Formal v Informal Garden Design

Garden designs are categorised as ‘Formal’ or ‘Informal’:

Formal Gardens

If a garden is described as formal then expect to see straight lines and/or geometric shapes. This could be rectangles, squares or circles. At the heart of this style will be symmetry and a central focal point such as a fountain. This style usually has one side of the garden mirroring the other side of the garden.  You will also see formal planting including neatly clipped hedges which divide different areas of the garden along with plants being placed in straight lines or geometric shapes. Architectural topiary such as clipped box or yew are also commonly used. 

A good choice for a water feature for a formal garden is a classic tiered fountain - see right.



Informal Gardens

If a garden is described as informal then expect to see curves which give a feeling of fluidity. Curves create softer lines making the garden feel more natural. Asymmetrical design is common rather than working to strict symmetry rules. Planting looks natural. This is achieved by planting groups of plants in organic shapes. 

A good choice for a water feature for an informal garden is a cascading waterfall - see right.