In landscape gardening an overall aesthetic effect is sought, usually to enhance dwellings, public buildings, and monuments and to integrate and beautify parks, playgrounds, and fairgrounds. Formal landscaping involves artificial modifications of the terrain and emphasizes balanced plantings and geometrical design; the naturalistic style incorporates plantings with the natural scenery.
Ornamental gardening and landscape gardening are ancient arts. The Egyptians built formal walled gardens, and the Mesopotamians constructed private parks and terraced gardens—usually on artificial mounds or supported by columns, as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Persians were especially skilled in using water for decorative effects; the Moors carried Middle Eastern styles to Spain. In the East the planting of sacred groves was spread by the Buddhists from India to China and set a style there for naturalistic gardens, in which the beauty of the natural scenery was accentuated by distributing plants so as to allow them free growth and set off their colors and fragrances to best advantage. The Japanese adopted this principle and elaborated it into a distinct style of highly disciplined arrangements of plants and their settings with the object of achieving subtle beauty based on economy and simplicity. The Japanese art of bonsai gave rise to the unique miniature gardens and dish gardens.
In Europe landscape gardening was highly developed under the Roman Empire; formal gardens, often terraced and adorned with statuary and fountains, were designed by architects. The Crusaders brought back from the East new gardening techniques that gave great impetus to horticulture in Western Europe. During the Renaissance the classical style was revived in Italy; the Italian gardens, planned by leading artists, sometimes went to extremes of formality and decor, among them those employing elaborate waterworks displays (see fountain). The Italian style was widely imitated. In Spain the Italian influence was modified by Moorish features. In turn, the Spaniards and the Portuguese introduced their ideas in the Americas, where these techniques were combined with the already well-developed Aztec and Inca traditions. The Dutch, famous for the development of the nursery, were noted also for their topiary work, an art practiced earlier by the Romans. France became the leader in formal landscaping; the work of André Le Nôtre is exemplified in the gardens of Versailles. In the 18th cent. England inaugurated a revival of the naturalistic trend under such leaders as William Kent, Capability Brown, and Humphrey Repton.
The 19th cent. brought a partial reversion to formal landscaping and an interest in horticulture as well as in design. American landscape artists generally followed the example of the English masters. Landscaping, especially of public parks and buildings, was stimulated by the work of A. J. Downing, Calvert Vaux, and F. L. Olmsted and his son. Today landscape gardening stresses practical as well as aesthetic design, selecting from a wealth of gardening traditions and emphasizing casual, naturalistic effects.
Vegetable, herb, and fruit growing (see orchard and vineyard) have become more the province of large-scale agriculture as advanced marketing techniques have threatened the family farm. Home vegetable gardening provided a major source of food during the emergency conditions of both world wars, however, and has been a popular hobby ever since.
See also garden city.
See E. Hyams, A History of Gardens and Gardening (1971); D. Wyman, Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia (new exp. 2d ed. 1986); P. Thompson, Creative Propagation: A Grower's Guide (1989); J. Barton, Gardening by Mail (3d ed. 1990); A. Lacey, The Garden in Autumn (1990); F. G. Barth Insects and Flowers: The Biology of a Partnership (1991); C. T. Erler, The Garden Problem Solver (1994); J. E. Ingels, Ornamental Horticulture (1994); E. Clarke, Three Seasons of Summer: Gardening with Annuals and Biennials (1999); G. Rice, Discovering Annuals (1999).
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form is known as a residential garden. Western gardens are almost universally based around plants. Zoos, which display wild animals in simulated natural habitats, were formerly called zoological gardens.
See traditional types of eastern gardens, such as Zen gardens, use plants such as parsley. Xeriscape gardens use local native plants that do not require irrigation or extensive use of other resources while still providing the benefits of a garden environment. Gardens may exhibit structural enhancements, sometimes called follies, including water features such as fountains, ponds (with or without fish), waterfalls or creeks, dry creek beds, statuary, arbors, trellises and more.
Some gardens are for ornamental purposes only, while some gardens also produce food crops, sometimes in separate areas, or sometimes intermixed with the ornamental plants. Food-producing gardens are distinguished from farms by their smaller scale, more labor-intensive methods, and their purpose (enjoyment of a hobby rather than produce for sale).
Gardening is the activity of growing and maintaining the garden. This work is done by an amateur or professional gardener. A gardener might also work in a non-garden setting, such as a park, a roadside embankment, or other public space. Landscape architecture is a related professional activity with landscape architects tending to specialise in design for public and corporate clients.
The term "garden" in British English refers to an enclosed area of land, usually adjoining a building. This would be referred to as a yard in American English. Flower gardens combine plants of different heights, colors, textures, and fragrances to create interest and delight the senses.
Garden design is the creation of plans for layout and planting of gardens and landscapes. Garden design may be done by the garden owner themselves, or by professionals. Most professional garden designers are trained in principles of design and in horticulture, and have an expert knowledge and experience of using plants. Some professional garden designers are also landscape architects, a more formal level of training that usually requires an advanced degree and often a state license. Elements of garden design include the layout of hard landscape, such as paths, rockeries, walls, water features, sitting areas and decking, as well as the plants themselves, with consideration for their horticultural requirements, their season-to-season appearance, lifespan, growth habit, size, speed of growth, and combinations with other plants and landscape features. Consideration is also given to the maintenance needs of the garden, including the time or funds available for regular maintenance, which can affect the choices of plants regarding speed of growth, spreading or self-seeding of the plants, whether annual or perennial, and bloom-time, and many other characteristics.
The most important consideration in garden design is how the garden will be used, followed closely by the desired stylistic genres, and the way the garden space will connect to the home or other structures in the surrounding areas. All of these considerations are subject to the limitations of the budget. Budget limitations can be addressed by a simpler garden style with fewer plants and less costly hardscape materials, seeds rather than sod for lawns, and plants that grow quickly; alternately, garden owners may choose to create their garden over time, area by area.
The elements of a garden consist of the following:
Natural conditions and materials:
A garden can have aesthetic, functional, and recreational uses:
Gardens may feature a particular plant or plant type(s);
Gardens may feature a particular style or aesthetic:
Types of garden:
Other outdoor spaces that are similar to gardens include: