A Short History of The English Garden

Pick a period to learn more! 

Medieval & Monastic           Tudor                 Victorian              Modern 

Children Gardening

Children Gardening

A History of English Gardens

The English garden has long been quintessential to our culture. Simply take a stroll down any road and you’re sure to see the classic English garden

With that being said, it surprising that the history of the English Garden is not as well-known as it perhaps should be. It’s a truly interesting history that we’d like to share with you all.

The earliest examples of gardens were made by the Romans after the Claudian invasion in 43CE. The Romans built extraordinary palaces accompanied by Palace ‘gardens. The gardens had great influence from the East Mediterranean and West Asia, combining hedges, walls and fences with orchards, frescos and colonnaded verandas.

A great example of the Romano-British garden is Fishbourne Roman Place in Sussex, where an early garden has been party reconstructed.

It’s not until the middle ages that the English Gardens reappeared, there is little known about the garden of Anglo Saxon England, it’s been suggested that this is because they didn’t have the passion for gardening that the Romans had.


Medieval & Monastic Gardens

Monasteries took advantage of the ‘garden;’ and often had both kitchen and herb gardens to provide both food and medicine. Early Monastic established followed ground plans that derived from the Roman villas. This involved colonnaded courtyards and cloister gardens.

Cloister gardens were enclosed with a fountain or statue at the centre. Better described on Wikipedia it reads ‘cloister (from Latin claustrum, “enclosure”) is an open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangleor garth.’

Medieval castles occasionally made room for courtyard gardens. These usually consisted of raised flower beds with paths running through them. Seats were improvised and made from turf. Gardens were often enclosed with wattle fences and quickthorn hedges.

Where Can I See Gardens With Medieval Features?

Not many gardens have been preserved from this period but there are individual features that have stood the test of time, many of them can be found in The National Trust Gardens

Medieval garden-st agnes

A Medieval inspired garden in saint Agnes, France.

Tudor Gardens

Tudor gardens were a lot more proportional than those of the Medieval period, they had a lot of influence from Italy. Gardens mirrored the alignment of the houses keeping everything rather uniform and in line. Once more, sundials and statues made an appearance, having been left out since the Roman Gardens.

Quick Fact: Henry VIII had a particular liking for sundials.

The most prominent contribution from the Tudor was of course the Knot Garden.

Knot gardens consisted of geometric or square patterns of hedges filled with flowers, hedges and herbs. They were designed to be viewed from a higher level such as a raised walk to allow you to view the whole pattern.

Gardening under King Henry VII became a Kingly pass time once King Henry VIII was crowned king in 1491. Henry claimed that any sign of ostentation was a threat to the crown.

Thomas Wolsey’s Hampton Court was soon to be one of Henrys favourite places. In 1529 the king began the renovation of the court which carried on for 10 years. Hampton court is well known for its beautiful gardens and is now a very popular destination for tourists to view the fabulous build and gardens.

Raised beds, mazes, turf seats and fountains were some of the wonderful designs that featured in the Tudor gardens along with many designs inherited from the Medieval gardens.

Fortunately this is another of the gardens and buildings you can visit http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/

During the 16th and 17th century there was an influx of exotic and rare plants along with some of our favourites today; snowdrops lavender and marigolds.


Hampton court gardens- Gardenfurniturecentre

One of Hampton Courts Sunken Gardens

Knot garden

An example of a Knot Garden


Victorian Gardens

The age of the industrial revolution also bought with it the boom in gardening. The interest in gardening exploded and for the first time authorities felt the need to provide extensive public gardens. It was hoped that these gardens would improve the etiquette and manners of the lower classes.


Gardens features massed beds of flowers, intricate designs and beautiful bright colour from plants from all corners of the world. Rockeries made a firm appearance as expeditions to mountains increased.

The true cornerstone of the Victorian gardens was order and neatness, with a pristinely kept lawn.

Italian influences also made a return along with Parterres, which looked incredibly similar to the popular Knot gardens of the Tudor times.

Some of the most influential gardeners at this time were J.C Loudon and Joseph Paxton. Later into the 19th century, writer William Robinson had a big influence on gardening and his preference for ‘wild gardens’ was reflected in many gardens.

Here are some of the most beautiful Victorian gardens that you can visit today along with some more information on the gardens of this Era


Harewood House

© Copyright R J McNaughton This formal Victorian terrace garden was laid out by Sir Charles Barry in the 1840s for the then Countess of Harewood.

Victorian Garden

© Copyright Liz ‘n’ Jim



Modern Gardens

Gertrude Jekyll is the woman we can thank for the wonderful herbaceous border and colour schemed gardens. Arguably, she is the most influential gardener of 20th century England. Her ideas built on the traditional Cottage gardens, which were popular in the 1890’s and featured a mixture of ornamental and edible plants along with dense plantings, fruit trees, trellises and walls.

If you would like to experience her work it still stands at Marsh Court and Hestercombe

Everyone has their own take on gardening and it all comes down to personal taste in the 21st Century. There is a huge array of influences in English gardens today and no matter whether large and small, private or public, exotic or traditional they illustrate the passion the British have for creating beautiful spaces of their own. All are unique and all have their own individual personalities with a story to tell.

Modern Garden

Modern garden with herbaceous flower bed

Modern garden still influence by Victorian style Photo by: Rept0n1x

Modern garden still influence by Victorian style
Photo by: Rept0n1x






The love is in the seat

Love is in the seat – indoors and out …

Love Seats are becoming increasingly popular as novel seating options and as seats in smaller, more compact spaces both inside and outside the home.

Today the variety of designs available on the market is huge – all you have to do is take a look at the range of Love Seats  on our website to see this.

But the question on many people’s lips is –

‘who designed the first one?’

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Are You Feelin’ Lucky?

Well.. are you?
Hopefully you are, as we’ve gone above and beyond once again to bring you a brand new unique range of dice stools.

Dice Stool - The Garden Furniture Centre

New Dice Furniture


Fantastic for the garden or as a quirky piece of furniture for the house

Made from teak they’re durable and weatherproof thanks to its natural oils making it perfect for use outdoors. There’s no need to treat the teak with any additional oils, so it can just be left as it is. Team it with one or more stools and a table of your choice and you’ll have a completely unique garden dining set that will be the envy of all of your family and friends.


Advantages of Teak wood

Insect repellent – The oil that’s within the teak is a natural repellent to insects and mould, meaning there won’t be any pests eating away at the wood and no rot.

Low Maintenance – If you’re using your teak furniture outdoors there’s really not a lot that yo need to do to maintain it. If required it can be washed down with warm soapy water and then rinsed clean with fresh water.

An investment that lasts many years – Because it’s a naturally hardy wood, teak lasts year after year and stays in great condition. It’s definitely worth investing a few more pounds into teak products that will last you rather than having to replace your wood furniture every few years.

Doesn’t hold temperature – This is a great advantage during the summer, teak doesn’t heat up in the sun and it doesn’t become cooler at night. So no hot or cold bottoms.

Check out the Dice stools yourself, you won’t be disappointed!

Quality Teak


One of the most important things to us is that our customers understand the quality of the teak products that we supply them with.

We take great pride in the fact that we source our teak from Thailand which has some of the best Teak in the world, because at the end of it all, it’s our job to provide you with a product that is perfect.

We take the time to find the best quality wood to source, we’re not just saying it, we mean it.
The director of the company Jon Haimes regularly takes trips to Thailand to make sure he is receiving the best quality possible.

So what’s so special about the teak we source?

The secret is within the wood itself. Within the grain of the wood is an abundance of natural oil and this is what makes it such a prized material. Because of these natural oils it has a greater natural resistance to weather than just about any other wood out there.

Incredibly the oil also protects the wood from dry rot, parasites and fungi, all of the usual problems other woods suffer from.

Over time this beautiful wood turns from a honey brown colour to an attractive silvery grey. This is caused by the natural oils building up and protecting the furniture.

Since teak is highly durable, the furniture is guaranteed to last you year after year, this offsets the initial pricing you pay for teak as you don’t have to worry about replacing the furniture or caring for it.

Teak Garden Furniture – The Malvern Collection

Malvern Bench - The Garden furniture Centre

This collection of chairs has to be one of the comfiest on the market today

Majestic in style, you can see the quality of the thick teak used. The backs and base of the chairs are contoured for your support.

Mortice and Tenon joints are used to join the furniture as standard with teak dowels to reinforce them for both long lasting quality and strength, features that aren’t always present in other furniture on the market.

Teak Joints

With some furniture you can find that there’s not much to it, but with the teak furniture you’re getting your monies worth of wood.

You’ll see the Malvern teak chair is particularly chunky and extremely elegant with curves in all the right places, its super smooth and shows the grain beautifully.

Malvern armchair- The Garden Furniture Centre

Teak is a wood like no other and that’s why we supply so much of it, we want to be the company you can trust for high quality teak products.