6 Classic Estate Gardens for the Large-Property Owner

A large estate has traditionally been a chance for any avid gardener or outdoor lover to create something extraordinary. With acres and acres — or miles and miles — of land to play with, a variety of garden styles particular to big properties have developed over time. Modern estate owners can pluck ideas from these unique gardens, both formal and informal, to design their own garden of delights.

To help you find the right match for your large property, here are six styles of gardens classic to estates of all types.


1. Parterre

A parterre was a staple of grand estates in the past. It consists of a manicured garden in a formal style, largely designed to be viewed from the upper floors of a large house. Parterres were fashionable elements of Italian and French estates, and they symbolized control over nature as well as harmony with it.

Most parterres have carefully trimmed hedges that form dark lines — the skeleton of the garden — usually in a geometric shape or curved design. Pathways and lighter plants form a contrast.


2. Arboretum

An arboretum is a unique type of garden because it’s a tree garden. Various types of trees are planted in a large-scale, free-form garden, usually with plaques or markers labeling items in the garden. An arboretum might feature native trees or be filled with exotic varieties that require extra care.

Because of the large size of a tree garden and its wild appearance, arboreta are perfect for the farther distances of an estate where things have to be scaled up to be visible.


3. Knot Garden

A knot garden is a small, compact garden often set up within the boundaries of a wall. In contrast to most estate garden elements, a knot garden is designed to be viewed and enjoyed from close up.

Knot gardens are similar to parterres in that they consist of sculpted hedges in intricate designs, but they’re often less formal and usually in a square shape. They may contain herb plants, wildflowers, and hardscape features.


4. Kitchen Garden

Kitchen gardens were necessary elements of any home in past centuries, when fruits, vegetables, and herbs weren’t available to everyone at a corner market. The kitchen garden was an edible garden within easy reach from the kitchen. But even though you can buy most of these things more easily, many modern homeowners prefer to raise their own.


5. Maze

A maze (or labyrinth) is an ancient garden feature for those with plenty of room to spare. Mazes are usually made from solid box hedges and can be as intricate and large as your property allows. An interesting element should be at the center as a destination, although many labyrinths also host small surprises for guests walking in the maze.


6. Topiary  

Want something really out of the ordinary? Topiary gardens are whimsical and beautiful, filled with carefully pruned shrubs and trees made into just about any shape you wish. You could create a topiary zoo with shapes of bears, lions, giraffes, and deer.

Or you may want to create a formal garden with strict geometric shapes like circles and squares. Topiary gardens require regular care and pruning, so they’re great for advanced gardeners and those with larger maintenance crews.

Taking a cue from the great estate gardens of the past will help you design an outstanding space of your own. Whether you prefer the intimacy of a kitchen garden or knot garden or the grandeur of a parterre or arboretum, the end result will be a property you can be proud of for years to come.

At Garden Services, we have experience with all scales of landscape along with the needs of specific garden types. Call today to speak with our outdoor pros.