The Garden is a symbol of life. That’s why humans have created many different ways to show off our love for the outdoors and nature.

I wanted to take you on an adventure of all the most popular gardening styles and talk about what makes each style unique, from landscapes that are small in size but enormous in scope like Japanese Zen gardens, naturalistic spaces with major wildlife enhancement factors such as butterfly gardens or plant collections like succulent bouquets. These self-sufficiencies provide fresh fruits and vegetables without any farming required such as rooftop garden plots or vertical vegetable beds.

What Type of garden style is Right For You?

When starting a garden, knowing which gardening style is “perfect” for you might be difficult because there are so many options. Gardens can be found in the form of a cottage, a woods, or a meadow. Traditional Japanese landscaping, in addition to Mediterranean and cutting-edge garden design. Traditional gardens in the English and French styles.

Though there are a plethora of distinct garden designs from which to pick, most fall into one of several broad categories:

Traditional Garden Style

Traditional garden styles are characterized by symmetry and proportion, making them well-suited to buildings with colonial, Italian, or French influences. The image that comes to mind when I think of a traditional garden is one that is highly formal in appearance, with prominent architectural features, large areas of neatly manicured lawn, neat rows of clipped hedges, framed views of stone fountains, and neatly edged walks.

Most classic garden designs are monochromatic, with mostly green grass and trees and bushes. White is often the only color used as a focal point in classic gardens.

You can take cues from formal garden design if you enjoy the harmony and order that it provides but don’t want your garden to appear too “stiff.”

There is room for flexibility in my description above when talking about traditional gardens. Some landscape architects even classify cottage gardens as a form of traditional landscaping. As I see it, this can get complicated quickly, so I propose we discuss cottage garden styles in a different section.

Some ideas to incorporate into your own traditional garden

Topiaries: Plant topiaries in pots to have movable sculptures in your landscape. Choose this fake 18-inch English boxwood topiary if you’d rather not prune real plants.

Elegant or simple, pedestal urns are the go-to planters for classic landscape designs. This sculptural pedestal urn is an excellent choice if you value classical design.

White or stone columns are the epitome of traditional elegance. Consider putting them in strategic locations throughout your property, such as supporting arbors and pergolas or lining the edges of your driveway. Try out these portable, height-adjustable columns.

Traditional stone fountains are used as focal points in these gardens to add a sense of motion to the otherwise static design. You can’t have a proper traditional garden without this beautiful stone fountain reminiscent of a Tuscan garden.

Cheap pea gravel can be used to surface walkways, driveways, and terraces, giving them a satisfying “crunch” underfoot.

Plants for traditional garden styles

Traditional gardens feature plants that grow well in a wide range of soil types, including those that are heavy clay, dry sandy soils, and even wetter conditions. These plants include roses, peonies, tulips, hydrangeas, lilies, irises, sedums, hostas, ferns, and many others.

Aspect of Garden DesignDescription
PurposeDetermine the primary use of your garden, such as relaxation, entertaining, growing food, or attracting wildlife.
Garden StyleChoose a garden style that reflects your personal preferences, such as formal, informal, cottage, contemporary, or themed.
Garden LayoutPlan the layout of your garden, including pathways, seating areas, and focal points like water features or sculptures.
Plant SelectionSelect a variety of plants based on your climate, soil type, and aesthetic preferences. Consider trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
Color PaletteDecide on a color scheme for your garden, considering the colors of plants, flowers, and garden decor.
Sunlight and ShadeIdentify the areas of your garden that receive full sun, partial sun, or shade to determine suitable plant placements.
Soil PreparationTest and amend your soil as needed to ensure it provides proper nutrients and drainage for your plants.
Watering SystemPlan an efficient watering system, which may include hoses, sprinklers, drip irrigation, or rain barrels.
Garden FeaturesIncorporate desired garden features like patios, decks, pergolas, gazebos, or raised beds.
Maintenance PlanDevelop a maintenance schedule for tasks like weeding, pruning, mulching, and fertilizing.
SustainabilityConsider eco-friendly practices such as composting, using native plants, and reducing water consumption.
Wildlife AttractionDesign elements to attract wildlife, such as bird feeders, bird baths, or butterfly-friendly plants.
BudgetSet a budget for your garden project, including expenses for plants, materials, and labor.
TimelineCreate a timeline outlining when you’ll complete each phase of your garden design and construction.
SafetyEnsure your garden design addresses safety concerns, such as proper lighting and secure fencing.
Garden AccessoriesPlan for decorative elements like garden sculptures, outdoor furniture, and lighting fixtures.
PersonalizationAdd personal touches to your garden, such as garden art or meaningful plant selections.
Garden ZonesDivide your garden into zones based on functionality, such as a vegetable garden, flower beds, and relaxation areas.
Garden EdgingChoose appropriate edging materials to define and separate garden beds and pathways.
Garden SeasonalityConsider the changing seasons and plan for year-round interest with evergreen plants and seasonal decorations.
Garden Focal PointsIdentify focal points or centerpieces, like a large tree, fountain, or a carefully designed flower bed.
Garden PathwaysDesign pathways using materials like gravel, pavers, or stepping stones to enhance accessibility and aesthetics.

Cottage Garden Style

A cottage style landscape is characterized by plants that spill out onto lawns and walkways. Without the plants, the pattern reveals the same straight line and geometric patterns characteristic of formal (classically designed) landscapes.

Cottages are often surrounded by beautiful flowerbeds. These beds can be filled with any number of interesting plants. You may choose to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, or medicinal plants. Whatever you decide to grow, make sure they are easy to care for and attractive.

Cottage gardens often feature clay pots, white picket fences, arborvitae, trellises, flea market treasures, and other items.

Modern/Contemporary Garden Style

Each generation brings with it a touch more of a penchant for fashion. Cottage gardens are still well-liked, although interest in more modern and contemporary garden designs has increased.

In contrast to the perfectly symmetrical geometric designs that characterized classic gardens, asymmetrical, often interconnected grass and patio shapes are a hallmark of modern and contemporary garden design.

It is important to remember that while all modern landscaping can be contemporary, not all contemporary designs are modern, even if we are grouping these two types of garden styles together here.

Modern Vs. Contemporary Garden Styles

Buildings intended for commercial use benefit more from a modern aesthetic, while homes are more likely to benefit from a contemporary one.

A modern landscape is one with sharp corners and few flourishes. Metallic and concrete elements, as well as monochrome or very light color schemes, are hallmarks of the modern design style. In today’s designs, practicality of the materials is prioritized over aesthetics of the environment.

Modern design is the inspiration for contemporary style, which is a more organic and gentle take on the same idea. What is “already in place” is considered and enhanced in today’s designs. Curves and wooden details are often appreciated, as are carefully placed or enclosed brilliant flowers. Always keep in mind that little is more.

Modern gardens are designed for relaxation and social gatherings, emphasizing the ‘outside room.’ Planting is often overshadowed by the materials utilized for hard surfaces.

Elements of modern/contemporary gardens

Due to its adaptability, low cost, and widespread use in contemporary and modern landscape design, stepping stones in geometrical precast concrete are a staple of these types of gardens.

To complement the geometric forms in your contemporary landscape, consider installing architectural sculptures or planters in gray or brightly colored concrete, resin, or ceramic.

Metal, such as metal grids, metal sheeting, or even galvanized steel, can aid in achieving the sleek modernity of this landscape design. Make sure the metal hasn’t developed any patina or rust, though, otherwise, the sleek, modern aesthetic will be ruined.

Water features, such as ponds and fountains, are common in contemporary gardens, especially those with a geometric or linear aesthetic.

Some ideas to incorporate into your own modern/contemporary garden

These sculptural balls play an important role in the landscape. Whether made of concrete, ceramic tiles, metal, or even recycled plastic, they’re striking works of art that stand out from the rest. This one is so cool!

Modern gardens can benefit greatly from the use of simple architectural containers. To keep the yard neat and clean while retaining its minimalist aesthetic, use large-scale plantings or just one large plant or tree. You can’t do your garden without this massive, modern planter.

Clear, placid waters for contemplation are common features of religious sites all across the globe. The rectangular or circular shape of reflection pools makes them suitable for use in contemporary landscapes, while the absence of living organisms, vegetation, and moving water makes them low-maintenance.

Plants in a modern garden should have a geometrical, formal appearance. Picking out plants that aren’t difficult to nurture, can thrive in various environments, and add aesthetic value is a big part of this.

Compact plants, such as dwarf conifers or low-growing shrubs like yuccas, are frequently used in contemporary gardens. They also prioritize plants with unique shapes, such as those that resemble animals.

Natural (New Perennial) Garden Style

A natural garden is one that is in harmony with its surroundings, whether those surroundings be the lush greenery of the Northeast or the rolling hills of Texas or the stark beauty of the Southwest’s deserts.

This approach, which is also known as the new perennial garden style or the naturalistic approach, is highly reliant on the use of native plants, the selection of which will vary depending on where you reside.

Reduce our consumption of natural resources and our impact on the planet is an integral part of any naturalistic garden’s mission.

The ‘clean’ geometry and polished finish have vanished. In natural gardens, materials tend to be more rustic to go along with the free-flowing planting style. Instead of the neatly manicured hedges found in traditional gardens, the foundation of a naturalistic garden is thoughtful plant selection that balances ecological and aesthetic considerations.

While the natural manner of design may appear to be random, that is not the case. The new perennial style places more focus on the geometry and geometry of plants than on their colors. The goal is to choose long-lived, low-maintenance plants that “die elegantly,” as Piet Oldouf puts it.

There are several different types of flowers that can be used for attracting butterflies. Some of these include moor-grasses, black-eyed Susans, New England Aster, and Sneezeweeds.

Meditation Gardens

The origins of meditation/contemplation garden can be found in Asian countries, where they emerged during the time when Zen Buddhist teachings were becoming popular. They reflect these teachings. The gardens were designed during the time when Zen Buddhism was gaining popularity, and they reflect it.

These gardens were made to be entered not with the body but with the mind and spirit. Their use of scraped sand and stone to depict rivers and mountains, among other minimalist touches, makes them instantly recognizable. The sparse decor is meant to promote introspection and meditation by eliminating potential distractions.

Japanese vs. Chinese garden styles

Chinese gardens are typically more garish, exotic, ornamental, and architecturally complex than their Japanese counterparts, which are typically more naturalistic in design. The aesthetic of a Japanese garden is typically more understated and minimalistic, with an emphasis on the garden’s natural surroundings.

Mediterranean Garden Style

The rural parts of France, Greece, and Spain inspire the creation of the Mediterranean style. Pebbles or cobblestones, vivid colors, tile mosaicks, and manicures hedging or topiaries are all hallmarks of the Mediterranean garden. Water features are common in Mediterranean gardens to cool off the heat during the summer months.

Plantings in Mediterranean garden styles are bright and eye-catchy. Drought-resistant plantings are casually planted in this manner. Blue fescue grass, agave, yuccas, artemesias, euphorbias, and succulents can be great choices. Herbs with a powerful scent, such as lavender and rosemary, are often utilized.

Mediterranean gardens are well suited to the contemporary garden because they use materials that are easy to grow and maintain.

Woodland Gardens

In contrast to gardens designed in other designs, woodland gardens typically feature plants that can thrive in partial shade. Avoid planting in straight lines or other rigid patterns in favor of a more casual but no less attractive assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors.

If you have the right conditions, you can create a forest garden next to a woodland. By letting in more sunlight and increasing the height of the trees, you can improve the quality of the soil. Prepare a path to a rustic bench where you may relax out of the summer sun. To create a path, you can use anything from natural mulch to gravel to stepping stones to a boardwalk made out of used pallets.

If there are no mature forests nearby, it might be feasible to plant your own forest. However, it could take several years before the canopy develops.

A woodland habitat provides plenty of cover for a wide range of plants. A woodland plant needs a moderate amount of water and nutrients. Trees, shrubs, ground covers, mosses, and perennial flowers are good choices for a woodland planting. Ferns (such as hosta) are excellent choices for a woodland planting because they offer a dramatic contrast to trees and shrubs.

What are the common plants used in each style?

1. Cacti and succulents- desert gardens

2. Tropical plants

3. Houseplants

4. Flowers

5. Herbs and vegetables

What are the common pests and diseases in each style?


1. Aphids

2. Caterpillars

3. Mosquitoes


1. Slugs

2. Snails

3. Spiders

4. Ants

5. Bees

What are the common design mistakes in each style?

1. English Garden: One of the most common mistakes in designing an English garden is failing to create a sense of enclosure. Without some boundary, an English garden can feel like a wild meadow.

2. French Garden: A common mistake in French garden design is to use too many straight lines and formal shapes. This can make a garden feel cold and uninviting.

3. Japanese Garden: One mistake often made in designing a Japanese garden is to include too many elements from other gardening styles. This can make the garden feel cluttered and busy.

4. Mediterranean Garden: A common mistake in Mediterranean gardens is to use too much stone or concrete, which can make the space feel stark and uninviting

How can you avoid these mistakes?

1. Over-watering your plants: This is one of the most common mistakes gardeners make. Over-watering can lead to root rot, which can kill your plants. To avoid this, water your plants deeply but less often.

2. Not enough sunlight: Another common mistake is not giving your plants enough sunlight. Most plants need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. If you don’t have enough sun in your garden, consider planting shade-loving plants or using artificial lighting.

3. Not preparing the soil: Before planting anything in your garden, you must prepare the soil. This means adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil to help the plants grow. If you don’t prepare the soil properly, your plants will likely suffer from malnutrition and other problems.

4. Planting too close together: Give each plant enough space to grow. Crowded gardens will compete for resources like light and water, which can stress the plants and cause them to produce less fruit or flowers.

Top tips

1) Use gravel or stone paving to create inviting paths through your garden

2) Plant climbing roses or vines on trellises or arbors for a romantic touch

3) Incorporate water features such as fountains or ponds for added interest

4) Mix different plant types and colors for a relaxed yet stylish look

5) Add a small vegetable patch to your garden for fresh food year-round

6) Create a herb garden for easy access to herbs throughout the year

7) Include a variety of textures and materials in your garden to add visual interest

8) Make your own compost by mixing leaves with grass clippings and manure

9) Grow edible plants such as tomatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. What is the best time to start planning my garden?

The best time to begin planning your garden is when it’s still warm outside. You’ll be able to get more done before winter sets in.

2. How do I know what size garden I should buy?

It depends on how big of a house you live in and how much room you want to devote to your garden. For example, if you’re living in an apartment, you may only have a balcony or patio. In this case, you might want to choose a smaller garden so that you can enjoy it more frequently. On the other hand, if you live in a large home, you may have a lot of extra space to work with. In this case, a larger garden would allow you to grow more vegetables and fruits.

3. Where should I put my garden?

Ideally, you’d place your garden near a window or porch where you spend the majority of your time. However, if you don’t have any windows or porches, you can always build a greenhouse or conservatory instead.

4. Do I really need to fertilize my garden?

Yes. Fertilizing your garden helps ensure healthy growth and prevents nutrient deficiencies. It also encourages the development of beneficial insects and fungi.

5. Can I use mulch to keep weeds down?

Yes. Mulching is a great way to prevent weeds from sprouting. It also keeps moisture in the ground and adds nutrients to the soil.


Designing your perfect garden is exciting and fulfilling, allowing you to create a personal oasis in your backyard. By following the tips and guidelines discussed in this article, you can ensure that your garden reflects your unique style and meets your individual needs. From selecting the right plants and flowers to creating functional outdoor spaces, every detail contributes to your garden’s overall beauty and functionality.

About the Author

Virginia E. Hayes is a gardening enthusiast who loves to write about gardening tools, safety issues, and ways to keep gardens clean and safe. With her vast experience in gardening, she provides valuable insights and tips to help fellow gardening enthusiasts to enhance their gardening experience. Her passion for gardening and writing has made her a sought-after author in the gardening community.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}