Definition of parterre in US English:



  • 1A level space in a garden or yard occupied by an ornamental arrangement of flower beds.

    • ‘Lying to the north of the mansion and set among newly planted wild meadows, the seed bank adds to the attractions with a winter garden and parterre open to the public.’
    • ‘The most striking feature of my own shady front garden is a classic parterre of low box hedging, infilled with Portland stone gravel and shade-tolerant double-white busy Lizzies.’
    • ‘The few ornamental gardens in these early years that are known to historians through documents were generally based on French seventeenth and eighteenth-century garden designs, the most prominent feature being the parterre.’
    • ‘Smaller gardens may benefit from the use of slow-growing box hedging which was used in formal gardens of old to create geometric patterns, called parterres.’
    • ‘He intended it to be filled with roses and placed within a parterre of small flowers in radial beds edged by dwarf boxwood.’
    • ‘It contains many rare plants and shrubs, herbaceous border, parterre, old-fashioned flowers and shrub borders, and fruit and vegetables.’
    • ‘In addition there was a parterre of plants chosen for their scent: myrtles, jasmine, roses and lilacs, which were replaced when they began to fade.’
    • ‘Her garden, with formal parterres and patterns, was designed to be viewed from above.’
    • ‘They raise roughly 4,500 hardy and half-hardy annual bedding plants each year from seed for containers and various areas of the garden including the box parterre.’
    • ‘In the formal gardens, the grandest expanse of all running the full length of the house is the Italian garden, laid out as a geometric parterre with herbaceous plants.’
    • ‘I'll never forget its shady walks and ancient trees, its soft green lawns and parterres bursting flowers.’
    • ‘She has made her own additions, which include a new herb garden by the house, in a box parterre, and a dry gravel garden enclosed by a copper beech hedge on the site of the old swimming pool.’
    • ‘The queen's bedchamber sits daintily festooned with floral pinks and lilacs in a combination with gold, overlooking the south parterre.’
    • ‘Plate 37 shows a Persian garden carpet of a type offering a bird's eye view of an idyllic lay out thought to represent the garden of heaven, described in the Koran, with its watercourses, trees and shrubs, and flowering parterres.’
    • ‘The upper part of the garden is taken up with a striking parterre, in which a floral arch surrounds a young monkey-puzzle tree, and neat gravel paths are surrounded by beds of flowers.’
    • ‘The grids of parterres that previously acted as the setting for symbolic episodes now become the decorative focus themselves, developing in ever more complex ways and frequently influenced by textile design.’
    • ‘Houses of this era often had formal parterres with coloured and patterned bedding on the garden side of the house, slipping into picturesque prospects beyond the terrace.’
    • ‘There was a tennis court hidden in the old kitchen garden, a swimming pool beside the parterre, a private terrace outside the room of the spinning Carmen for breakfast in the sun.’
    • ‘The Stuarts preferred the watery art of grottoes and fountains and canals, of elaborate parterres and radiating avenues - vividly shown in bird's eye views of Knyp, Knyff and Badeslade.’
    • ‘But then came the Industrial Revolution and mass production, and parterres, allées and garden ornaments again were status symbols.’
  • 2North American The part of the ground floor of an auditorium in the rear and on the sides, especially the part beneath the balcony.

    • ‘Accommodation in the Park Theatre's pit, however, was still primitive, since it had not yet evolved into the parterre of later years as the locus of a playhouse's best seats.’
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Early 17th century: from French, from par terre ‘on the ground’.