Essay: Arts and crafts garden

This style of garden was created from the arts and crafts movement in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. This involved such people as artists, gardeners, architects and craftsmen who all worked together and helped to influence and create the English country garden.

This style of garden has evolved from your renaissance and formal gardens to an informal garden creating a soft feel. An important detail would be the use of outdoor rooms using stone walls and brick paving for pathways which would be in keeping with the house. Also used would be neatly trimmed English yew hedging along with shrubs. These would be designed in an orderly way using geometrical shapes such as rectangles, triangles and circles with the use of straight lines clearly defining areas giving each different room a completely different feel.

There are many main features to creating an arts and crafts garden. One of the basic principles is tying in the garden and the house with its surrounding area, this can be achieved with the use of pergolas, vines and clematis climbing the house reflecting the garden. This should make the garden flow and make it far easier for the eyes to glide over.

These gardens will have been terraced, starting from the rear of the house which overlooks the whole of the garden and the surrounding area with the main terrace leading to a tennis lawn. Further down you would come across a rose garden generally used in block colouring i.e an all white rose garden along with lillie’s and peonies. This movement also reintroduced topiary. Adding well placed stone ornaments to the aesthetic view. There would be borders with plants which relate to the site conditions they were grown in. These were left to grow naturally en masse and left to spill over the borders onto paths giving them a much more natural feel.

An example of an arts and crafts garden would be manor house, Upton Park. This is a four and a half acre estate designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1908.
Although one of her smaller designs this garden contains everything typical of an English country garden in the arts and crafts movement.

  • Terrace (main) leading onto lawn
  • Rose garden
  • Wild flower garden
  • Kitchen/herb garden
  • Pond area
  • Knott Garden

The cultural factors of the formal and renaissance period has allowed Jekyll to use their design of the formal border and designing them to look more natural with her bold use of colour starting with whites, blues and purples meeting in the middle with a wow factor of reds, yellows and orange all painted en masse which are then left to spill and seed.

Today’s gardeners still use the basic principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. A designer can take every aspect of an Arts and Crafts garden and scale it down in size to accommodate today’s smaller modern gardens for our every day use. For example, one large terrace has been replaced by our everyday patio or decked areas, adding hedging or brick walls to define different areas such as vegetable gardens, pond areas and hot tub areas. Although on a much smaller scale you can still see the influence drawn from these Arts and Crafts gardens in many of today’s designs. I believe this is due to their ease on the eye and the beauty of their classic design.

Source: Essay UK -

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