This is a universal style, usually owing as much to the layout as to the choice of accessories. Geometry, balance and proportion are all part of this garden design style.

The formal style might have a terrace with balustrades, gracious steps, statuary, possibly a pavilion. A formal pool may reflect the symmetry of it all. Traditionally vistas will be defined by yew hedging, and punctuated with suitable statues or accessories.

There are lots of historical examples of formal gardens out there in the world, almost all of which now exist in a historical context.  The Hampton Court Palace Gardens in London are a relatively recently restored example.Formal gardens vary in style, shape and size depending on where in the world they are created.  A formal Japanese garden will for instance look a lot different to an English or French design.

A formal garden showing fountains, water, walkways and planting.

Jardins de s’Hort del Rei, Palma

They all have one thing in common though in that they tend to rely on a really high level of maintenance in order to complete their success.  Lines are generally clean and well defined, gravel areas are well raked or otherwise maintained, lawns are trimmed very regularly and hedges and key trees and shrubs are pruned to maintain a pre-defined shape. 

You will also find some great modern, or contemporary, formal gardens.  On my pages which explore some different types of garden I have outlined a challenge relating to the creation of a modern garden.  As an extension to that challenge, if you are interested in contemporary design, why don’t have a go at combining your skills to come up with a garden that is both truly modern and also formal in nature. If you want to have a look at the contemporary design challenge why not go there now, it’s towards the bottom of the page. 

If you would like to share the results of your work I’ll be very happy to publish them for you & to give you full credits for all of your work.  If you need any help or input along the way just let me know & I’ll do my best to assist you.  The conversation will help me to improve this site and I will never share your e-mail address or contact information with any other person, group or organisation.