October 5, 2022


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9 Victorian Backyard Design and style Strategies

Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Backyard garden

With the progress of industrialization, improvements in science and technological know-how, and the fascination with innovation and unique places, the Victorian Age turned a time of enormous creativeness and experimentation in the yard. “As community gardens grew to become additional common the two in England and the U.S., extra persons fell in really like with gardening,” suggests Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Garden beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “The escalating center class now experienced the leisure time and disposable cash flow to fill their gardens.”

Elements of Victorian design and style nevertheless add elegance and whimsy to modern-day gardens. “You never need to recreate an entire Victorian yard to get the feel,” claims Leslie Harris, accredited horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Backyard. “You can integrate solitary elements or style and design a corner of your yard with these functions without too much to handle your space.”

In this article are the most enduring Victorian backyard garden layout traditions plus guidelines for how to make them aspect of your individual backyard.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate shapes have been a normal in Victorian gardens. Traditionally, topiary was a formal aspect in significant estate gardens and was thought of a symbol of standing. “You had to present off,” says Rizzo. “Your backyard garden was in competition with other folks, and backyard designers vied with each and every other for commissions from wealthy consumers.”

Plant this glance: If you are not completely ready to use a total-time gardener or offer with the common upkeep of topiary, take into account including vegetation that keep their symmetrical kinds with out trimming, this sort of as spherical shrubs.

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Tropical and Unique Plants

Pushed by elevated exploration and journey, gardeners had much more entry to a selection of new and special plants from about the planet. “Plant explorers introduced again exotic new seeds and specimens to exhibit at household under glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, while plant breeders experimented with new crops,” claims Harris. Tropicals, and specifically ferns, ended up immensely common and gave an unique aptitude to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its height in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the globe to support this new passion.

Plant this glance: Screen potted tropicals, these types of as parlor palm, a Victorian favorite, in containers about your patio or indoors. Or, plant ferns outside in shady parts of the backyard garden.


For the Victorians, far more was also far more! “It was definitely about an explosion of hues,” says Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with bold, dazzling colours showcased new crops.” There was not just one form of plant applied, but well-known bouquets incorporated dahlias, roses, petunias, and specifically geraniums. Cottage gardens, which put together flowers and edibles in an casual way, also evolved towards the finish of the Victorian age.

Plant this seem: As an alternative of focusing on a precise, restrained coloration plan, plant plenty of distinctive colours of flowers in containers and beds to carry a feeling of unrestrained joy to your yard.


“Tightly-planted back garden beds were laid out with loads of colour and pattern,” claims Rizzo. “There was a tight ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare ground visible. Typically, there were being 2 to 3 species of bouquets in the mattress to type a geometric sample. Basically, you’d cram in as quite a few plants as doable to realize a mosaic outcome.” The procedure also sometimes is referred to as carpet bedding because the layout resembles a patterned rug.

Plant this glimpse: Tightly plant a container for an quickly lush experience, or generate compact geometrically-shaped beds.

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Backyard Buildings

Even though statues have been aspect of before garden styles from Italy and France, the Victorian yard also highlighted statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all sorts, claims Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, wherever citrus trees ended up protected from cold climate, also were element of a lot of Victorian gardens.

Plant this search: Incorporate a couple of decorative pieces to punctuate your garden, such as a pair of urns, which do not always need to have planted to increase model.

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Wrought iron became particularly common and was often made use of in fencing or ornamental benches. On big estates, benches gave you a place to rest and admire the back garden, suggests Rizzo.

Plant this appear: A yard bench is generally a amazing 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 never want to fence an full region.

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Estate residences would element a big out of doors fountain, but a cottage backyard garden may incorporate a chicken tub or two, says Harris.

Plant this glance: Little wrought iron or concrete birdbaths present a contact of Victoriana devoid of demanding a yard overhaul.

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Victorian cottage backyard type incorporates many distinctive kinds of flowers and edibles, and the Victorians experienced a distinctive appreciate for aromatic vegetation this kind of as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, states Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Backyard garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Insert this seem: Scented vegetation are under no circumstances out of design due to the fact fragrance adds an additional layer of enjoyment to your yard. Plant them in containers, together the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in significant swaths.

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Victorians made mini-habitats to showcase their recently uncovered vegetation, these as alpine vegetation and ferns, suggests Harris. The plan was to mimic what you’d discover in a purely natural placing on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Incorporate this search: While you could not be in a position to change your backyard into a mini-mountainside, you can develop a compact rock yard with plants tucked among strategically and artistically put rocks.

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