Pick The Perfect Garden Theme For Your Yard

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Create a backyard paradise and increase the value of your home by designing one of these themed gardens for your yard. By deciding on the style that best fits your home and personal style, along with what you plan to use your backyard for, picking and planning the perfect garden theme can be fun and easy.

English Rose Garden

Formal rose gardens began in Victorian era England for the elite class to show off their horticultural prowess. Since then, the English rose garden has come to represent elegance, tranquility and the mark of a master gardener. With over 100 species of roses, and a wide array of colors to choose from, rose gardens allow plenty of creativity within the family of one flower. Modern hybrids have created sizes, shapes and colors for all purposes, including climbing roses, miniature roses, shrub roses and ground cover roses.

  • These gardens are perfect for anyone looking to escape to their backyard for a peaceful walk, or quiet time to sit on a garden bench among the colorful, fragrant roses which will require at least a moderate amount of maintenance.
  • Installing trellises and archways throughout your rose garden is a great way to add structure and height to your landscaping, and provides the perfect place to plant climbing roses, which can be secured to structures much like ivy.
  • Create walkways and install plenty of seating throughout the garden to keep with the original Victorian theme.
  • This style of garden best compliments cape-cod, colonial, farm house, French provincial, Tudor revival and Victorian style homes.

Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens were originally designed purely for the elite and monasteries to enjoy as a place of peaceful repose and religious worship. Marked by their extreme serenity, Japanese gardens often include symbolism through plants, bridges, water and stone. Because Japan is an island nation, water has always played a large role in its culture.

  • A Japanese garden often includes at least one pond, which can act as the tranquil focal point of the garden. Ponds typically include bridges and small, stone islands for traditional Japanese animals like cranes and turtles to rest on.
  • Simplicity, asymmetry, and serenity are the defining qualities of a Japanese garden, and should be your guide when planting and decorating.
  • Plants should include bamboo, pine, ferns and mosses. Also, lanterns, small bridges and stepping stones are a must.
  • Japanese gardens best compliment a modern or contemporary styled home.


Tropical backyards easily invoke the laid back nature of Hawaii and Polynesia. Great for entertaining and easily sustained in warm, moist environments, a tropical garden can create the perfect mood for a pool party or backyard bar.

  • Defined by their lush, vibrantly colored landscaping, these gardens would not be complete without an abundance of palm and banana trees.
  • Ferns, bird of paradise, orchids and hibiscus compliment any tropical garden, and create the calm, but fun environment this garden is known for.
  • Be sure to include dark stones, mosses and brightly flowering ivy like Brazilian Jasmine or Marsdenia Floribunda, Hawaii's "wedding flower".
  • If you don't live in a naturally tropical environment, this garden will require frequent watering, and would benefit from a drip irrigation system.
  • Tropical gardens best compliment Mediterranean, mid-century modern, art deco, Spanish and craftsman style homes.


Popular in temperate, moderate climates, Mediterranean gardens not only offer a beautiful escape, but also include water wise plants that save money and the environment. These gardens should include plenty of open space, but not for lawns.

  • Gravel, dirt or decomposed granite provides open areas for activities, and less foliage to water.
  • Include weathered wood tables and benches throughout, as well as many antique pots for plants like aloe, agave, crepe myrtle and blushing peggy sammons.
  • Installing fire pits and stone fountains adds a touch of warmth and running water, reminiscent of French and Italian gardens.
  • Drought resistant, native plants blend beautifully with stone, pots and wood furniture.
  • Simplicity is best in this theme, symbolic of both the laid back Mediterranean attitude, as well as the plants' self-sufficient, water wise characteristics.
  • This style of garden best compliments a Mediterranean, Spanish, ranch, pueblo or contemporary style home.


Even if you lack the space of a backyard, urban gardens provide the perfect opportunity for city dwellers to enjoy their favorite plants as well. If you have a patio or rooftop, using pots and various containers allows you many of the same gardening opportunities as a backyard.

  • Use varying sized pots to create flower and plant beds, and place the largest on wheels so they can be easily moved.
  • Another trick to keep big pots light is to fill the bottom half with plastic bottles or styrofoam, then pour potting soil on top.
  • Place minimal, small furniture throughout the patio or rooftop, as space is limited and you should avoid large, area cramping pieces.
  • Be sure to keep tabs on your plants' water needs as sprinklers or irrigation systems are not an option.
  • This type of garden best suits anyone living in an apartment, townhome or loft.

Decide what garden theme best fits your personality, as well as which one would flatter your home's style. By placing specific plants and accessories in your yard, you can enjoy one of many available options from around the world.

Last Updated: July 21, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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