(b. 1690, d. 1738, Kensington)


English landscape architect. He had an enormous influence on the design of the informal English garden, introducing features that preceded the looser plans of Lancelot Brown (1716-1783) and William Kent. He is credited with the introduction of the French ha-ha to England in 1719 at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, and later used it in the simple form commonly found during the 18th century. He also used the French pattes d'oie (literally 'goose-foot', but meaning avenues crossing each other) that drew attention towards various eye-catchers.

Bridgeman first came to notice before 1709 when he appears to have worked under John Vanbrugh (1664-1726)and Henry Wise (1653-1738) at Blenheim, Oxfordshire. In 1714 he began to work for Lord Cobham (c. 1669-1749) at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, the most celebrated landscaped garden of the time, with its informal walks, carefully contrived planting, use of water, and numerous fabriques, most with literary, mythological, political, or historical allusions. He collaborated with many architects, including Gibbs and Kent, and worked on many gardens, including those at Claremont (Surrey), Eastbury (Dorset), Rousham (Oxfordshire), and Wimpole Hall (Cambridgeshire) (all 1720s).

He may have advised Alexander Pope on his garden at Twickenham, and was possibly involved in the creation of Lord Burlington's garden at Chiswick. In 1727, with Wise, he began a report on the management of the Royal gardens, and succeeded Wise as Royal Gardener to King George II (1727-1760) in 1728, working on numerous gardens, including Hampton Court, Kensington Palace, St James's Park, Richmond Park, and Hyde Park (all c. 1727-38).