Garden Forever

Landscape Gardening Resource: Architecture, Themes and Terms

Garden landscaping consists of a layout creation and design process for various gardens and landscapes. Garden landscaping may be conducted by the property owner or landscaping professionals with enough background experience to provide quality work. Most landscaping professionals have an educational background in horticulture, including an extensive knowledge about plants, trees, and other greenery. Landscape architects possess an advanced degree in garden design and often pursue state licensing. Amateur gardeners gravitate towards learning through books, workshops, conventions, study programs, other educational materials, and arduous hours of trial and error.

Garden landscaping for aesthetic purposes originated with Persian gardeners. Most of the Medieval European gardens consisted of a large variety of herbs for medicinal use, vegetables for food, and other botanicals for creative purposes. The gardens of the Renaissance period are shown in many of the artwork displays of that era. The Chinese and Japanese gardens originated during the Jin Dynasty of 265 to 420 A.D. Each nation had an informal means of controlling and developing landscape designs with some heavily influenced by the art movement of the time, while others crafted elegant gardens for the sheer enjoyment and beauty it had to offer.


Landscape architecture consists of outdoor and public area design to achieve environmental, social behavioral, and aesthetic results. Landscape architecture involves investigating the current social, ecological, and geological conditions within the landscape and then designing interventions in order to produce a favorable outcome. Landscape architect professionals enact site, town, urban, site, and recreational planning, urban design, visual resource management, private estate and residence master planning. Landscape architectural designs include: water falls, bridges, outdoor theatres, arched walkways, and hermitages.

Theme Landscaping:

Theme landscaping consists of personalizing the basic concepts behind shrubbery and flowery landscapes. Botanical gardens usually include one of several different themes, such as Japanese, Daylilly, Hummingbird, Bog, Herb, and Rose Gardens. In fact, a basic vegetable garden carries its own theme. Depending on the owners intent, a theme garden can generate multiple purposes, including welcoming guests, constructing a children's playground, hosting ceremonies, serving as a place of residence for hermits, and may reflect psychological, social, and culture aspects. Theme landscaping can serve as artistic expression or hold utilitarian value.

Glossary of Landscaping Terms:

  • Arcade: a series of consecutive arches, including tree-lined walkways.
  • Arcadia: a Grecian plateau devoted to pastoral poetry to represent an ideal landscape of peace and contentment for philosopher-shepherds.
  • Architrave: a term referring to the molding around a doorway or window, especially at the lowest level of the entablature, which lies right above the column's capital.
  • Baluster: a series of supporting vertical rail posts that form a balustrade, or the building's roofline surrounding the border of a staircase or porch.
  • Baroque: a passionate 17 th century form of sculpture, which outlines the grandeur of curved structures, including voluptuous figures and expansive landscapes.
  • Bastion: a rampart's or ha-ha's projecting section.
  • Belvedere: a roofed open gallery, such as a gazebo, that commands a good view of the surrounding countryside.
  • Cabinet: a walkway's hedged enclosure.
  • Capital: a decorative head to a column or pilaster, which denotes at least one of the five architectural orders.
  • Capriccio: a landscape painting reflecting the whim of the artist in place of the exact architectural works in an unusual setting, such as the Roman Colosseum or Saint Paul's Cathedral in Venice.
  • Cascade: water falls arranged in stages of succession, either through a rock formation or over a series of steps. .
  • Champain: expansive open-ended landscaping on the countryside.
  • Champêtre: an untouched, pastoral artistic style.
  • Clump: a tree cluster along a landscape garden purely for aesthetic purposes.
  • Coffer: a consecutive series of recessed panels within a ceiling, usually composed of plaster.
  • Colonnade: a consecutive series of columns separated at regular intervals and located at the base of a roof structure.
  • Column: an upright structural support, usually cylindrical and located a the base, shaft and capital.
  • Cornice: the highest point of the entablature, including the highest point of the molding within the internal or external walls.
  • Dentil: a projecting, razor-like molding, which represents the rooftop or ceiling beams ends, usually found on the cornices of landscaping buildings.
  • Down: a tree-less upland plain.
  • Entablature: the highest point of a classical architectural order, usually a series of decorations situated above the colonnade's capitals.
  • Espalier: a series of fruit trees that form a hedge in gardening landscaping.
  • Exedra: an open-ended recess area, usually intended for conversation and other social events.
  • Eyecatcher: an architectural structure constructed on a distant rise in order to grab the attention of the viewer. It promotes the beauty of the surrounding garden into the countryside.
  • Façade: the front of a building given special architectural treatment.
  • Festoon: a painted mural of leaves and ribbons that are separated between two points.
  • Fête galante: a Watteau painting characterized in outdoor gatherings of both men and women, usually dressed in contemporary clothes who engage in dance, scholarly conversation, music composition, and flirtation.
  • Flutes: rounded upright grooves located on a column or pilaster.
  • Folly: a garden building aimed at “fooling” the eye.
  • Frieze: the centered portion of the entablature, usually decorated with classical motifs.
  • Front: the architectural face of a building, also known as the facade.
  • Glade: the open and grassy area, often surrounded by woods.
  • Gothic: refers to a style of architecture prevalent between the 12 th and 16 th centuries, often characterized by arches, buttresses, grotesque decorations and vaulting.
  • Grand style: a style of painting that promote the figures and background in formal and idealized ways.
  • Grotto: an underground passage decorated with crystals, broken pieces of shells and mirror, and incorporates running water in pools and streams in order to promote a mysterious effect.
  • Guglio: an obelisk, often topped by a pyramid, which acts as a fountain.
  • Ha-ha: a sunk-in fence, or a ditch with identical sloping and vertical sides, often built into a retaining wall. The ha-ha serves as a barrier for sheep, cattle, and deer in order to allow an unbroken view of the surrounding landscape .
  • Herm: a statuesque head of a Grecian god, often placed on a square stone pillar.
  • Hermitage: a garden building intended as a hermit's living quarters. It serves to raise the appreciation for contemplation within the context of a natural setting.
  • Heroic painting: a grand style of painting, which depicts historical, mythological, and scriptural scenes. Heroic paintings also promotes heroic characteristics, such as courage, loyalty, generosity and justice-serving.
  • Knot: a small, rectangular garden, created during Tudor times, which consists of intricate, geometric, knotted and sprawled out dwarf plants, including box and rosemary.
  • Loggia: an upper-level gallery and arcade located on the rooftop of a building.
  • Manor: a Medieval domain of an overlord in Western Europe, which included any land estate.
  • Neoclassicism: an 18 th century artistic style, often characterized by its uniformity and regularity.
  • Obelisk: an uppermost, four-sided, and tapered stone wall pillar within a pyramid, often inscribed or plain. Obelisks are located at the center of a pool, near the crown of a hill or terrace walk.
  • Orangery: a building with multiple windows, often built with the intention of housing potted orange plants during the winter months.
  • Order: an order consists of one of the five architectural designs, including a base, column, and entablature. Orders are most often seen at the column's capital.
  • Ornament: an architectural decoration consisting of urns, statuary, friezes and other ornamental figures.
  • Parapet: a protective wall or railing surrounding the edge of a walkway, embankment or rooftop.
  • Parterre: flower garden beds and paths designated to form a pattern similar to the design of an indoor Persian carpet.
  • Pastoral: a type of poetry and painting reflecting the life of shepherds, especially during the golden age of the classical ages.
  • Patte d'oie: radiating garden avenues, particularly named after a goose's foot.
  • Pediment: an architectural structure located above a window, door, or porch, often triangular or segmental.
  • Peristyle: a temple or other architectural structure enclosed in a colonnade.
  • Piano nobile: the main floor of a building where the most rooms are located.
  • Picturesque: an artistic principle reflected in painting and gardening that emphasizes the rough and irregular edges in a landscape.
  • Pilaster: a rectangular column at the base and capital of a wall.
  • Plinth: a block or slab where a column, pedestal, or stature is located.
  • Portico: an architectural design used by Palladio and his followers, which consists of a colonnade that supports a pedimented roof.
  • Quincunx: the arrangement of five objects, including trees to form a rectangle. Each object is placed at the four corners with one remaining at the center of the pattern.
  • Quoin: a series of consecutive stones laid at the exterior corns and angles of a building, and consists of contrasting material of that wall.
  • Rampart: a fortification for defensive purposes, which consists of an embankment with parapet along the top of the structure.
  • Redoubt: a temporary or permanent defensive fortification of a rampart of similar structure.
  • Rococo: an 18 th century artistic style represented by energy, lightness, delicacy, self-consciousness and playfulness.
  • Rotunda: a circular or domed-shaped building or hall.
  • Rustication: the rough finish, either naturally or artificially created on blocks of masonry.
  • Stylobate: the solid foundation of a colonnade.
  • Tetrastyle: a form of an architectural structure consisting of four columns.
  • Theatre: a series of tiers or terraces along a hillside, which resembles the formation of outdoor seating in a classical theatre.
  • Tonsure: the shape of evergreen clippings.
  • Topiary: a garden trimmed and hedged into specific geometric or animistic formations.
  • Topographical painting: a landscape painting that represents facts, especially royal and aristocratic residences.
  • Tufa: calcareous and siliceous deposits of fresh water sources, including rock composed of volcanic ash.
  • Venetian window: a window characterize by a central arch opening with wide and tall flank openings that have flat entablatures.
  • Vista: an extended view into the countryside.