A Classic Garden

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Proving that elegance and simplicity never go out of style, classic gardens are all about symmetry and balance. They can be very formal, with strong architectural features, or they can be somewhat softer and more lavishly floral. Neatly manicured, the classic style is often accented by topiaries and framed by distinct edges and walkways. A fountain is often the focal point of this style.

Elements of a Classic Garden

Pedestal Urn

Urns in many forms have been a part of these gardens since their original use in ancient Roman households. From elegant bas-relief to slender and plain, they are the quintessential container for everything formal and European.

French Planting Boxes

Perfectly square, white, black or dark green and slightly footed, these are the uniquely French creation for standard patio tree topiary. Used as a cachepot for standard nursery containers, they become the essential corner piece or repeating element in the formal garden.

Classic Columns

Whether simple Doric, classic Ionic, or fussy Corinthian, the stone column is the most distinguishing element in ancient architecture. As freestanding art, to support arbors and pergolas or in conjunction with elegant gateways, contemporary stone or concrete columns say classic like nothing else.


Finely worked lath is quite French in its applications on freestanding fence-like screens or against existing walls and buildings. Elaborate constellations and eye-fooling, trompe-l’oeil forced perspective makes this an essential element for beauty and problem solving in urban applications.

Pea Gravel

Found in chateaux and villas from Britain to the Mediterranean, this is the choice surfacing material of Europe. Bound by granite or brick, these walks, drives and terraces are the only surface that will “crunch” when you cross it. This material is both inexpensive and versatile.


Dating back to the sundials of ancient Egypt brought to Italy by the Romans, these age-old forms are essential garden décor. Most often used in parterres and potager compositions, wood, iron or stone obelisks are a bold architectural element for classical gardens


What Roman engineering started, the French brought to the pinnacle of fluid design. Classical fountains remain vital to these gardens as focal points and to bring animation to the very staid nature of the rigid planting structures.

Classic is Simple

The roots of these gardens extend back to the Greco-Roman classical civilizations of the Old World. Their preference for symmetry, clean lines and bold geometric forms are easily recognized as expressions of timeless elegance. Classic garden plants are divided into two main groups: those with strong architectural form, and those with softer lush appearance and lavish flowers. Evergreen standards, columnar trees such as Cypress and Yew, and Boxwood hedging materials are all signatures of the style. The Rose, Peony and Tulip each represent a different aspect of this strong floral legacy. The real beauty of the classic garden is found in its simplicity. Ideas from the first century are just as viable in the 21st, proving the garden one creates today will never go out of style. It is the ideal landscape complement for colonial, Italian and French inspired architecture. Whether achieved on a small scale or a grand one, the bold symmetry and crisp forms of the classic garden are powerful tools in any designer’s hands.Topiary forms fit beautifully into a classic garden and may be grown in containers or in the ground. Potted topiaries can be used like portable sculptures and moved around the garden. Monrovia offers topiary spirals, single and multi-branched, tiered pompoms, tear drops, globes, cones, cubes and more. Use these living sculptures to create a formal presentation or add some formal touches to a more relaxed garden. Create an elegant entry by flanking a pair of spirals at the top of a walkway or incorporate round globes at either end of a clipped hedge to act as finials.

Plants for a Classic Garden

Suggested plants: Tiny Tower® Italian Cypress, Winter Gem Boxwood, Flower Carpet® Groundcover Rose, Avalanche Evergreen Clematis, Chilled Wine Siberian Iris, Rozanne Cranesbill, Lavender, Rosemary. Classic topiaries and hedges (Boxwood, Privet, Eugenia, Spruce) help define the look.