Little remains of the 17th century designed landscape and the grounds around the Castle date from the late 18th & early 19th centuries. Further planting, particularly of ornamental conifers, was added at the end of the 19th century. In the 1930s a rock garden was created behind the coach-house and, more recently, flower borders were added around the Castle and in the kitchen garden.
The Craigievar lands were held by the Mortimer family from 1457. The Castle was begun in the early part of the 17th century. However, in 1610 William Forbes of Menie bought the property and unfinished Castle. A year before William's death in 1627, the Castle was completed and has remained more or less unaltered ever since. His son William was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia. Craigievar was used to house and protect his valuable objects such as grain and stores. It seems unlikely that any early 17th century garden survived through this turbulent period.
The 5th Baronet, Sir William, married Sarah, daughter of the 13th Lord Sempill, and it was their grandson William, 8th Baronet, who inherited in 1884 the title of 17th Lord Sempill. During the 5th Baronet's tenure, George Brown was commissioned to survey the policies and some planting took place to create a more 'informal' landscape. Sir John, 7th Baronet, re-roofed the castle and undertook some alterations to the grounds. His son William, 8th Baronet and 17th Lord Sempill, established the arboretum.
In 1934 William, 10th Baronet and 19th Lord Sempill, inherited from his father. In 1963, assisted by a 'consortium of benefactors', the National Trust for Scotland was able to acquire the Castle and its immediate policies in order that it could be preserved. The family are still closely involved with the Castle and its grounds.