The Origins of Landscape Gardening

The first person to be attributed for creating a landscape garden was Joseph Addison around the early 1700’s in England. He was inspired by the gardens in Europe and started to develop the idea of a more formal garden in England with neatly placed plants and tree lined paths. As time progressed other features were added such as topiaries, and fountains and the whole area was perfectly ordered. The pristine gardens of the palace at Versailles where are particular good example of the design of a landscape garden by Andre Le Note. It should be noted at the time in the 1700’s that these gardens were not only a place of beauty where people could walk and admire the flora, they were symbols of a person’s wealth, the wealthier a person then the more ornate his landscaped garden was.

18th Century

One hundred years on from Addison’s first creation and idea, Continental Europe was starting to improve the concept of landscape gardening to another level. The 18th Century was the time of the Grand Tour, and Italian gardening was indeed at another plateau. Remarkable and notable persons of the time such as Shenstone and Alexander Pope reported in their writings of how literature could help and assist the designing of gardens. If you look at Alexander Pope’s exemplary Twickenham garden at the time it demonstrated this ideal. It has been reported that Stephen Switzer was the first person to design and construct landscape gardens at a professional level. He did this by using the designs and ideas laid down by Addison and Pope.

The English Garden

The English garden at the time was to give an impression of formalized and idealized version of nature, it had influences from all over the world. From the mystic east and Chinese gardens to paintings of well-known landscape artists of the time such as Poussin and Lorrain. There were several must have features that contributed to the archetypal English landscaped garden and they included, gently sweeping lawns, with small groves of trees and usually a lake. More adventurous gardens had follies and classical temples with Gothic ruins, beautiful bridges not really going anywhere that were all trying to create a pastoral feeling to the landscape. It must be noted that one of the great names of English landscape gardening at the time was Capability Brown who designed and constructed some of the most important gardens in England during the late 1700’s and the early 1800’s.

Landscape Gardens in Europe

By the early part of the 1800’s, France had started to copy the English garden, and even Russia adopted this new form of horticulture in their statelier estates. The English landscaped garden also influenced the creation of public parks and gardens that were being developed all over Europe during the 19th Century. Although all the evidence points to England for developing the formal landscaped garden, it should be made clear that many of the design features were gathered from all over the world. From the architecture that is presented in the gardens to the way the flora is arranged.