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Garden Styles


Many people are not clear about what their landscape design style is or "should" be.  Broadly speaking, garden style breaks into two major categories: formal and informal

 Landscaping ideas and garden styles

Easy, isn't it?


Although much of what determines the style is a matter of the architecture, there is usually a bit of wiggle room in determining what the "proper" look should be.


We have installed formal gardens against cottage style homes and perennial gardens with lots of color against a stone, Normandy style grand home.  There are rules, but if you work carefully, you can sometimes ignore conventional wisdom and generate a wonderful end result.

Here, in a very abbreviated fashion are some of the styles that can adorn a house. This is not meant to be a treatise on garden or architectural history. Hopefully this brief tutorial will allow you to formulate an opinion as to what resonates with you.


Formal Gardens

Frequently the architecture talks...and you have to listen. If you have a  Georgian home, or a French inspired manor house, odds are that you will be drawn to the linear, geometric and symetrical aspects of a garden, as befits a house built along those lines. Think Versaille. (OK, next door to Versaille.)


If you're not sure what the style of your home is, try searching Google Images for “architectural styles” and look for homes similar to yours.


Some Mediterranean style homes beg for the formal look.


landscaping-ideas-philadelphia-formal-garden-williamsburgAnd the “Williamsburg” look can be a bit looser, but still maintains the lines you associate with when you think of formal gardens. This style can be used against many architectural styles. 

Informal Gardens


When the look is not structured and manicured, the garden would fall into the realm of informal.


Frequently this entails perennials and shrubs planted for a more “flowing” effect.


Although the maintenance of the informal garden would be less in terms of shearing evergreens for lines, informal gardens still need care to get that “uncared for” look.




 Cottage Gardens

landscaping-ideas-main-line-cottage-gardenThe lack of symmetry, the dominant use of dense massings of perennials, annuals and some evergreen materials are thematic in the cottage garden. Think smaller homes with an English thatched roof cottage in the background (only not so much).









Contemporary Gardens [The New American Garden]


The melding of formal and informal styles could characterize the contemporary garden.


A snip of this, a line from there. It's what folks have done throughout history...the human propensity to take ideas from everyone and make it new.  A long tradition of taking the best and making it your to speak.


landscaping-ideas-main-line-contemporary-gardenHere's a good example of bending or ignoring the rules. The architecture of this house begs for symmetry...a formal garden would seem to be in order. But the client's love of color and looseness resulted in this American mix. Neither fish nor fowl, it still has appeal for many.



Natural and Naturalized Gardens


The somewhat recent discovery (in the last 200 years) that nature has something to offer the garden is a concept that is now firmly rooted in the landscape design community and their clients.


landscaping-ideas-philadelphia-naturalized-gardenIt almost looks as if nature could have done it.



Perennial Gardens


Although not really a “style”, the perennial garden is very important stylistically.




Merging some of the lines of formal gardens with the exuberance of the perennial garden is for many garden enthusiasts the best of all worlds.


landscaping-ideas-main-line-perennial-gardenWhether in shade or sun, the perennial garden offers color and lines that nothing else can.



To learn about Aardweg Landscaping's process for designing a garden suitable for you and your home style, complete the contact form below, or call us at 610-355-0703.

Aardweg Landscaping is one of suburban Philadelphia's longest standing and most experienced residential landscape design and installation companies.  With 35 years of landscaping design experience in the Main Line area, owner Steven T. Aardweg  APLD, employs his horticultural expertise, superior design ability, and sensitivity to detail in every project. His is one of a small number of landscape companies in the suburban Philadelphia area to have a landscape designer certified by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.  Possessing a broad and comprehensive knowledge of plants, Aardweg Landscaping designs and installations are ecologically sound and naturally suited to the southeastern Pennsylvania, Main Line and metropolitan Philadelphia environment.

Serving the Main Line, Suburban Philadelphia, and Tri-State Area

Aardweg Landscaping serves customers throughout the Philadelphia and Tri-State region, the Eastern and Western Main Line including Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Devon, Frazer, Gladwyne, Haverford, King of Prussia, Malvern, Merion Station, Narberth, Newtown Square, Paoli, Radnor, Rosemont, St. Davids, SwarthmoreValley Forge, Villanova, Wayne, and Wynnewood. Take a look at our portfolio for work done in Montgomery County: Lower Merion and Upper Merion; Delaware County: Radnor, Haverford, Marple, Newtown and Edgemont; Chester County: Tredyffrin, Eastown, Willistown, E. Goshen, and Malvern. We also serve parts of Southern New Jersey and Northern Delaware.  Other areas are served that are not listed.

Aardweg Landscaping
Main Line Landscape Design