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Designed Landscapes

The English are, and always have been, a nation of gardeners. The results of centuries of working the soil and shaping the landscape can be seen everywhere in the form of historic parks and gardens from town gardens and public parks to the great country estates.

Our research looks at the historic interest, protection and conservation needs of these special places.

Colour aerial photograph showing a country house set by a lake with trees and parkland around
The house and lake at Langley Park, near Slough, photographed on 18-OCT-2007 (NMR 24785/049) © Historic England

We use the term, ‘Designed landscapes’ to capture the wide range of ornamental and recreational landscape types and landscapes that are aesthetically planned, such as :

  • Gardens and landscapes associated with domestic use
    • Sites associated with one household or dwelling such as Stowe or Petworth, palaces, country houses, manor houses, villas, town gardens, terraced houses, cottages.
    • Sites associated with more than one household or dwelling such as communal gardens, squares, housing development.
    • Sites associated with private amenity, but which are not attached to public parks, a particular house or housing scheme, such as private resorts or rented town gardens.
  • Designed landscapes belonging to, or associated with, institutions such as asylums, botanical gardens, cemeteries and even institutional landscapes, colleges, factories, hospitals, hotels, museums, pumping stations, power generation, reservoirs, golf courses and sports facilities.
  • Landscapes designed or used for public amenity and recreation such as public parks, public gardens, public walks, public resorts, country parks.
  • Large scale planned landscapes such as forests, industrial or mineral workings reclamation schemes, transport routes, new towns, riversides and coasts.

Many of these sites are of special historic interest. Since 1983 key sites have been selected and added to the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

The English Landscape Garden in Europe

The 18th century English Landscape Garden style has been described as England’s greatest contribution to the Arts. Michael Symes’ book "The English Landscape Garden in Europe", provides an overview of how this style spread.

The English Landscape Garden in Europe

The English Landscape Garden in Europe

Published 15 April 2016

An overview of how the 18th century English Landscape Garden spread throughout Europe and Russia.

£25.00

Research into Lancelot 'Capability' Brown

See our new research and resources created to mark the Capability Brown 300 festival.

   

Woman with glasses

Jenifer White

Jenifer White, one of our National Landscape Advisers, leads on the Capability Brown Festival for Historic England. Jenifer is a chartered landscape architect specialising in the conservation of historic parks and gardens.

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