May 25, 2024


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9 Victorian Garden Design Ideas

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Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Backyard

With the expansion of industrialization, advancements in science and technology, and the fascination with innovation and exotic destinations, the Victorian Age grew to become a time of immense creativity and experimentation in the yard. “As public gardens grew to become extra prevalent both of those in England and the U.S., more persons fell in really like with gardening,” claims Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Backyard beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Yard. “The rising center class now had the leisure time and disposable earnings to fill their gardens.”

Aspects of Victorian structure still include magnificence and whimsy to fashionable gardens. “You do not need to have to recreate an total Victorian back garden to get the experience,” says Leslie Harris, certified horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Yard. “You can incorporate solitary things or design a corner of your garden with these attributes without having frustrating your room.”

Here are the most enduring Victorian garden style traditions additionally guidelines for how to make them component of your have backyard.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate designs were a normal in Victorian gardens. Customarily, topiary was a official aspect in large estate gardens and was viewed as a image of position. “You had to demonstrate off,” states Rizzo. “Your garden was in competition with other folks, and back garden designers vied with each and every other for commissions from rich consumers.”

Plant this glance: If you’re not all set to employ the service of a whole-time gardener or deal with the regular upkeep of topiary, contemplate adding crops that keep their symmetrical varieties without the need of trimming, such as round shrubs.

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Tropical and Unique Plants

Driven by elevated exploration and travel, gardeners had a lot more access to a selection of new and exclusive vegetation from all around the entire world. “Plant explorers introduced back again unique new seeds and specimens to exhibit at dwelling below glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, even though plant breeders experimented with new vegetation,” suggests Harris. Tropicals, and specially ferns, had been immensely common and gave an exotic flair to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its height in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the globe to help this new interest.

Plant this glance: Display potted tropicals, this kind of as parlor palm, a Victorian beloved, in containers all-around your patio or indoors. Or, plant ferns outdoor in shady locations of the backyard.


For the Victorians, additional was also a lot more! “It was definitely about an explosion of shades,” says Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with bold, dazzling hues showcased new crops.” There wasn’t just 1 style of plant made use of, but popular bouquets included dahlias, roses, petunias, and especially geraniums. Cottage gardens, which blended flowers and edibles in an casual way, also advanced toward the close of the Victorian age.

Plant this look: Rather of focusing on a precise, restrained colour plan, plant lots of distinct colors of flowers in containers and beds to bring a feeling of unrestrained pleasure to your backyard.


“Tightly-planted backyard garden beds have been laid out with loads of coloration and pattern,” claims Rizzo. “There was a restricted ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare floor noticeable. Normally, there were 2 to 3 species of flowers in the mattress to form a geometric pattern. Mainly, you’d cram in as numerous crops as feasible to achieve a mosaic result.” The technique also sometimes is referred to as carpet bedding because the style resembles a patterned rug.

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

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Garden Structures

When statues were part of earlier backyard designs from Italy and France, the Victorian garden also featured statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all types, states Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, in which citrus trees were being guarded from chilly weather, also were portion of several Victorian gardens.

Plant this glance: Incorporate a few ornamental items to punctuate your backyard garden, this sort of as a pair of urns, which do not necessarily need to have planted to add model.

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Wrought iron turned primarily well known and was typically employed in fencing or ornamental benches. On substantial estates, benches gave you a position to relaxation and admire the backyard garden, says Rizzo.

Plant this appear: A back garden bench is normally a fantastic way to halt and admire the sights. Also, you can use parts of salvaged iron fencing as accents or backdrops in planting beds if you don’t want to fence an overall space.

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Estate properties would aspect a large out of doors fountain, but a cottage yard may well incorporate a chicken tub or two, claims Harris.

Plant this appear: Smaller wrought iron or concrete birdbaths offer you a touch of Victoriana with out requiring a backyard overhaul.

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Victorian cottage backyard garden design and style features a lot of distinctive sorts of flowers and edibles, and the Victorians had a specific like for fragrant plants such as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, suggests Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Incorporate this search: Scented plants are hardly ever out of design and style simply because fragrance adds another layer of enjoyment to your backyard garden. Plant them in containers, together the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in huge swaths.

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Victorians created mini-habitats to showcase their newly uncovered plants, such as alpine crops and ferns, claims Harris. The plan was to mimic what you’d find in a natural environment on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Add this seem: Although you could not be equipped to renovate your back garden into a mini-mountainside, you can make a tiny rock backyard with plants tucked amongst strategically and artistically placed rocks.

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