From early French, meaning ‘on the ground’ a parterre is a formally planned garden area planted on a level surface, planned for the formal area in front of the house, designed purposely to be viewed from the first floor salon, or entertaining hall.
The parterre motif should stand out in relief, defined by the green lines of plants (traditionally clipped box or yew) contrasting with fine gravel paths wide enough to walk along, but primarily determined by the design.
* Floral inserts were a separate, later addition, created for the sole purpose of displaying wealth and colour, i.e. singly, white against the solid green outline, or as blocks of brightly varied colour.
* The geometric box hedges knot gardens, and the lovely kitchen/vegetable gardens are parterre derivations. And the term ‘parterre’ is now often used to describe any formally laid out, box edged gardens that may enclose a suffusion of plants: roses, grasses, lilies etc. Though beautiful flower gardens, these aren’t strictly parterres in the clean-lined, traditional sense.
* Low-clipped hedges, wall edging floral plantings and water features have many historical and global incarnations, see ( Bagh ) apart from and earlier the relatively late European incarnation that we call parterre.
* In textiles, the term parterre is applied to a fabric or border design that is printed or woven with the depictions, plans, motifs and geometric reference to the formal and intricate layout of the garden parterre; this is also the case with wallpapers.