ISSUE 9  |  Grand Gardens

The Grandes Dames: 10 Stately Gardens from the Gardenista Gallery

March 05, 2014 2:30 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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Garden designer Paul Hendershot takes issue with the word “formal” to describe refined gardens. “That’s so American,” he says. “They see one clipped bush and call it formal.” He has a point. (And he’s American.)

Here, we chose 10 sophisticated favorites from the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory. Whatever you want to call these gardens–elegant, elaborate, swoon-worthy–they’re likely far fancier than yours or mine. Are they formal? Who cares. We’re going for grand.

Above: Connecticut-based Doyle Herman Design Associates won a best landscape award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for the grounds of this historic Greenwich estate.

Above: The landscape of this Bellport, New York, home by NYC-based Gunn Landscape Architecture includes an outdoor lap pool, several rose gardens, and hedges galore.

Above: Boston area-based Stephen Stimson Associates designed the gardens of this Osterville, Massachusetts, home by Catalano Architects. To create a feeling of breadth, Stimson divided the two-acre property into smaller spaces connected by an extensive system of paths, a terraced lawn, and Cape Cod-style clipped hedges. Photograph by Charles Mayer.

Above: Neatly trimmed low hedges in this Ojai, California, garden by Paul Hendershot provide an organizational frame for small trees and groupings of lavender. Photograph by Alicia Cattoni.

Above: San Anselmo, California-based Blasen Landscape Architecture designed this refined terraced garden overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California. Photograph by Marion Brenner

Above: When Deborah Nevins‘ clients wanted to add a pool and pool house to their long, narrow property, the designer made an existing 40-foot-wide butternut tree the anchor of the landscape–with the rest of the grounds divided into surrounding outdoor rooms. Photograph by Deborah Nevins.

Above: London-based Richard Miers designed the formal gardens of Stanhoe Hall in Norfolk, UK. The gardens of the circa 1702 residence are occasionally made open to the public. 

Above: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture designed this garden in Atherton, California, south of San Francisco. The meandering property features terraced flower gardens, a solitary courtyard of ginko trees, and an allée of linden trees with a stone fountain at the front entry. Photograph by Marion Brenner.

Above: This Greenwich landscape by Susan Wisniewski features a circular driveway and topiary-and-ivy-filled courtyard. Trimmed hedges and stone-lined walkways complete the look.

Above: Wirtz International Landscape Architects in Belgium designed this sprawling nine-acre private garden near Antwerp. The main garden at left features a canal with walking path and interconnected hedges, and the modern garden at right has raised triangular beds of long grasses contrasting with tightly cropped lawn. 

For more refined gardens, see Brit Style: The Garden With (Almost) No Flowers, Louis Benech: Twelve French Gardens, and Contemporary Designers’ Own Gardens.