Turn your backyard into a French paradise
France is known for its beautiful dichotomy between architectural and natural beauty. Building wise, obvious standouts are the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph and the Notre-Dame Cathedral, but the real beauty of France is what surrounds these iconic structures. The Palace of Versailles for example, a beautiful fortress of ornate detail and intricate design, is surrounded by a garden equally if not more captivating. Over the years, the French have taken an admiration for the simplistic beauty of life and integrated that into a love for and perfection of gardening. If you too have a green thumb, an appreciation for being in nature or a desire to take on a rewarding hobby, read on to discover 10 gardening ideas to steal from France to turn your backyard into a beautiful handcrafted oasis.
Cool Toned Color Scheme
The French tend to stick to having a strict color scheme in their gardens. Cooler tones such as blues, purples, whites and greens bring about a soothing and calming appearance. Try planting Irises in your garden, they are the national flower of France and will provide a pretty pop of purple.
Possibly the biggest suggestion for turning your garden into a French paradise is to pay careful attention to the symmetry of your garden. Mirror what you have on the right side of your plot to the left side, providing cohesion and consistency when gazing upon your garden.
Consider what your garden looks like from a distance
The French believe a garden is supposed to be viewed from all angles. A quick search of French gardens, and you will see that many of the images are taken at an aerial view, providing the birds eye view of the intricate, labyrinth like structure of the gardens. French garden designers want their gardens to be just as beautiful from afar as they are up close. This is where the symmetry of your garden pays off, delivering a view of your delicately organized designs whenever anyone is approaching.
We weren’t kidding when we said the French paid careful attention to detail. Designers will trim hedges into ornamental shapes such as triangles, rectangles, ovals or balls, drawing in the attention to the center of the garden. In order to create sharp lines and symmetrical designs, organize your garden by trimming patches of grass and shrubbery into geometric patterns and planting trees in a similar linear fashion.
Base your design around architecture
Create your garden so that your home is the heart of the garden. Allowing vines or small trunked trees to grow along the side of the wall helps blend the architectural elements with the natural elements with greater ease. Remember to take control over your garden though, do not let shrubs grow over windows or doors, but allow the integration to take place in a regimented and orderly manner.
Work in a wall of espaliered shrubs
Going along with allowing your home to be married to the garden, the French are huge on utilizing espaliered fruit trees in their gardens. You can train your vines or fruit trees to grow along a brick wall, or possibly along a surface you don’t care to see. This helps to make your garden become more purposeful while again making the juxtaposition of elements not as stark.
Stone is an extremely simple element to incorporate into your French inspired garden. Go even further with creating your geometric patterns and symmetry by allowing a stone path to lead the eye and create controlled lines. As simple as a gravel pathway, stone is an easy way to balance out the greenery and make your garden more inviting to be in.
Animate your garden with the addition of a few tastefully chosen sculptures. Garden sculptures normally seem to commemorate mythological figures. In the Palace of Versailles, a statue of Apollo, god of the sun, is placed at the center of the garden. Adding in a few Greek sculptures will provide different texture and help to bring your garden to life.
Incorporate a fountain
Since most French gardens seem to lead you to a destination due to the linear layout, why not add a fountain at the center. A fountain is another way to make your garden come to life and not be so stagnant in the times where there seems to be no new growth. Adding a center fountain will add a tranquil soundtrack to your garden and overall help to create an even better image of your little backyard paradise.
Don’t allow overgrowth – Focus on a close trim
Seeing how diligent and detail oriented the French are, it is no surprise that they prefer a sharp garden that keeps overgrowth to a minimum. Once you’ve worked so hard to make your distinct lines and geometric shapes, don’t let all that work go to waste by letting your garden get out of hand. Stay connected and present with your garden, making sure to trim when trimming is necessary.
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