20th-century gardens: Edwardian to present day

Hidcote Manor garden
Looking towards the Stilt Garden gates at Hidcote Manor National Trust Images/Nick Meers

Colour themed gardens reigned and, as a backlash against the hardships of two world wars, gardens became increasingly ornamental and low maintenance, culminating in the 1970s craze for conifers and grasses.

However, as the century came to a close, the garden style became more relaxed with a new fashion for prairie planting and an interest in wild flower meadows, while many have rediscovered the joys of kitchen gardening and self-sufficiency.

Style at a glance

  • Garden Rooms divide the garden into different themes
  • Cottage gardening looking back to a less industrial age
  • Woodland gardens
  • Colour co-ordinated borders influenced by artists such as Gertrude JekyllPerfect lawns, the result of improved lawn mower machinery and chemicals
  • Bedding, a direct result of the commercialisation of the nursery trade
  • Prairie planting, a late 20th-century naturalistic style of gardening
  • Rose gardens, as popular as ever
The Coronation Avenue at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
Anglesey Abbey's gardens combine the formal French style with natural landscaping National Trust Images / Stephen Robson

Where to see gardens with 20th-century features 

Find out which of the places we look after have beautiful 20th-century gardens for you to explore.