The Arts and Crafts garden deserted the extravagant decorative style of the high Victorian. It was very much a rejection of the industrial movement as well as current styles of the time and a nostalgic step towards reapplying established types of gardens. More simplified arrangements were employed and medieval, romantic and folk styles of ornamentation were reintroduced.
Gertrude Jekyll was a very skilled woman, who was well educated and passionate about art. She met architect Edwin Lutyens around 1890 when she was 47 and he was 21. Despite him being far younger, their ideas and attitudes were similar and they worked extremely well together. He was a diligent landscape artist and she contributed her horticultural artistry by choosing what was to be planted. Lutyens designed her house at Munstead Wood so that it was the perfect setting for a garden she had already created. They continued to work together for many years and created a harmonious meeting of garden and architectural art forms.
The Arts and Crafts garden was a symbol of economic and social improvement. Exotic plants were being introduced at this time, and hardy plants that were also exotic were better suited for the English climate than others. Generally there was an expansive terrace or walk adjacent to the house would progress to an open lawn, and the garden view would be beyond that. At Munstead, a woodland garden with seas of flowers was featured. The flower artistry included azaleas, daffodils, rhododendron and a shrub border. Jekyll was a meticulous artist and wanted the optimum colours and forms to create interest. Seasonal displays were often featured in Arts and Crafts gardens, including Hestercombe, a product of Jekyll and Lutyens partnership. Plantings differed based upon season and access to sun and shade.They integrated features from past gardens spanning several centuries. Local stones were used for steps, walls, paths, rills and a pergola that stretched across the site, rimming the edge of a part with formal design. Flowers and colorful plants chosen by Jekyll softened any harsh formalities. There was a sunken garden and panels of greenery surrounded by perennials. Seasons were also considered at Vann, in Surrey, the woodland garden swaddles a picturesque Tudor house and has cottage garden and formal components. There is a water garden additionally with small ponds encircled by exotic plants. Flowers cover the walls and it makes for a quaint, yet vividly attractive landscape setting.