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Division of garden beds in an ornamental pattern. The parterre grew out of the knot garden, a medieval form of bed in which various plant types were separated from each other by hedges. In the 16th century, the hedges were replaced by wooden or leaden shapes or by lines of shells or coal, and the areas between were filled with colored sand or stone chips. The naturalistic English garden of the 18th century displaced the elaborate parterre.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on parterre, visit Britannica.com.