Plants to Create a Formal Garden

The formal garden is a centuries old garden design which is mainly associate with 17th Century French chateau gardens. The French gardens were in fact imported and developed from the ideals of the Italian Renaissance gardens – these were created in the Italian manor houses and villas of a much earlier period.

Formal garden design using box hedges for the parterres
Box hedges form the parterres

Using symmetrical lines and geometric shapes, parterres (low clipped hedges) form the basis of the design and the premise is displaying order over nature.
The parterres are usually created using Box (buxus) or yew (taxus baccata) for the hedges and subtly chosen color combinations for the flowering plants to fill the design.

Formal gardens using box hedges
Geometric designs – the basis of the Formal Garden

Topiary trees add an architectural dimension. Ponds, fountains and marble or stone sculptures are used to create sound, movement and symbolism.

Marble Statuary in the Formal Garden
Formal Garden Design | Statuary and Topiary
Formal garden fountain with parterres
Formal garden fountain with parterres

Buxus (box hedges) and taxus baccata (Irish Yew) are slow growing and easy to trim into shape. Scented perennials and herbs make romantic fillers for the geometric shapes – we recommend lavender and santolina
Topiary trees formalise the structure and punctuate the hedges – try using taxus baccatta cones or globes and buxus spirals or pyramids.
Variations of colour accentuate the design and give depth: Cuprusses Goldcrest spirals for yellow hues, Buxus globes for bright green and Photinia topiary for red/copper shades, Cupressus castlewellan aurea yields deep green hues, as a bonus – all these plants are evergreen and the essential design creates year round interest.

Topiary Trees to buy online
Photinia Red Robin Pyramid | Cupressus Goldcrest Spirals | Buxus Globes | Taxus Baccata Cones

Many of the topiary trees are slow growing – at Paramount we have a huge selection of specimen plants – perfect for instant impact.

If you would like us to help you with your garden design – we offer a free service when you purchase plants to the value of more than £1500

Architectural planting
Yew Columns with Aliums

Most of our plants and trees are also available to buy online

Paramount Plants is a member of the European Box and Topiary Society