A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and gravel paths, arranged to form a pleasing pattern. Often confused with knot gardens, parterres are larger in scale, and consist of ambitious and complicated designs, with flowering, scroll-like patterns or symbolic themes.

The pattern outlines are typically formed from low hedges of box, with the area in between the hedges filled with dense, colourful bedding plants, gravels of different hues or plants with muted pastel shades. There may also be evergreen shrubs trimmed into precise globes or pyramids, and other clipped, formal shapes in box or yew. A parterre should always be in scale with the size of the house or adjacent terrace.

Parterres became very popular in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, especially in public gardens and parks, where they were transformed into extravagant bedding schemes and complex floral displays.