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- formal garden laid out on a flat terrace, usually at the front of a house so that it is overlooked by the principle rooms on the first floor (parterre = on the ground). The intricate designs are usually picked out using low growing clipped shrubs, but some were devoid of plant material, the design being laid in coloured earths and gravel. Always designed as part of a wider design concept, usually in relation to the house, unlike the similar knot gardens.