First & Foremost

When thinking Classic Design in the landscape, the first two elements to consider are those of Line & Geometry. 

Symbolizing the masculine and the feminine, line being masculine, gives stabilizing strength to the design while the softening effect of geometry can be seen as the feminine. Both are needed to allow the entire image to flow, and to create a harmonious whole. 

Line can be achieved in many ways, not just by planted rows of trees or hedges but by the careful use of hardscapes; masonry walls, paved or gravel walks, & reflecting pools as well as repetitive sculptural elements.

Line delineates that which is and isn't, separating negative & positive space, as well as creating space or area. 

Line can also be used to compensate for a building that is offset as well as creating an illusion by foreshortening or lengthening a garden where needed.

Line has been used in the two photos below as a visual guide  to accentuate the focal point in this particular garden. Geometry comes into play with the boxwood spheres to soften the hard edge created by the hedges.


Line is used here and below to not only create space but also to separate the negative from positive. The negative being the lawn & gravel areas


In this classic contemporary design line and reflecting pool have been used to mimic not only the straight line of the architecture but the windows as well.

A traditional classic this design uses masonry as well as water to delineate as well as pay 
pay respect to the architecture it supports

 wallerton old hall

Intimate space is created in this garden by the use of  multiple hedging. The line of sod creates the negative. The reflecting pool the positive.

Line creating space as in the firepit and seating area. A good example of contemporary classic  the raised pool  helps to strengthen even more the  linear design   
 The repetition of sculpture creating line, as well as the stone borders and gravel path delineate space


Again the strength of line need not be a continual one to create a classic design. The placement of these potted orange trees in a straight row successfully achieve the function a solid line would. 

claus dalby

One of my favorite examples, line created not only with the cobble edging but also with what could be considered a "hedge" of Allium as well as the tree and sculpture repetition. Something you might be able to easily achieve in your own garden

steven schubel

Again a number of elements creating line , brick wall, trees, hydrangeas, & boxwood

If reinventing your own classic garden, attention should be paid to the architecture of the home, as well as the plot, taking into consideration grade changes as well.   A simple hedge can become an indicator of grade change as well as separate one level from another.
Below are a few simple examples of what can be done to an "oh so ordinary" garden to bring a more classical feel by just adding this one element Line to your design.


Whereas some gardens can be seen as following nature or the natural, Classic Design is man’s way of harnessing nature and dominating it.

photos source Pinterest unless noted.

If you would like to add a more Classical feel to your garden please contact me for further information at mwhite841@verizon.net


  1. Amazes me how many clients describe what they want for their garden then say, "But I don't want anything formal."

    Of course I overdose on what they want and never mention it's all FORMAL !!!

    Why is this true for so many decades now?

    Thank you for the pics chosen. Feels like a vacation to have seen them.

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  2. What beautiful images - I love the picture of the fountain. If only my garden was big enough to house such a wonderful water feature!