Old money garden ideas: Timeless Elegance

This is the title picture of the article about old money garden. You can see a beautiful garden in front of a huge house.

Old money gardens not only make the homes of the affluent look stunning, but they’re equally beautiful. In a multi-million-dollar estate, it seems only fitting to ensure that the garden complements the grandeur of the house. So, what exactly are they?

As a general rule, old money gardens are elegantly designed, traditionally structured outdoor spaces often associated with affluent and aristocratic estates. Typically, they feature formal layouts, classical elements, and a timeless charm that reflects a sense of history and luxury.

To get to know more about old money gardens as well as some examples of how to transform your own one into an elegant-looking outdoor space, follow this article.

What is old money?

To start with a little definition: Old money describes money or wealth inherited over the course of many generations. With its downpassing, traditions and a strong bond of family typically developed. 

Old money usually lives in rather opulent estates built many years ago that stood the test of time. In a large estate, a beautiful private garden not only preserves distant views but also offers a delightful visual experience.

To get to know more about old money houses, check out my article here.

This picture shows a part of an old money garden.

Crucial elements of old money gardens

Now, let’s look at some typical elements that define a garden as old money. 

Structured layout: A structured layout, may it be circles or squares, gives any garden form and makes it visually appealing.

Trimmed hedges and topiary: Those geometrical forms can be achieved best by paths and trimmed hedges. Those may be cut from time to time but offer a stunning appeal, almost like a labyrinth. Additionally, some topiary forms can look great too.

Gravel and stone paths: A great option to build paths in any garden is to use gravel and natural stones to guide the way.

Driveway: A plastered driveway leading up to the house will look amazing and is very practical.

Fountains: Fountains and water in general offer a great way to add a little sophistication and an Italian vibe to any garden.

Statues and ornaments: Speaking of Italian, statues and ornaments offer a great opportunity to add something special to any garden.

Lots of flowers: Tulips, Roses, and many other flowers make a gorgeous old money garden.

Well-maintained lawn: Just like the Englishmen, a well-maintained lawn is a must-have.

Old trees: Resembling wisdom and heritage, old and huge trees can be found in old money gardens.

Terraces: If there is lots of space, some terraces and little staircases will add a lovely touch to any garden.

Pool: Especially in Italy and other southern countries, am Pool embedded with natural elements can look great in any garden.

Garden architecture: May it be an archway, a little temple, a little garden house, or a patio, those elements are often found in old money gardens.

Of course, not all elements must be found in a garden to be considered old money, but implementing some of them will ensure a timeless and elegant appeal.

Popular examples of old money gardens

Now, let’s look at some examples of old money gardens. Those will most likely not fit your home but these opulent ones give some incredible inspiration.

Villa del Balbianello

Being passed through many Italian families, this astonishing building of the 18th century located at Lake Como is worth a visit on its own. Additionally, its terraced gardens with a variety of plants and fountains and anything you can find in the list above make this one of the greatest old money gardens.

This picture shows the side view of Villa Balbianello, located at Lake Como.
This picture resembles old money gardens perfectly. It shows a part of Villa del Balbianellos gardens.
This picture shows a side view of the garden of Villa del Balbianello.

Versailles Gardens

Located in the Île-de-France region of France, the Gardens of the Palace of Versailles are among the most famous and extravagant historic gardens in the world. Nowhere else are the geometrical shapes and clean lines as present as in those gardens, originally built in the 17th century.

Here, you can see the Versailles Gardens in their full beauty.

Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens, located in Florence, feature astonishing landscaping skills. With huge trees and fountains and statues, those old money gardens stand out as some of the most beautiful ones.

This picture shows the Boboli Gardens located in Florence with their huge trees.

Old money garden ideas

Depending on the size of your estate, various forms of gardens can be featured. Here, we will look at 3 examples of old money gardens that will be appropriate for a one-family home.

English Formal Garden

An English formal garden is known for its structured layout and meticulous attention to detail. Typically, it features clean lines, gravel paths, and trimmed hedges. Also, you may find some ornate statues and little architectural elements like a bench or a small garden house.

Italian Renaissance Garden

Typically, Italian Renaissance gardens are huge but you can convert them into fitting ones for smaller estates. These gardens often feature water and fountains to embrace elegance and timelessness. Symmetric shapes and the use of a pool further enhance this elegance.

Japanese Zen Garden

Whilst they will not be the first ones coming to your mind, Japanese Zen Gardens exude elegance and timelessness whilst maintaining a unique touch. Topiary, moss, and the use of special flowers further enhance the elegance of those types of gardens.

How to make your current garden look old money

So, how can you make your current garden look old money?

As a first step, you will want to get your stuff sorted so that you can put it within clean lines just as you saw in all those examples. Do you love the messy look? Then you can skip this step which I highly recommend though.

With your, hopefully, new-found order you can now start to incorporate gravel or plastered paths. As a low-budget alternative, opt for bark mulch. Additionally, some hedges provide another element of structure.

If you like, you can install some small statues or fountains. Don‘t add too much though as this will look sloppy. If you still have some leftover space, a little architectural element like a bench or small patio will look awesome.

If you wish to add a little more privacy, consider opting for a fence. Everything from metal to wood works here, just not plastic.

By adding these small details step by step, you can transform almost any garden into a beautiful old money one.

Final thoughts on old money gardens

As you can see from this article, the beauty of old money gardens can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any building.

By applying these crucial elements and with the help of different styles and a variety of prominent examples, you have everything you need to transform your current one into a beautiful old money garden.


What does it cost to get an old money garden? 

Implementing some old money elements will start at about $5,000 and up to $50,000 to get a full-on big and new old money garden.

Which garden houses are old money?

Orangeries, Pavilions, Tea Houses, and Conservatories are typical garden houses you will associate with old money.

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