Use Places & People to search over 6,600 parks and gardens in the UK and 2,100 biographies of people associated with them. Image location: Bedgebury National Pinetum

Learn about the rich heritage of parks and gardens in Topics.
Image location: Powis Castle

Follow News & Events, updated regularly with the latest information affecting historic parks and gardens. Image location: Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Visit the Schools for ideas and activities to encourage the interest of children and young people in their local parks. Image location: Trentham

Join us as a volunteer and Research & Record historic parks and gardens in your area.
Image location: Cirencester Abbey

View the Illustrated Glossary which provides definitions and accompanying images for terms and concepts associated with historic parks and gardens. Image location: Pannett Park

Stephen Switzer - pioneer of the English landscape garden

Article Index

  1. Stephen Switzer - pioneer of the English landscape garden
  2. Early career
  3. Influential projects
  4. Publications
  5. Later career
  6. Sources
  7. All Pages


Early career

Stephen Switzer was baptised on 25 February 1682 at Micheldever and Stratton parish church in Hampshire. He was the second of two sons belonging to Thomas Switzer (died 1697), a local farmer, and his wife, Mary (died 1682). According to Brogden (2004), the family were part of a long pedigree of farmers from Hampshire who spelled their surname in various ways, the pronunciation of which resembled ‘Sweetsur'.

There are no known details about Switzer's formal education, although his father's early death prompted his brother to take over the management of the family farm (Brogden 2004).

In 1699 Switzer joined the Brompton Nurseries, where he was apprenticed to George London, an influential gardener of the period who worked with Henry Wise. London and Wise went on to become one of the most respected gardening firms in the country.

Over the course of around 15 years, Switzer worked on some of the finest landscapes of the early 18th century, acting as Lieutenant for the firm. It was also during this period that he formed an important connection with the architects Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, as well as the landscape gardener Charles Bridgeman.