The present designed landscape was laid out following the construction of the new house in 1755. It incorporated features of the earlier designed landscape associated with the 16th century Arbigland Hall.
The earliest known owners of Arbigland were the Murray family. The earliest house on the site was McCulloch's Castle which stands on the shore to the north-east of the present house. It has been proved, by excavation, to have been used between the period of the Iron Age and c.1500. The McCullochs, a strong Galloway family, may have owned Arbigland at some time but there is no real evidence to substantiate this.
From the Murrays, the estate passed to the Earls of Annandale and, subsequently, the Earl of Southesk. Another house, Arbigland Hall, was built, possibly c.1500, to the south of McCulloch's Castle, again on a defensive position near the shore; the Rose Garden is now sited in its remains. Arbigland Hall was lived in for a period by the Craik family who acquired Arbigland in 1679. Their influence on the landscape of the time was immediate: the stable-block which remains today was built in 1680 and a carriage drive, now known as 'Broad Walk', was established to link the stables with Arbigland Hall. In 1730 a Head Gardener known as John Paul was employed. He lived in the cottage on the estate to the south of the stables. His son grew up there but left in his youth to go to America where, as John Paul Jones, he became, as history relates, the founder of the United States Navy.
William Craik inherited the property in the 1730s. He became renowned as an agricultural improver; indeed the first Statistical Account describes the parish of Kirkbean as being the first in the south of Scotland to be improved. In the course of these improvements, the form of the present designed landscape was established. Craik commissioned the present house to be built in 1755 and Kirkbean Church in 1776.
William Craik was succeeded in 1798 by his cousin, Douglas Hamilton Craik. His son, John, sold the estate to General William Stewart Balfour in 1852. It is from him that the present owners are descended. Robert Balfour Stewart inherited Arbigland in 1869. On his death only three years later, his mother acquired the property but in the same year gifted it to her nephew, Colonel C.E. Blackett. He appears to have been responsible for some development in the gardens since remaining account books record garden expenditure from the 1890s onwards. Captain W.S.B. Blackett inherited from his uncle in 1904. He was killed in action in 1914 and thereafter his wife, the grandmother of the present occupier, settled permanently at Arbigland. She laid out the sunken rose garden on the site of the former Arbigland Hall, and the terraces overlooking the sea. She supervised the construction of her dower house, 'The House on the Shore' which was completed in 1936 and, on its completion, laid out the heath bank nearby. The present tenant took over Arbigland in 1970, four years before the death of his grandmother. He has continued to maintain and develop the policies established by his predecessors.