A Touch of England in Atlanta

For more than two decades, a gardener creates her ultimate formal garden in her backyard.

Private Path

Private Path

A pea gravel path leads from the parterre garden (with Harland dwarf boxwoods and Edgeworthia) to the potting shed.

Photo by: Photo by Angela West

Photo by Angela West

A pea gravel path leads from the parterre garden (with Harland dwarf boxwoods and Edgeworthia) to the potting shed.

Rosie Davidson describes her Atlanta backyard as an “English garden on steroids.”

From the bottom garden with gardenias, hostas and ferns, to the pool and an upper garden with a Parrotia tree to an expansive deck filled with containers, she’s designed a four-level, terraced Eden on the nearly 1-acre property.

“I like the formality,” she says. “Even in winter, wherever you look in the garden, it’s structure. It’s not bare.”  

Like English gardens, the lawn areas are edged and feature perennial and rose beds, and shrubs of various sizes extending down each side. Davidson faced a garden in horrible condition, with an abundance of dirt and ivy when she and her husband, Lindsay, moved from the United Kingdom to Atlanta more than two decades ago.

Now, paths using materials such as brick, stone, pea gravel and mulch connect multiple “garden rooms” with perennials, specialty maples, ferns, camellias and succulents, plus a vegetable and herb garden. Sculptures of bicycles, children, frogs, cats and other animals add a bit of whimsy to the formal grounds. 

Atlanta’s Gardens to Love by Marcia Weber created some of the pathways over the years and assists Davidson once a year with pruning. Atlanta Wildlife Relocators has helped her fend off snakes, which is one thing she despises in a garden. 

“I said to my husband, ‘I do not want to live near a creek, river, or anything else in this country, in this state, because you will get snakes,’” Davidson says.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Formal Garden Design

Craft a landscape that stages a formal atmosphere to reap rewards of orderly beauty.

Planning Your Outdoor Space

A master plan that incorporates everything from long-range projects to nitty-gritty details will help you design the backyard of your dreams.

Design a Knot Garden

Make patterns that look great from any angle with these helpful tips on creating a knot garden.

Optimize Your Small Outdoor Space

Plan accordingly and your small outdoor space will yield enjoyable, natural living.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens

Make room on your fire escape or pot up some tomato plants—you can grow delicious fruits and veggies even if you don't have much space.

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

Gardening on an Exposed Site

Gardens at high elevations and on exposed sites can be challenging to keep hydrated. Choosing the right plants and protecting from wind damage is essential.

What Is My Microclimate?

Microclimates are local variations in the general climate—they can include soil type, exposure or shelter, and sun or shade. Understanding microclimates enables you to exploit them to your advantage when planting your garden.

The Best Garden Design for Your Lifestyle

Discovering an outdoor design that works best for your schedule, budget and space is key to garden planning.

Year-Round Gardening Ideas

Plant ideas for all seasons vary in colors, shapes and design influences. Lean on these simple tips when planning for your outdoor area.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.