December 20, 2019

Historically Sensitive Victorian Planting Plans

This package of three (3) historically appropriate planting plans for traditional Victorian homes is designed to fit a typical front-yard for the period (approximately 50’ wide X 45’ deep). The planting plan is designed for landscapes in the intermountain west, for USDA Zones 4-6 (see provided map image).
Victorian era gardens were all about leisure and beauty. During this period increasingly prosperous middle and upper classes now had more time and money to build beautifully ornate homes and gardens. Technological advancements and trade made elaborate garden features, like ornamental iron fences, arbors, benches, fountains popular. The invention of the lawnmower meant that every home could now have an expansive amount of lawn. And the availability of large plate glass, and it’s use in greenhouses meant that the Victorians could now easily propagate colorful annuals and exotic plants. Of course, old-fashioned flowering shrubs and trees were ever popular during the Victorian period. Carpet bedding was all the rage and was usually placed in the center of lawn areas or along the edges of paths where their low and colorful patterns could easily be enjoyed, viewed from the front porch or by passers-by strolling down the sidewalk. Foundation planting wasn’t a thing yet, and the lawn usually used as a universal ground cover (extending all the way from sidewalk to the foundation of the home), with shrubs and carpet beds placed like sculpture in the landscape)

We specialize in researching and documenting historic landscapes. We designed each of these planting plans to achieve harmony with the architecture and philosophy of the Victorian Movement. The plans include the following:

Traditional Garden: This traditional planting template illustrates what a “typical” Victorian Era front yard would have looked like in a standard neighborhood development pattern in the late 1800’s. The plants specified are plants that would have been available and widely used during this period, and the arrangement is typical for the period.

Edible Garden: This adapted front-yard planting template accommodates front-yard vegetable gardening and edible landscaping that is sensitive to the context and architecture of Victorian era homes. Many of the plants specified would have been widely available and used in landscapes during the Victorian period.
Water-Wise Garden: This adapted front-yard planting template to accommodate water-wise and native intermountain plant material sensitive to the context and architecture of Victorian era homes. The plants specified are plants are xeric, low-water use, and native plants selected and arranged in the spirit of the Victorian movement.

We also offer each of these plans for sale individually on our etsy page. Each design is based on our study of famous Victorian Landscape Designers, historic photos showing period landscapes, historic garden design resources, as well our own observations of well-preserved historic landscapes and gardens. Because architectural styles and development patterns during this era were very standardized, this plan should be easily adaptable to most standard, period front yards easily by adding or deleting plants as needed. However, if you would like, we offer customization services – contact us for details.
Each planting plans features symbols identifying the type and location of each individual plant (or grouping of multiples of the same plants for mixed border perennial bed areas). Each plant symbol is keyed to a legend offering several options for plant species selection – this is to accommodate for personal preference as well as local/seasonal availability of plant materials. Note: This is a plan only and does not include the actual plants.

To purchase and download this planting plan, call, email, or visit or etsy page at