A parterre is an area of flat land, usually rectangular and on a terrace near a house, laid out in decorative pattern using plants and gravels. The word parterre is from the French par=on + terre=ground). Elaborate pattern books for the design of parterres were published in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A parterre is more complex than a knot garden.
See also: history of planting design.
Parterre planting design in France (at Vaux)