Key Pointers and Basics in French Style Landscaping

Landscaping is a demanding task, but thinking about the results can get you excited and motivated. If your goal is to achieve a classic French-style garden, for example, it can be costlier due to its ornate elements, but the outcome will surely be rewarding.   Think fantasy novels and royal courtyards; this landscape theme is perfect for creative and imaginative minds with an appreciation for classical and timeless art.

Designing a French-style garden involves following a set of rules and standards. Although you don’t need to strictly abide by each of them, the overall structure has to be in accordance with the traditional practices to truly achieve an authentic French style design.

Design Basics

Symmetry and order are the fundamental characteristics of a French garden. It has to be viewed for a distance, with the centerpiece (typically the house) being the main focal point. The landscape’s hallmarks include hedges, bulky planters, flower beds, natural stone pavings, and an elegant French garden fountain.

A less formal version of a French garden is a French country garden. It generally follows the same basic design principles of a formal French garden, but the country-style welcomes the use of bolder colors and softer plantings, as opposed to the formal design that sticks to a cooler color palette. The country-style also fits smaller yards, while the formal one is generally suited for larger spaces, although it can also work excellently in a less spacious yard.

Design Do’s

  1. Start with the chief elements: stucco walls, stonework, and lavender. Use window boxes to add a pop of color to the mix, and geometric shapes to divide spaces. Have the hedges and shrubs neatly trimmed, use gravel for the pathways, and maintain a monochromatic color scheme. Add an accent piece, like a stone bench or a fountain, to provide a minor focal point to the space.
  2. Plant vines on your house’s outer walls or on your patio to add a bit of informality to the look. It also makes your garden dreamier and more romantic.
  3. Place stone steps on the gravel path to provide a more stable walking surface. Build low stone walls around the planting beds to elevate them and provide more seating.
  4. Precisely form the planting beds into the shape you want them to be in. Make sure they’re perfectly symmetrical and clearly defined. You can also form rounded shapes like topiary to soften the look and create balance.
  5. Have design elements inspired by France’s agricultural history — fruit trees, potted citrus, glazed pottery, etc. As for the rest of the plants, stick to one type of flower within each space for a classic and consistent appearance. Plant perennials into the spaces within borders as well.
  6. Provide spaces for hanging out or dining. Use bistro-style garden furniture for a more laid-back atmosphere. Place the tables and chairs farther away from your home to view your garden in a more pleasing angle.
  7. Place statues, bulky planters, urns, and other decorative pieces into the space. They would brighten up the cool and plain color scheme.

Design Don’ts

  1. Don’t skimp on planning. Any landscape theme must be planned before being constructed.
  2. Don’t use plastic for your edgings. The material may not hold up a straight line, and they can get heaved out of the ground during the winter. Opt for more durable and aesthetically-pleasing materials instead, such as bricks or metal.
  3. Don’t overdecorate or overfill the garden with plants. The limited plant palette is another hallmark of a French garden, so maintain it.
  4. Don’t hesitate on adding your own personal touches. As mentioned, you don’t need to strictly adhere to the rules and standards. If you feel like a certain element will complement the theme, follow your heart and add it to the mix.

Keep in mind that your landscape is also your personal space, so go for what you want rather than what’s in the book. The most important person to impress is yourself.

Meta Title: Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a French-Style Landscape

Meta Description: Designing a French-style garden involves a set of standards and rules, but it doesn’t mean you can no longer follow your heart’s desire. Read on to learn the key pointers in creating a French-style landscape.

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