Modern, classical, globally inspired – there are as many garden styles as there are flowers. The following anthology highlights the styles and components of exceptional outdoor projects, as well as key elements and products that enhance amazing outdoor living spaces.
The hallmarks of a classical garden are timeless, grand elements that create an elegant and structured formal space. Classical gardens are characterized by clearly defined geometry, dramatic focal points and symmetrical details, enhanced by hardscape, plantings, and ornament. Classical Italian and French gardens are admired for their precise, restrained plantings within formal walkways and garden rooms punctuated by grand garden ornamentation. Main plantings are pristine lawns with linear hedges to define spaces in parterres. Focal points such as fountains, statuary, obelisks, urns, and armillary sundials add to the drama of the classical garden, no matter the size of the garden.
English Cottage Gardens
The English Cottage Garden is one of the most popular garden styles because of its cozy and inviting atmosphere, traditional elements, rich greenery, and colorful florals. Roses are often found throughout the English Garden adding unmistakable charm. Unlike the classical garden which often has a precise, symmetrical layout, the English Garden is full of secret nooks, garden rooms, and weaving paths. Strategically placed garden benches, fountains, and sundials add a layer of character and discovery to the garden. Garden designers often incorporate smaller statuary among bushes and plantings, encouraging visitors to discover and engage with elements of the garden as the experience unfolds. Smaller fountains, either free-standing or wall mounted within the garden “rooms”, add a sensory experience and profound sense of relaxation.
Modern Lounge Spaces
The modern aesthetic in outdoor spaces is characterized by clear geometry with attention to scale and proportion to add drama. The focus is on materials and architecture, not plantings, and the absence of decorative elements and the minimal materials palette put the focus on key design elements. Clean, uninterrupted surfaces, multiple levels and planes, and angular pools add to the modern vibe. Timeless, clean-lined furniture that spans periods, such as the neoclassical style, perfectly complement modern lounge spaces.
Left: Florentine Classic collection's Neoclassical Grand Sofa Four Seats and Star Design Chaise Lounge on a penthouse rooftop. Right: The Neoclassical Double Settee and Neoclassical Arm Chairs with custom red cushions by the poolside.
When designing a garden with an Asian influence, the goal is focus, aesthetic pleasure, relaxation, and contemplation. A careful mélange of natural elements is key for a Japanese garden, with a mix of water elements, rocks, and focal point trees. Focal points include garden gates, foot bridges, and stone lanterns, which are strategically placed to accentuate the natural beauty. Small, integrated fountains add a calming element, especially when stylistically in harmony with Asian motifs. At the extreme, true Zen gardens are minimalist and stylized in form and materials, exemplified by carefully composed scenes of pruned trees and bushes, rock arrangements, and sand raked to represent ripples of water. Japanese gardens work well as a complement to modern buildings.
The Courtyard Garden
A tucked-away secret garden in the middle of a city is an unexpected delight and serves as an oasis from the hustle and bustle. Whether public or private, the courtyard garden can be a hidden gem with the addition of a fountain as a soothing focal point, which also masks unwanted sounds. Decorative wall fountains work well in the courtyard setting. Urns and planters provide life and seasonal color in small footprints and are easy to maintain. Bordered by ornamental fencing and greenery, the courtyard garden ensures a private, quiet respite from the world around.
The iconic Central Park bench conjures up memories of sunny afternoons watching the world go by. The most hardworking elements in urban parks are sturdy benches which are strategically sited for taking in the scenery and enjoying a respite from city life. Ample seating is key to public enjoyment, as are game tables such as the iconic chess tables that dot New York City parks, often attracting spectators around intense chess matches. From pastoral rolling hills to hard-edged urban settings, the appropriate bench style, materials, and installation are vital to the success of a park’s design. Functional site furnishings such as bike racks and waste receptacles, as well as decorative elements like fountains and statuary, add to the public’s enjoyment.
The 1939 World's Fair Bench in Astoria Park in Queens, New York.
About Kenneth Lynch & Sons:
As the premier supplier of benches to New York City parks and many parks around the country, Kenneth Lynch & Sons has worked with municipalities and landscape architects to create inviting public spaces that are enjoyed by millions of people. Since its founding over 90 years ago, Kenneth Lynch & Sons has developed a wide selection of timeless products for gardens, parks, and outdoor living. Their garden statuary, ornamentation, and outdoor furnishings in many styles, materials, and customization options offer solutions for even the most complex project.
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