Am really fond of old engravings of parterres.
Here are some from the marvelous Archive of Historical Gardens and Landscapes
There are details about the construction and design at the delightful Jane Austen's World page on parterre gardens.
"Kensington Palace Parterre Gardens, From the South, 1724
The ornamental parterre gardens that we so frequently see on the grounds of great mansions and 18th Century gardens, and mentioned in historical novels, grew out of the knot garden. The knot garden was a medieval form of symmetrical flower bed made up of hedges which separated various plants, such as flowers or herbs. Knot gardens have an intricate woven effect which is very labor intensive. Their hedges must be clipped and manicured daily to maintain their precise shape, thus the knot design grew out of favor. Parterres do not weave in and out and require slightly less trimming, though this is in relative terms. The modern gardener would still find this elaborate design labor intensive.
Parterres look their best when viewed from above, if even from a slight angle."