There are varying ideas of what is beautiful, and this is equally true of gardens as with people or artwork. Some prefer wild gardens, while others would rather view a garden with complex design and a sculpted landscape. There is some of both in the immensely enjoyable English Landscape Garden, a design with both simplicity and aesthetic beauty. It is no wonder this is the style chosen for many public parks and buildings.
In an English Garden you might find winding, curving lanes, statues and benches creating informal focal points for a casual viewer, a careful balance between manicured lawn and wilder flora, a place where the house and garden meet in perfect harmony, and an abundance of various plant types, colors, and shapes.
Some examples of fine English landscape can be found at Castle Howard, Blenheim Palace, Stourhead, Rousham House and Stowe. Though this type of garden enjoyed particular popularity in the 1700s which has diminished through the years, there are still some in existence which offer a breathtaking view of days gone by.
Inspired by European landscape paintings, English Landscape Gardens achieved particular prominence due to the ministrations of designers such as William Kent. Humphrey Repton and Capability Brown, famous in their own right for their designs, were touched by other influences. Though there was much unrest about the style of such gardens when they were first introduced, these men offered much in the way of creative genius that brought this type of garden into popularity. Each of these designers had his own goal in mind, however, and their styles varied by a great margin. Kent was strongly influenced by the culture of ancient European countries and, as such, this was reflected in his design choices. Brown, on the other hand, preferred to make his gardens resemble the English countryside, while Repton pioneered the design of bringing flowers close to the house.
That today’s English Landscape Gardens can sometimes be eclectic is a result of the mixture of these three men’s visions. There is also the constant influx of influences from other cultures, such as China, whose impact on English Landscape designs is readily apparent.