- Baroque plot layout
- Chinese style elements
- Openwork forged elements
- Baroque ponds in the garden
- How to stay within the bounds of taste when decorating a baroque garden
In this article we will consider the device of landscape design in the Baroque style, which combines both the splendor of the French regular style and the sophistication of the English landscape. Let’s get acquainted with the basic techniques and secrets of the device of this masterpiece of landscape gardening design.
All those who have a negative attitude to luxury and splendor can be answered with the words of the great Greek Aristippus – “If luxury were bad, it would not be at the feasts of the gods.” It is the luxury, splendor, some pompousness and pretentiousness that are the hallmarks of the not so common, but very original and bright style of decoration of garden plots and adjoining territories – the baroque. To better understand the features of this style, one can recall the architectural structures: the Winter Palace, the palaces of Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo, the Apraksins’ house in Moscow, the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Cathedral of St. George in Lvov.
It should be noted that each country introduced its own national ideas of luxury and beauty into the style. That is why there are varieties such as Russian, Dutch, Italian and other baroque.
When deciding on the arrangement of a garden in this style, it is worthwhile to understand that, firstly, a residential building must be included in the landscape, and for this it must be made in the Baroque, if not in its pure form, then at least have features inherent in this architectural style. :
- plastered facade in pastel colors
- the presence of a tower, columns, bay windows, niches
- massive front staircase
- stucco, carved ornament
- semicircular windows
It is rather difficult to bring the already constructed building into conformity.
Secondly, a baroque garden cannot be small. Its design requires space. The plot must be no less than 15-20 acres.
The Baroque style in the design of landscape design can be conditionally characterized as a free mixture of French regular and English landscape with notes of romanticism. But unlike the English and French parks, the Baroque park does not obey such strict canons. The pomp, solemnity and well-groomed inherent in these styles coexists with pathos, and even light shocking and pretentiousness.
The French Baroque style is brought together by the desire to transform the natural landscape at will. At the same time, it is difficult to leave a strict list of elements mandatory for recognizing the style, since the main criterion here is the desire of the owner. And although in the garden of the Baroque style there are terraces, and straight alleys, and parterre, and complex cascades, and fountains, some of the above may well not be.
So. The main elements of landscape design in the Baroque style:
- Strict division of the garden area into clearly defined zones. When drawing up a site plan, you can use the technique of planning an apartment, where each zone is practically a target “room”.
- A mixture of regularity and landscape (straight and winding paths, regular landscaping and free planting, topiary).
- Application of rounded geometry (ovals, circles) and typical baroque curls.
- Incorporating Chinese-style elements into the landscape.
- Active use of vertical gardening (arches, screens, pergolas, etc.).
- The presence of hedges.
- Arrangement of elegant, bright lawns, a large abundance of roses and other expensive, noble flowering shrubs, flower beds.
- Active use of forged openwork elements in garden forms and furniture, fences.
- The device of any reservoirs, fountains, cascades.
- Seeming lack of a sense of proportion – the garden can be oversaturated with elements. But this is a deceiving impression.
Baroque plot layout
When drawing up a plan, you can use a simple technique – to imagine that the garden is a house in which a large number of guests are going to receive, who need to show how successful and rich the owners are. Since the reception of guests begins at the door, then the planning should start from the gate. It is best if they are forged, possibly white, with a lot of gold-plated details. It is better to make the main alley straight and wide, the side alley – straight or winding, if desired. The paths are either paved or gravel.
Symmetry during planning is optional, but if you wish, some of the zones can be planned according to this principle. In the garden, as well as in the living room, there should be a ceremonial “room” – a parterre, a dining room – a gazebo or pergola, a place for solitude and reflection – a belvedere, an office – a museum, where wonders from all over the world are collected.
It is best to use hedges, arches, screens, openwork trellises with climbing plants as boundaries of zones. Their outlines must be clearly drawn up on the plan. Moreover, they can be completely arbitrary – straight or rounded, if desired, even completely asymmetrical. Most often, yew, boxwood, euonymus, and thuja are used to decorate hedges. It is better not to arrange solid hedges, but to “break” them with the help of arches or trellises entwined with climbing roses or clematis.
The mix of landscape and regularity inherent in the Baroque is not easy. In order to prevent bad taste and chaos, it is better not to try to do this inside the zone. But neighboring zones may well contrast with each other. A very interesting distinctive feature of this style of landscape design is the outlines of hedges and flower beds in the form of curls, for example, oriental cucumber, spiral, rose inflorescence.
If you wish, you can arrange a labyrinth. It can also be completely freeform. The centers of lawns, flower beds, as well as niches in the hedge are decorated with sculptures, a flowerpot, a fountain, etc..
It is quite possible to plant any fruit trees in the Baroque garden, but it is worthwhile to arrange them either with hanging pots with flowering plants, or with “root” bright flower beds.
Chinese style elements
The use of Chinese themes in the Baroque garden is due to the great interest of the aristocracy in the traditions of the East. At all times, the fashion for China practically did not pass. The presence of Chinese trinkets, vases, weapons in the house was considered a sign of wealth. That is why it is very desirable to triple the “Chinese” corner in the garden in the Baroque style, or at least to emphasize by placing some stylized “curiosity”, for example, to arrange a Chinese vase, a golden statuette of Buddha or a dragon on a pedestal, to install an expensive column made of noble natural stone use traditional bright red or deep green with gold trim.
You can arrange a pagoda-pagoda in the Chinese style, plant sakura, and decorate the approach to the area with a Chinese-style bridge. Don’t be afraid to overload the area with details. In the case of the Baroque, we can say that “there are never too many vases”.
Openwork forged elements
We can say that openwork forging is one of the main elements that make a baroque garden recognizable. Moreover, the more bizarre the forged patterns are woven, the better. Benches should have curved legs and resemble baroque furniture.
When painting, it is best to use white, and paint the decorative details with gold. The presence of gold elements is generally a prerequisite for the design of garden forms and baroque furniture. In principle, any pure pastel colors can be used. The main thing is that all painted parts are kept in the same color scheme..
Baroque ponds in the garden
If the site already has a reservoir, then the main task should be to design it “according to the laws of the genre.” If this is a stream, then a richly decorated bridge should be thrown across it and benches or even a gazebo should be placed on the shore. An existing pond should be decorated with a sculptural composition or a richly decorated fountain. Decorate the banks with a concrete parapet or lay out with large smooth cobblestones.
When arranging reservoirs in a Baroque garden, it is worth remembering the best example, the standard of style – the Peterhof Palace. Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to repeat this masterpiece in your garden, but you can certainly understand the basic principle of the arrangement of fountains and cascades.
The cascade can be very small, only one level from one and a half meters high. Can be large and multi-level. But the presence in its design of natural stone, stucco, sculptures, gilding is strictly required. The same rule applies to the arrangement of fountains. The more intricate and complex the design, the more expensive and richer the fountain looks, the better. The ideal option would be to have one large cascade or ridge of fountains on the site, as well as several small ones in various corners of the garden.
It is necessary to consider the fountain lighting system. This should be done even at the design stage, simultaneously with the development of a general electrification of the garden, which should be efficient and powerful. Musical or dancing fountains are a great option. Their device will require considerable material costs..
How to stay within the bounds of taste when decorating a baroque garden
This is a very important question. On the one hand, a recognizable feature of the style is the oversaturation of elements and details, the excess of luxury and wealth. On the other hand, the need to stay within the aristocratic outlook on life, within the sense of style and taste.
Here are some simple tricks and rules to help you cope with this task:
- Dividing the garden into strictly defined zones will avoid bad taste. For example, the area in which the gazebo will be located, let it be decorated in the antique style and all sculptures, vases, columns should be selected or stylized to match this style. In the Chinese zone there are only oriental decorative elements and furniture. That is, you can afford absolutely everything, but within the framework of the zone and the style chosen for it.
- It is worth paying attention to the quality of execution of decorative elements. It is clear that authentic sculptures or real ancient Chinese porcelain vases cannot be used to decorate the garden. But their copies must be of sufficient quality and in no case look cheap..
- The garden must be very well maintained. This is a prerequisite that must be taken into account when deciding on a baroque landscape design device. Caring for a large plot is very laborious, if it is not possible to use the services of a professional gardener, you should be ready for the laborious and constant process of keeping the garden in perfect condition.
- It is worth being prepared for serious expenses for plant material. Just like everything in a Baroque garden, the plants must be expensive, varietal, with fresh greenery or constantly blooming. The best win-win option is roses of different varieties and types..
The device and maintenance of landscape design in the Baroque style is not an easy and expensive business, but a properly arranged garden will become a real corner of prosperity and comfort even in the largest and noisiest modern metropolis..
In the device of the three styles of garden design we have considered, ponds play an important role. That is why the next article will be devoted to this issue – the device of ponds, fountains, cascades in the garden. Next, we will return again to a detailed examination of the styles of landscape design..