The Sculpted Hedges of Schönbrunn Palace

Dec 5, 2015 1 comments

The Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque palaces and an important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in the country. The palace was the former residence of the Hapsburg emperors from the 18th to 19th century. The grounds originally had a small hunting lodge and later a summer residence of the Habsburg family, but during the last Turkish attack in 1683, the house was totally destroyed. It was rebuilt and remodelled in the 1740s and 50s during the reign of empress Maria Theresa who received the estate as a wedding gift. During construction work the project was expanded into an Imperial summer residence of the court, and an impressive baroque garden was laid around the palace. The baroque gardens were intended to be an impressive symbol of imperial power, and were often seen as an external continuation of the magnificent interiors of the palace.


Rows of precisely trimmed trees line the garden paths at Schönbrunn Palace. Photo credit: unknown/Reddit

The largest area behind the façade of the palace facing the gardens was occupied by the Great Parterre consisting of symmetrical beds made of boxwood hedges on colored gravel arranged in intricate patterns taken mainly from embroidery motifs, a style known as parterre de broderie. To either side of the parterre were ornamental boskets boskets of severely clipped walls of trees and topiary hedges forming passageways, small openings and hidden enclosures.

The hedges and avenues of trees were planted around 1750 and have a total length of over 30 km. They are trimmed each year using specially constructed frames that allow gardeners to reach the top of the trees. Until a few decades ago, the frame was pulled by horses. Today, they are pulled by tractors or electric vehicles, and the gardeners work with electric hedge trimmers. The job takes 7 months to complete.

Schönbrunn Palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top tourist attractions in Vienna.


Photo credit: Nick Whitt/Flickr


Photo credit: kara brugman/Flickr


The Schönbrunn Palace and a part of the garden. Photo credit: Renate Dodell/Flickr


Photo credit: Rain Rabbit/Flickr


Photo credit: Rain Rabbit/Flickr


Photo credit: Rain Rabbit/Flickr


The 18th-Century tree trimming ladder that is still used today. Photo credit: Alan Cordova/Flickr


Photo credit:


Photo credit: Pepik.x/Panoramio

Sources: / UNESCO


  1. I feel sorry for the trees and it doesn't look good either...


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