9 Victorian Garden Design Ideas

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Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Backyard garden

With the expansion of industrialization, developments in science and technology, and the fascination with innovation and exotic locations, the Victorian Age turned a time of immense creative imagination and experimentation in the yard. “As community gardens turned far more commonplace both equally in England and the U.S., a lot more people today fell in appreciate with gardening,” suggests Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Backyard beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “The increasing center course now experienced the leisure time and disposable income to fill their gardens.”

Elements of Victorian design and style however incorporate elegance and whimsy to modern-day gardens. “You never will need to recreate an total Victorian garden to get the really feel,” suggests Leslie Harris, certified horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Back garden. “You can include single factors or design and style a corner of your backyard garden with these options without the need of frustrating your area.”

Below are the most enduring Victorian backyard garden style traditions in addition suggestions for how to make them section of your individual garden.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate designs were being a normal in Victorian gardens. Customarily, topiary was a official factor in large estate gardens and was regarded a symbol of standing. “You had to demonstrate off,” states Rizzo. “Your yard was in competitors with other folks, and backyard designers vied with every single other for commissions from wealthy clients.”

Plant this seem: If you are not prepared to seek the services of a total-time gardener or offer with the frequent upkeep of topiary, consider incorporating vegetation that keep their symmetrical kinds with no trimming, this kind of as spherical shrubs.

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Tropical and Exotic Crops

Pushed by improved exploration and travel, gardeners had far more obtain to a variety of new and special crops from close to the earth. “Plant explorers brought back unique new seeds and specimens to show at household beneath glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, though plant breeders experimented with new plants,” states Harris. Tropicals, and especially ferns, ended up immensely common and gave an unique aptitude to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its top in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the world to support this new pastime.

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


For the Victorians, additional was also more! “It was really about an explosion of shades,” says Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with bold, bright hues showcased new crops.” There wasn’t just a person kind of plant employed, but preferred bouquets bundled dahlias, roses, petunias, and specially geraniums. Cottage gardens, which blended bouquets and edibles in an informal manner, also developed towards the stop of the Victorian age.

Plant this look: As a substitute of focusing on a particular, restrained shade scheme, plant heaps of different hues of flowers in containers and beds to bring a perception of unrestrained joy to your backyard garden.


“Tightly-planted back garden beds were being laid out with heaps of color and pattern,” suggests Rizzo. “There was a restricted ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare floor obvious. Usually, there had been 2 to 3 species of flowers in the bed to kind a geometric pattern. Generally, you’d cram in as several plants as doable to realize a mosaic impact.” The method also from time to time is referred to as carpet bedding because the structure resembles a patterned rug.

Plant this seem: Tightly plant a container for an immediately lush come to feel, or develop tiny geometrically-shaped beds.

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Backyard Structures

Whilst statues ended up section of earlier garden designs from Italy and France, the Victorian backyard garden also highlighted statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all sorts, states Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, in which citrus trees were being guarded from cold weather conditions, also had been element of numerous Victorian gardens.

Plant this search: Include a several ornamental parts to punctuate your yard, this kind of as a pair of urns, which do not always need to have planted to include style.

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Wrought iron grew to become primarily common and was often utilized in fencing or decorative benches. On big estates, benches gave you a location to rest and admire the back garden, states Rizzo.

Plant this search: A garden bench is generally a fantastic way to quit and admire the views. Also, you can use items of salvaged iron fencing as accents or backdrops in planting beds if you don’t want to fence an overall location.

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Estate homes would attribute a massive outdoor fountain, but a cottage garden may include things like a hen bath or two, says Harris.

Plant this search: Tiny wrought iron or concrete birdbaths provide a contact of Victoriana without the need of necessitating a yard overhaul.

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Victorian cottage back garden model consists of several various types of flowers and edibles, and the Victorians had a particular like for fragrant crops this kind of as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, suggests Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Backyard garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Add this search: Scented plants are hardly ever out of type since fragrance adds another layer of pleasure to your yard. Plant them in containers, alongside the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in large swaths.


Victorians established mini-habitats to showcase their newly discovered crops, these types of as alpine crops and ferns, says Harris. The thought was to mimic what you’d obtain in a pure environment on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Add this appear: When you might not be in a position to change your garden into a mini-mountainside, you can make a compact rock garden with crops tucked among the strategically and artistically placed rocks.

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