At garden studio, the stories you tell during our early conversations with you inspire bespoke gardening concepts that will later re-emerge within the gentle forms of your garden. Here are the stories behind some of the most famous gardens around the world to inspire you.
Villa d’Este, Italy
Designed in 1550 by architect, painter, landscaper and antiquarian Pirro Ligorio for the Governor Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este. His intention was to build a villa and gardens that would be adequate to his new status. The Villa d’Este is arguably the best example of Renaissance culture at its most refined. Jacob Burckhardt, the Swiss art-historian, called it the most beautiful ‘afternoon retreat’ ever created. The terraced landscape is filled with grottoes and statues, many of which were obtained by excavating ancient Roman sites. The masterpiece of the gardens would have to be the water features, one in particular that surges to splash unsuspecting visitors. A walk through the tranquil rows of fountains is complete with the sound of an organ playing that hangs on the breeze. The Villa d’Este garden is the place to be to truly appreciate the unique combination of beauty, entertainment and relaxation.
Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy, France
The Château Vaux-le-Vicomte was created from a collaboration between Nicolas Fouquet, hired architect Louis Le Vau, painter Charles Le Brun, and landscape architect André Le Nôtre. In the 1650s these artisans were brought together to create an illustrious private residence just outside of Paris for finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet. The pièce de résistance of the garden is the dramatically patterned parterres that create a visual treat to make the grounds seem larger than they actually are when viewed from the château’s balcony. The gardens were laid out along a three-kilometre axis to create a stunning setting for the château and its outbuildings. The collaboration between the most important artists of the time that resulted in a work of unparalleled harmony and beauty.
Paleis Het Loo, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Originally meant to be a hunting lodge, the palace was built in the late 1600s by William III. It is commonly referred to as a mini Versailles because of its axial layout, many fountains and symmetrical gravel paths. Het Loo is planted in rich family history. William’s wife Mary II was a lover of gardens and a plant enthusiast with flowers brought from all around the world for the gardens to display and for the couple to enjoy. The modest scale of the garden shows how the Baroque garden design style of its famous French predecessor was reimagined in the early 19th century. The baroque gardens were made into a landscape park with shrubs and many species of trees lining windy paths throughout the gardens. A combination of historical and contemporary flowers bring atmosphere to the palace gardens all year round.
Rousham Park, Oxfordshire, England
In the 18th century, the manicured Baroque style became out of fashion and was replaced with naturalistic, spacious designs. In 1738, William Kent was hired to remodel the house and grounds at Rousham Park. Kent was one of the founding creatives of this new design approach in English landscapes. He linked the grounds to the surrounding countryside through connected vistas and similar style plantings. The estate features vast fields and wooded paths that take you on a journey for you to find miniature classical temples and decorated with statues.
Photo credit: © funkyfood London – Paul Williams/Alamy