In landscapers austin an overall lanscaping aesthetic effect is sought, usually to enhance dwellings, public buildings, and monuments and to integrate and beautify parks, playgrounds, and fairgrounds. Formal landscaping involves artificial modifications of the terrain and emphasizes balanced plantings and geometrical design; the naturalistic style incorporates plantings with the natural scenery.
Ornamental gardening and landscape gardening are ancient arts. The Egyptians built formal walled gardens, and the Mesopotamians constructed private parks and terraced gardens—usually on artificial mounds or supported by columns, as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Persians were especially skilled in using water for decorative effects; the Moors carried Middle Eastern styles to Spain. In the East the planting of sacred groves was spread by the Buddhists from India to China and set a style there for naturalistic gardens, in which the beauty of the natural scenery was accentuated by distributing plants so as to allow them free growth and set off their colors and fragrances to best advantage.
The Japanese adopted this principle and elaborated it into a distinct style of highly disciplined arrangements of plants and their settings with the object of achieving subtle beauty based on economy and simplicity. The Japanese art of bonsai gave rise to the unique miniature gardens and dish gardens.