Herb Garden Design – Period Gardens.

If you own a house with a distinct architectural style – such as Early American, Victorian, or Craftsman – you might want to echo the style of that period in your garden landscape and herb garden. Period gardens generally follow the designs, materials, techniques, and plants of a given era. Before you embark on a historical design, read up on the aesthetics and garden design of that period. For a more formal look, you can draw inspiration from Renaissance gardens, which feature geometric patterns, topiaries, fountains, and even statues.

An enclosed medieval-style garden can make a tranquil refuge. You can enclose it with hedging, a tall wooden fence, latticework covered with climbing plants, plaited wicker {wattling}, or walls of brick or stone. Ideally, it should include a fountain. Surround the fountain with an herbal lawn studded with flowers – columbines, irises, pinks, primroses, and violets. If you have a tree in your garden, you can create a turf seat beneath an arbor. The turf seat – a medieval inspiration – is an earth-filled rectangular box surfaced with a creeping herb such as one of the prostrate thymes or creeping chamomile.

The symmetry of a colonial-style garden is also appealing. To make a colonial herb garden, lay out raised, board-sided beds along a central walk. The walk should lead to a sundial or bench. If possible, enclose the garden with a picket fence or a low hedge. Within the beds, you can mix vegetables and herbs or plant only herbs – such as angelica, borage, burnet, calendula, caraway, catmint, chamomile, chervil, comfrey, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon balm, licorice, lovage, madder, mint, nasturtiums, parsley, rue, sage, sweet cicely, tansy, tarragon, and woad. If you’re attempting a true historical recreation, use only the materials available during that period. Wood, wattling, stone, gravel, brick, and clay were the usual building materials during the colonial period.

Want more inspirations for period gardens? Great ideas to add flair to vegetable and herb gardens: See what has inspired our ideas here and here.