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: 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: 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.