framework of perennials and then interplanting more freely. I doubt annual bedding was used,” adds Colin. “There would have been an emphasis on perennials and biennials, where people would have saved seeds and learned how to take rose cuttings and the like and grow from cuttings.”