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Ornamental Garden styles to take your home to the next level.

by Criss Gill

What do King Louis XIV of France, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and every Japanese Emperor that ever lived have in common? The answer: An ornamental garden in which to stroll and gather their thoughts.

For a king or queen, having an extensive, beautiful garden sort of just goes with the job. After all, it’s tradition.

Choose your inspiration

The days of Emperors and Empresses may be over, but their gardens live on. And if you’ve ever strolled through the grounds of Versailles, the Royal Kensington Gardens in London, or the Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens, you’ll notice a few similar themes at work. Here’s how you can steal from history’s greats and create your very own ornamental garden.

Use water. But with style.

If you’re wanting to impress, then having a water feature is sort of a must-have. From the mystical gardens of the Japanese imperial family to the Russian and Central European palaces, using water in some way is kind of obligatory. Whether it’s a pond, fountain, or stream, making your water feature the focal point of your garden will ooze that royal vibe you’re after.

Flowers flowers flowers

The bread and butter of any ornamental garden. You can’t get away without having rich, colourful flowers. But choosing any old flower and planting them in a row won’t be enough to satisfy your inner royal. You’ll want to think carefully about the different colours and textures – it’s all to do with planning. Here are some ideas to get your idea off the ground.

  • Roses – a staple of any ornamental garden, particularly if you’re following in the footsteps of the British royalty. Reds and whites are always good together, beware they’ll want some serious attention throughout their lifetime so do your homework before you get planting.
  • Tulips – with intense and rich colours, these flowers are an excellent addition to an ornamental garden. Because they’re grown from bulbs, it’s easy to control exactly where they’re planted, and picking specific colours is also easy.
  • White and Blue Irises – speaking of ornamental flowers, the iris clan certainly tops the lists with unparalleled elegance.


If there’s one thing that you can count on seeing in an opulent palace garden, it’s a thick, well-manicured hedge. In palace gardens, hedges provided much-needed privacy to the royals who strolled their pathways. Depending on how much space you’ve got to work with, including a hedge could upgrade your garden three-fold. If space is lacking or you’ve already got trees dotting your property, choose a lower, thinner hedge to save space.

Think about smell and taste

Making a hedge can be as easy as planting a row of lavender, rosemary, or even sage. There’s no rule book saying you need to stick to a certain species when designing your garden. A row of rosemary or thyme can be just as opulent as your typical hedge plants – plus they’re better with roast potatoes. Flowering trees and shrubs also bring wonderful smells to the garden – make it a sensory experience.

Play with symmetry

One inescapable theme with ornamental gardens is the love of symmetry. Even a meandering stream through a Japanese garden is bound by rhyme and reason. Geometrical patterns and shapes, radiating out from a central point are a typical feature of any royal palace garden and no less difficult to replicate in your backyard. Start by picking your centrepiece, or pieces, then draw up a plan of the shapes and ensure you can easily access all areas for watering and maintenance.

If you’re after some design tips or want to air your ideas with the professionals, check out Landscape Design in Perth for more inspiration.