A Brief History of Landscape Gardening
At first glance landscape gardening appears to be a relatively modern trend, encouraged by the many peak time TV programmes of the 80s and 90s. However, the desire to create gardens that are either functional or beautiful, or both, goes back many centuries and has prominence in most cultures.
The Constant Gardener provides landscape gardening for homes and businesses in Essex, including in the Chelmsford, Brentwood, Braintree, Maldon, Coggleshall, Kelvedon, Chipping Ongar, Billericay and Great Leighs areas. We will help to achieve a harmonious outdoor space that looks stunning and meets the needs of the people using the space.
Landscape Gardening Chelmsford – Click here to find out how we can fulfil your garden requirements in Essex.
Landscaped gardens have played a major role in legends and history since ancient times, with stories of beautiful gardens appearing in tales and ancient passages the world over. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, described by Greek and Roman writers, was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In Greek mythology the Garden of Hesperides was a fictitious orchard belonging to the Goddess Hera and it was here where ‘golden apples’ grew, which gave the promise of immortal life to anyone who ate them. And, of course, in the Christian religion, the Garden of Eden was described as paradise where God placed Adam and Eve. Landscaped gardens were enjoyed throughout the Roman era, and in ancient Chinese and Japanese culture, and their popularity spread throughout the world.
Medieval and Renaissance Gardens
In the Medieval period, the role of the garden was both functional and symbolic. In monastic gardens the focus was on practicality: it was here where herbs were grown for medicinal purposes and the land was cultivated for food, both for the monks and the wider community. Orchards sprang up and dovecotes were built.
By the Renaissance period (from the 14th to the 17th centuries) stately homes and castles throughout Europe had grand, ornamental gardens, such as those at the Palace of Versailles and, in the UK, Castle Howard. Gardens were enclosed to protect animals or prevent theft and to shield the aristocracy from prying eyes.
In the Renaissance era, ornamental gardens were generally laid out in a fairly regimented way with symmetrical patterns and designs. Order was seen as signifying beauty and reflecting religious beliefs about “God’s divine order”.
This period was influenced by the move away from religion (during the Renaissance era) and towards appreciation of nature, as well as the search for knowledge. In the 18th century gardens came to be seen as ‘natural’ landscapes. It saw the emergence of influential figures in gardening, such as Capability Brown, and the popularity of the English landscape garden.
In the grounds of homes belonging to European aristocracy, such as Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the natural elements would be designed to work with constructions such as the house and other buildings, chapels, bridges, sundials and temples. It was considered that trees, plants, hedgerows, streams, artificial lakes, pathways and sweeping lawns should blend with architecture to create a coherent whole.
At the end of the 19th century a number of “model” towns and villages were built in England, intended for ordinary working people, such as Bournville Village and Port Sunlight. These included public parks and landscaped areas, as well as good quality housing with private gardens. These developments were highly influential in setting aspirations for working and middle class homes and gardens in the century to come.
The 20th Century
The early part of the 20th century saw a big growth in house building, especially in new “Garden Cities” such as Welwyn and Letchworth, further encouraging the interest in gardens at all social levels. It was common for most houses to have a garden or yard of some kind, which could be used to grow plants, vegetables or to provide a private space for enjoyment. During WWII and for some years after, the emphasis was on the functional. The “Dig For Victory” campaign encouraged people to transform their open spaces into allotments to grow their own vegetables. The post-war period saw the growth of interest in the home, how it was decorated, and an investment in modern gadgets. Towards the end of the 20th century, the property boom, coupled with the trend in home improvement programmes, such as Changing Rooms and Property Ladder, saw homeowners take more pride in the appearance of their gardens.
The 21st Century
As more people own their own home, there is still a great deal of emphasis on the appearance of the gardens of homes and businesses. However, modern gardens are generally much smaller, so require ingenuity and creativity to achieve a harmonious space. At Constant Gardener, our expert team will transform all sizes and shapes of gardens for homes and businesses in the Essex area. We offer landscape gardening in all towns and villages including Chelmsford, Great Dunmow, Witham, Maldon, Braintree, Ingatestone and Broomfield. Click on the link above to find out more.