9 Victorian Back garden Design and style Strategies

Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Garden

With the progress of industrialization, advances in science and engineering, and the fascination with innovation and exotic places, the Victorian Age grew to become a time of huge creativity and experimentation in the yard. “As community gardens turned additional commonplace both of those in England and the U.S., additional individuals fell in really like with gardening,” states Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Yard beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “The developing center course now experienced the leisure time and disposable cash flow to fill their gardens.”

Components of Victorian design nevertheless add class and whimsy to modern-day gardens. “You do not require to recreate an complete Victorian yard to get the sense,” suggests Leslie Harris, licensed horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Backyard garden. “You can incorporate solitary factors or style and design a corner of your backyard with these features with no overwhelming your area.”

Right here are the most enduring Victorian back garden style traditions in addition guidelines for how to make them element of your very own garden.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate shapes were a normal in Victorian gardens. Ordinarily, topiary was a official component in huge estate gardens and was viewed as a image of standing. “You experienced to demonstrate off,” states Rizzo. “Your backyard was in level of competition with other individuals, and backyard garden designers vied with every other for commissions from wealthy clients.”

Plant this look: If you are not all set to use a total-time gardener or deal with the common maintenance of topiary, take into account adding crops that keep their symmetrical types without trimming, these types of as spherical shrubs.

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Tropical and Exotic Plants

Driven by elevated exploration and journey, gardeners experienced more access to a range of new and unique vegetation from all over the planet. “Plant explorers introduced back again unique new seeds and specimens to show at house below glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, whilst plant breeders experimented with new vegetation,” says Harris. Tropicals, and specifically ferns, were immensely well-liked and gave an exotic flair to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its peak in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the world to aid this new interest.

Plant this seem: Display screen potted tropicals, these as parlor palm, a Victorian beloved, in containers all around your patio or indoors. Or, plant ferns outdoor in shady parts of the backyard garden.


For the Victorians, more was also more! “It was definitely about an explosion of colors,” says Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with bold, vibrant hues showcased new crops.” There wasn’t just one sort of plant used, but preferred flowers bundled dahlias, roses, petunias, and primarily geraniums. Cottage gardens, which put together flowers and edibles in an casual manner, also evolved towards the conclusion of the Victorian age.

Plant this search: As a substitute of concentrating on a certain, restrained shade plan, plant a lot of various shades of flowers in containers and beds to deliver a sense of unrestrained joy to your backyard.


“Tightly-planted yard beds had been laid out with lots of colour and pattern,” states Rizzo. “There was a tight ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare ground visible. Ordinarily, there ended up 2 to 3 species of flowers in the bed to variety a geometric sample. Generally, you’d cram in as many vegetation as doable to achieve a mosaic influence.” The method also from time to time is referred to as carpet bedding since the layout resembles a patterned rug.

Plant this search: Tightly plant a container for an quickly lush experience, or make tiny geometrically-formed beds.

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Garden Structures

While statues were portion of earlier back garden types from Italy and France, the Victorian garden also showcased statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all sorts, claims Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, wherever citrus trees have been guarded from cold weather conditions, also were section of quite a few Victorian gardens.

Plant this seem: Integrate a several attractive pieces to punctuate your backyard garden, such as a pair of urns, which do not automatically have to have planted to include design.

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Wrought iron grew to become particularly well-liked and was frequently utilized in fencing or ornamental benches. On large estates, benches gave you a area to relaxation and admire the yard, says Rizzo.

Plant this seem: A garden bench is generally a great way to prevent and admire the views. Also, you can use parts of salvaged iron fencing as accents or backdrops in planting beds if you don’t want to fence an total region.

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Estate houses would characteristic a significant outside fountain, but a cottage backyard may well incorporate a fowl tub or two, says Harris.

Plant this glance: Smaller wrought iron or concrete birdbaths offer a contact of Victoriana with out requiring a backyard garden overhaul.

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Victorian cottage garden design incorporates several various types of bouquets and edibles, and the Victorians experienced a particular adore for fragrant crops these as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, states Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Backyard in Richmond, Virginia.

Add this appear: Scented crops are by no means out of type simply because fragrance adds yet another layer of pleasure to your backyard. Plant them in containers, along the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in big swaths.


Victorians established mini-habitats to showcase their freshly found crops, this sort of as alpine crops and ferns, claims Harris. The plan was to mimic what you’d uncover in a organic environment on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Insert this glimpse: Whilst you may possibly not be capable to renovate your backyard into a mini-mountainside, you can develop a smaller rock backyard with crops tucked between strategically and artistically put rocks.

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