The gardens of Greece and Rome assured an emotional security though their formal style. The Persian, Moorish gardens of Spain and Mughal gardens were also of the same kind and were strictly formal, symmetrical and geometrical resembling a carpet.
The Italian renaissance garden was having intricate geometric designs, sheared trees, trimmed hedges and edges to create formality. The impact of formalism influenced the French and British gardens also in the form of parterre, the much divided flower beds.
The key features of formal design are
The design is stiff as everything is done in a straight and narrow way.
If there is a plant on the left hand side of a straight road, a similar plant must be planted at the opposite place on the right hand side i.e., mirror image of each other.
The plan is symmetrical with square, rectangular and roads cut at right angles.
It has a sort of enclosure or boundary.
Flower beds are arranged in geometric designs.
The arrangement of trees and shrubs is necessarily geometrical and kept in shape by trimming and training.
Other features like fountains, water pools, cascades etc. are used for further attraction.
Formal gardens have no ‘secrets’ and the element of surprise is lost.
However, attractive focal points at terminal and intersecting points of paths and roads are provided to make the formal garden effective.
Present day home gardens are laid out in formal design only at the frontage.
The idea behind this design is to imitate nature.
Hindu, Buddhist and Japanese gardens lay no emphasis on formality.
Woodlands (vanams) and running water (streams and rivers) was the main feature around which the garden was created in natural way.
Brindavan of Lord Krishna was woodland.
Every temple was provided with irregular shaped lotus tanks. (Latter on such tanks were given masonry boundary either rectangular or square).
Japanese developed a naturalistic style of gardening. It is in Japanese garden that the asymmetric balance has been perfected.
The impact of industrial climate drove the British to opt for natural gardens later.
The further man is isolated from nature (due to industrial revolution) the deep is the longing to go back to nature. The industrialized cities have become concrete jungles with
no flavour and aroma of nature. To avert this, the concept of natural gardens was given impetus.Nature’s projection of mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes on a larger canvas of earth’s surface is informal with all its grandeur. Such grandeur is mimicked in informal gardens.
Key features of informal style / natural style
This style reflects naturalistic effect of total view and represents natural beauty.
It is contrast to formal style.
Plan is asymmetrical according to the land available for making the garden.
Smooth curvaceous outlines are more appropriate.
Water bodies are more irregular in shape.
Features such as hillocks, water falls, lakes, islands, cascades, rocks, shola and rustic hutments are provided to create rural effect.
Plants are appropriately grouped and they are not trimmed, so as to avoid geometrical arrangements.