Formal gardens are all about order, geometric lines and a strong sense of direction. They might be classical or contemporary, be based around symmetry or asymmetrical in layout with neat and tidy or full and flowery planting.

Reflecting the architectural lines of the built environment, formal gardens form part of the history and heritage of many cultures from The Alhambra to Hidcote.

Straight lines in pathways and paving direct the eyes and the feet to where we want them to look, a fabulous view, a beautifully shaped tree or a particularly nice pot.

Neatly clipped hedges and topiary add to the effect when used throughout the garden or can bring a formal element of surprise to an otherwise informal scheme.

Formal planting is something we associate with the Victorians and municipal bedding but we can add a modern twist by using ornamental grasses in rows and formal blocks to delineate or fill a space.