The concept of garden cities is to produce relatively economically independent cities with short commute times and the preservation of the countryside. Garden suburbs arguably do the opposite. Garden suburbs are built on the outskirts of large cities with no sections of industry. They are therefore dependent on reliable transport allowing workers to commute into the city. Lewis Mumford, one of Howard's disciples explained the difference as "The Garden City, as Howard defined it, is not a suburb but the antithesis of a suburb: not a rural retreat, but a more integrated foundation for an effective urban life."
The planned garden suburb emerged in the late 18th century as a by-product of new types of transportation were embraced by a newly prosperous merchant class. The first garden villages were built by English estate owners, who wanted to relocate or rebuild villages on their lands. It was in these cases that architects first began designing small houses. Early examples include Harewood and Milton Abbas. Major innovations that defined early garden suburbs and subsequent suburban town planning include linking villa-like homes with landscaped public spaces and roads.
Despite the emergence of the garden suburb in England, the typology flowered in the second half of the 19th century in United States. There were generally two garden suburb typologies, the garden village and the garden enclave. The garden villages are spatially independent of the city but remain connected to the city by railroads, streetcars, and later automobiles. The villages often included shops and civic buildings. In contrast, garden enclaves are typically strictly residential and emphasize natural and private space, instead of public and community space. The urban form of the enclaves were often coordinated through the use of early land use controls typical of modern zoning including controlled setbacks, landscaping, materials.
Garden suburbs were not part of Howard's plan and were actually a hindrance to garden city planning—they were in fact almost the antithesis of Howard's plan, what he tried to prevent. The suburbanisation of London was an increasing problem which Howard attempted to solve with his garden city model, which attempted to end urban sprawl by the sheer inhibition of land speculation due to the land being held in trust, and the inclusion of agricultural areas on the city outskirts.
Raymond Unwin, one of Howard's early collaborators on the Letchworth Garden City project in 1907, became very influential in formalizing the garden city principles in the design of suburbs through his work Town Planning in Practice: An Introduction to the Art of Designing Cities and Suburbs (1909). The book strongly influenced the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909, which provided municipalities the power to develop urban plans for new suburban communities.
Smaller developments were also inspired by the garden city philosophy and were modified to allow for residential "garden suburbs" without the commercial and industrial components of the garden city. They were built on the outskirts of cities, in rural settings. Some notable examples being, in London, Hampstead Garden Suburb, the Sutton Garden Suburb in Benhilton, Sutton, Pinner's Pinnerwood conversation area and the 'Exhibition Estate' in Gidea Park and, in Liverpool, Wavertree Garden Suburb. The Gidea Park estate in particular was built during two main periods of activity, 1911 and 1934. Both resulted in some good examples of domestic architecture, by such architects as Wells Coates and Berthold Lubetkin. Thanks to such strongly conservative local residents' associations as the Civic Society, both Hampstead and Gidea Park retain much of their original character.
However it is important to note Bournville Village Trust in SW Birmingham UK. This important residential development was associated with the growth of 'Cadbury's Factory in a Garden'. Here Garden City principles are a fundamental part of the Trust's activity. There are very tight restrictions applying to the properties here, no stonewall cladding, uPVC windows, and so-on.