Gardens through the ages

From the self-sufficient gardens of the medieval period through to the low-maintenance, ornamental gardens of the 20th century, we explore how fashions of the time have greatly influenced garden design.

Studley Royal Water Garden, Fountains Abbey

Medieval gardens: Middle Ages to 1500 

Medieval garden style was dominated by monasteries and manor houses. Herbs were grown for medicine and gardens were an important food source.

The garden at Moseley Old Hall

Tudor gardens: Henry VII 1485 - Elizabeth I 1603 

The influence of the Renaissance left its mark on the gardens of the Tudors, seen in the inclusion of architectural features. The most recognised feature from this period is the knot garden.

Powis Castle, Welshpool

Stuart Gardens: 1600-early 1700s 

Gardens grew larger during the Stuart period as the influence of French and Dutch formal gardens brought features such as long avenues, terraces and topiary.

The Pleasure Grounds at Osterley

Georgian gardens: 1714-1830 

Gardens and parks merged into one during the 18th century to create a British style that would influence gardens across Europe.

Orchard House at Cragside

Victorian gardens: 1837-1901 

Exotic plants from around the world were brought home to gardens by Victorian collectors. The bright new colours were displayed in more formal garden styles.

Hidcote Manor garden

20th-century gardens: Edwardian to present day 

The structured 'rooms' that epitomised gardens at the turn of the century were later softened with borders of the many new herbaceous plants being bred.