Last edited 23 Jul 2021



A garden is an enclosed area of, typically external, land that is cultivated with natural and ornamental features.

The most common type of garden is a residential garden, which a domestic building. However, there are many different variations, including:

  • Winter garden: A garden maintained throughout winter.
  • Landscape garden: A large-scale landscape.
  • Zen garden: A small-scale idealised landscape with plants usually kept to a minimum.
  • French formal garden: Based on symmetry and the idea of imposing order on nature.
  • Tropical garden: Tropical conditions are created to enable the cultivation of tropical plants.
  • Roof garden: A garden located on the roof of a building.
  • Kitchen garden: and ornamental vegetable garden.
  • English garden: A style of landscape garden that idealises nature.

While residential gardens are often maintained by the property owner, professional gardeners, horticulturists and landscape architects are often involved in the design of larger-scale or specialist gardens.

Garden design involves drawing up plans for laying out and planting different landscapes, and this will largely be determined by the purpose for which the garden is intended. Some gardens are purely for aesthetic or ornamental purposes, while others can be more functional – growing food and other crops, and so on.

Other considerations for the planting of gardens include:

The natural elements included in a garden typically comprise:

For more information, see soft landscape.

Some of the hard landscape (or hardscape) elements that can be part of a garden include:

NB A Guide To Climate Change Impacts, On Scotland’s Historic Environment, published by Historic Environment Scotland in October 2019, defines gardens and designed landscapes as: ‘A category of asset encompassing botanic gardens, parks, landscapes laid out for artistic effect and a range of features within these areas.’

For more information, see hard landscape.

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