The formal garden, inspired by Italians, is a structured oasis of calm to escape to.  Formal Gardens are often large, but they don’t have to be – they are just as effective in a small courtyard. 

The Wow factors of the formal gardens is because they’re generally symmetric, neat and tidy, have repeat plantings – either in hedge form, topiary (clipped) ever-green plants, or flowering plants, for example standard roses.  Well-kept and edged lawns are used to enhance the overall appearance and most formal gardens have a focal point - a fountain, bird-bath, sundial or statue.

Formal gardens are often enclosed by taller clipped hedge, a brick wall, or solid fencing, in large formal gardens taller hedges may be designed with clipped archways, leading you from one garden to another. 
Knot Gardens have a continuous low hedge, that responds to clipping and remains tight and compact.  The design of the hedge is a geometric design, most often repeated with mirror image planting for an overall presentation; the impact of the knot garden is best seen by looking down at it.   Knot gardens can enclose a lawn, an herb, vegetable or flower garden, or be surrounded by paving to show off the design elements. 
Planning and discipline – planning is essential and aim for balance and symmetry.  Hedges planted at the same time will help to keep a uniform height from the beginning of the project. Choose limited plant varieties and colours and plant en masse. Vary plant heights to give the impression of space and grandeur.     
Try your hand at make your own topiary – select the desired shape – oval, round, spirals, layered, square, etc.    Choose a tree of suitable height and growth -preferably an evergreen that’s slow growing and has a strong stem. Assemble sharp, clean tools - secateurs, scissors and pruning shears – electric trimmers are not easy to manage for beginners!    Take it slow, and begin to manicure, stop often and stand back and look at the plant from different angles – make any necessary adjustments. 

Plant Suggestions … 

Buxus: Ball, 2-tier balls, 3-teir balls, pyramids and cones

Standards: Buxus, Camellia, Laurus Nobilis, Roses, Citrus 

Low Hedging: Buxus - Balearica, Graham Blandy, Sempervirens, Green Gem, Tide Hill, macrophylla, Azalea varieties, Euonymus, Gardenia Florida, Lavender varieties, Lorotpetalum Chinensis, Myrtus Ugnu

Border plants: Agapantus varieties, Liriope, Ophiopogon, zephyranthes

Tall hedging: Camellia, Laurus Nobilis, Ilex 

Feature Plants: Junpierus Chinensis Kaizuka (Cloud Trees)

Herbs and Vegetables and Flowering plants (roses)


Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: