An Eighteenth Century Garden
At the end of the eighteenth century there was a gradual move away from the formal layout and plantings of English parks and gardens to the desire for ‘natural’ landscapes. An increased sensitivity to the world of nature, and the importance of the picturesque and romantic movements led to the development of the Natural Style.
The gardens at Houghton Lodge are a charming example of an eighteenth century informal garden designed in this ‘Natural Style’. Architects and garden designers set about softening the boundaries between house and garden with delightful contrivances such as conservatories, French windows, terraces and verandas with vases of flowers and plant containers in profusion both inside and out. There is total harmony between the shape of the house, its carefully contoured lawns and the sweeping bends of the river.
Gardens were designed to be simple, avoiding all ostentation or gaudy ornaments. Grass was meant to be not closely mown, and the house and garden were to harmonise with each other, where you could throw open the French windows and let the garden spill into the house and the house into the garden.
We sadly do not know who designed the gardens at Houghton Lodge. We have been busy restoring it to how it might have looked in Georgian times, and people say they have never seen them looking more beautiful than they do now. Please do come and share them with us.