Mention gardening greats to horticultural enthusiasts and you’ll probably get the name Capability Brown fired back at you. Born in 1716, he has often been called England’s greatest gardener, a landscape architect responsible for the design of some 170 parks, many of which survive to this day. While not everyone’s garden is the size of Capability’s clients’, his inspiration can still be felt today and applied to any sized garden across the UK.
As garden designers in Leeds we take inspiration from many different places including the characteristic slopes of neatly cut grass, large lakes and scatterings of carefully placed trees of his garden landscapes. Capability Brown brought something different to the formal landscape gardening of the time and his bold and fresh approach to the outdoors is still inspiring today.
If you want to see examples of his work, there are plenty of places you can visit today:
Recently restored to all its full magnificence, Croome, in the heart of Worcestershire, was Capability Brown’s first great success. A sensation at the time, it became overgrown during the 19th century and the huge court fell into disrepair until work to bring it back to its original state was begun some 17 years ago. Croome is now a National Trust park and attracts thousands of visitors a year. You can explore the gardens and walk by the large lake and also see how renovations are getting on in the court.
When you stand on the court in front of the castle and stare out across the neatly mowed lawn and gardens, rolling gently down to the lakeside, you certainly feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Capability Brown’s signature design is obvious to see and covers some thousand acres. Sherbourne was originally home to Sir Walter Raleigh and many of the plants were brought back from his travels and planted in the garden, including an impressive Gingko tree.
Perhaps one of the most famous stately homes in the country, Chatsworth House is an example of Capability Brown’s later work. Step to the far side of the lake on a calm day and you can see the building reflected beautifully in the water’s surface. A favourite with many an artist over the years, the lake is offset with a central fountain that speaks a lot of the pomp and circumstance of the era. You can get an excellent tour of the gardens here and learn all about Capability Brown and the history of Chatsworth.
Another famous country home, Blenheim Palace is considered to be Capability Brown’s piece de resistance and certainly marks a zenith in his landscaping career. If you like more intricacy and the prospect of exploring a secret garden, then Blenheim is well worth a visit. The whole garden covers some 2,000 acres and includes all of Capability Brown’s signature designs from the large lake to the rolling landscape. With themed tours held throughout the year, this is one place where you can find everything that Capability Brown is about.
There are many more examples of his work around the UK, from Milton Abbey to Bowood House. When he died in 1783, Brown had indelibly stamped his character on the landscape of England, creating some of the most iconic sites in gardening history. His was a view on a grand scale and it’s difficult to stand and look at sites like Blenheim and Chatsworth without harking back to the heyday of these magnificent estates when lords and masters held sway.
If you want a fresh approach to your garden, a new design so you can enjoy your garden more or have specific ideas about how you want it to look but don’t know where to start then contact North Leeds Garden Design and start changing your outdoor space today.