Majestic, geometric and impeccable, the French-style landscaped garden is a benchmark in terms of exterior design.
Perspectives, embroidery flowerbeds, fountains… Find out how you can get inspiration from the French garden!
A large central aisle
The parks of French Renaissance castles like Vaux-le-Vicomte enjoy a great central perspective. Indeed, André le Nôtre, father of French gardens and author of many castle gardens, distorted perspective to visually enhance it. So very often, a large, remarkable path divides the center of the garden and flees towards the horizon. In the modern garden, we are inspired by this great breakthrough by installing a central alley.
More modest than the castle garden, it will however have the role of structuring the garden and emphasizing its geometric aspect.
On both sides of this alley, plantations are organized. The formal gardens are known for their embroidery flower beds. This corresponds to plants cut to form decorative patterns. The flowerbed is designed by dwarf boxwood, for example, but the interior of the patterns can be planted with small flowers such as pansies or tulips.
For your convenience, use grass instead of dwarf boxwood. Draw a pattern on the ground and only sow grass inside it. If you already have weed, you can very well give it a geometric shape by weeding certain parts. Indeed, some castle gardens are content with large areas of rectangular lawns.
For a more modern look, we abandon the embroidery beds in favor of soft-wearing flowers that are delimited with borders. Thus, the border will give a strict and geometric framework that will recall the French garden. But, the flowers will contrast by bringing a wilder style. You can then mix grasses and perennials! On the grass side, Muhlenbergia capillaris or Deschampsia have a hazy pink or golden silhouette that lends itself well to exercise. They are served with echinacea, gauras and verbena from Buenos Aires, which will add a modern touch. For the border, a trimmed dwarf Lonicera will do just fine.
A basin or a fountain
The purpose of the chateau gardens was to bear witness to the wealth of their owners! Most of them therefore enjoy large pools, animated by impressive jets of water. Indeed, in a garden, water is one of the most expensive elements!
But, a body of water is also a very decorative arrangement reflecting the sky, the plants and providing a sound atmosphere. In the contemporary garden, water is still used to decorate and enliven the exterior. We are inspired by the French garden by choosing square or round basins, furnished with water jets.
Then give them a central position, why not at the end of your central aisle. You can surround it with paths or accompany it with flowering plants for a more modern look. The fountain is another solution, easier to install. There are many styles from the very designer water slide to the authentic classic in stone.
French gardens bear witness to man's mastery over nature. Dressed to the nines, they leave no room for the expression of spontaneous vegetation. The topiary pruning is the symbol! It consists in giving a particular shape (often geometric) to a plant. Yew, Ligustrum and Lonicera nitida are three plants used as a topiary because they support pruning well. You can then cut them to form a ball, a cone, a pyramid, a spiral ... Or any other silhouette you want!
A whole part of the garden is very structured and accommodates pruned plants and drawn beds. Very often, French-style gardens also have more fuzzy groves in the background. Indeed, their role is to create small intimate corners, conducive to discussion, with paths for walking. They blur the boundaries of the outdoors and make the garden feel like no end.
In the modern garden, it is about hiding the surroundings and creating shady spaces. For this, depending on the size of the garden, bet on more or less large trees. Large gardens indulge in chestnut trees, lime trees and beeches, while the small ones prefer a ball catalpa or a white mulberry.
The little extra?
An orangery, a labyrinth, an orchard, statues, a cave, a rose garden, a vegetable garden ... All these ingredients from the castle gardens are as many sources of inspiration for your exterior. The Palace of Versailles has nothing to do with it!