September 23, 2023

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9 Victorian Backyard Layout Ideas

5 min read

Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Yard

With the expansion of industrialization, advances in science and technology, and the fascination with innovation and unique places, the Victorian Age grew to become a time of huge creative imagination and experimentation in the backyard. “As public gardens grew to become extra common the two in England and the U.S., far more people fell in appreciate with gardening,” suggests Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Backyard garden beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Backyard. “The increasing center course now experienced the leisure time and disposable profits to fill their gardens.”

Features of Victorian design even now add class and whimsy to contemporary gardens. “You never require to recreate an complete Victorian backyard to get the truly feel,” says Leslie Harris, accredited horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Back garden. “You can incorporate solitary aspects or design and style a corner of your garden with these attributes with no overpowering your space.”

In this article are the most enduring Victorian garden style traditions additionally guidelines for how to make them part of your possess backyard garden.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate designs were a common in Victorian gardens. Customarily, topiary was a formal factor in substantial estate gardens and was regarded as a image of status. “You had to exhibit off,” claims Rizzo. “Your backyard garden was in competitors with other folks, and garden designers vied with just about every other for commissions from rich clients.”

Plant this search: If you’re not prepared to seek the services of a total-time gardener or offer with the standard upkeep of topiary, think about including plants that retain their symmetrical sorts with out trimming, these kinds of as round shrubs.

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Tropical and Exotic Plants

Driven by elevated exploration and journey, gardeners experienced much more access to a variety of new and one of a kind vegetation from all over the environment. “Plant explorers brought back unique new seeds and specimens to display at home underneath glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, though plant breeders experimented with new crops,” states Harris. Tropicals, and primarily ferns, had been immensely well-liked and gave an unique aptitude to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its peak in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the world to help this new passion.

Plant this appear: Display potted tropicals, this kind of as parlor palm, a Victorian preferred, in containers close to your patio or indoors. Or, plant ferns outdoor in shady places of the garden.


For the Victorians, extra was also much more! “It was truly about an explosion of shades,” says Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with daring, vivid colors showcased new crops.” There wasn’t just 1 form of plant utilized, but well-liked flowers incorporated dahlias, roses, petunias, and specifically geraniums. Cottage gardens, which mixed bouquets and edibles in an casual way, also progressed towards the finish of the Victorian age.

Plant this search: As an alternative of focusing on a unique, restrained coloration scheme, plant loads of various colours of flowers in containers and beds to bring a sense of unrestrained joy to your garden.


“Tightly-planted back garden beds were laid out with a lot of colour and sample,” claims Rizzo. “There was a tight ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare ground visible. Commonly, there had been 2 to 3 species of flowers in the bed to sort a geometric sample. In essence, you’d cram in as numerous plants as attainable to achieve a mosaic impact.” The approach also sometimes is referred to as carpet bedding simply because the style resembles a patterned rug.

Plant this search: Tightly plant a container for an instantaneously lush feel, or generate tiny geometrically-formed beds.

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Backyard Structures

Though statues had been component of previously garden styles from Italy and France, the Victorian back garden also featured statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all types, suggests Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, where citrus trees were being protected from chilly temperature, also have been portion of numerous Victorian gardens.

Plant this seem: Integrate a couple decorative items to punctuate your back garden, such as a pair of urns, which do not essentially need to have planted to include model.

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Wrought iron turned especially well known and was often utilized in fencing or attractive benches. On big estates, benches gave you a put to rest and admire the back garden, suggests Rizzo.

Plant this look: A back garden bench is constantly a amazing way to stop and admire the views. Also, you can use pieces of salvaged iron fencing as accents or backdrops in planting beds if you really don’t want to fence an whole place.

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Estate homes would element a large outdoor fountain, but a cottage yard may include a hen tub or two, claims Harris.

Plant this appear: Compact wrought iron or concrete birdbaths offer you a touch of Victoriana with no requiring a garden overhaul.

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Victorian cottage backyard garden design incorporates a lot of different forms of flowers and edibles, and the Victorians experienced a exclusive love for fragrant crops such as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, says Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Back garden in Richmond, Virginia.

Include this appear: Scented vegetation are in no way out of design and style because fragrance adds another layer of enjoyment to your yard. Plant them in containers, alongside the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in huge swaths.

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Victorians established mini-habitats to showcase their recently uncovered vegetation, these kinds of as alpine vegetation and ferns, states Harris. The strategy was to mimic what you’d obtain in a organic setting on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Add this appear: When you might not be capable to completely transform your garden into a mini-mountainside, you can build a small rock backyard garden with crops tucked amongst strategically and artistically placed rocks.

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