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French Garden Style
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French Garden Style

Modern landscape design has the tendency to bring crisp clean lines to otherwise natural elements. An older design style that operated under similar principles is French garden style. French garden style may have had its time in the spotlight back in the 17th century but its principles and features still influence landscapes of today.

French garden style has inspired both modern and French country garden style to name a few. Its roots are actually Italian and from the Renaissance period. The style was later developed further and given a more French appeal. In French garden style the home is the central point and all vegetation around it is kept short. There are no trees planted close to the home and all planting begins at and leads out from it. The garden style was one of the first to use geometric plans and take advantage of the recent discoveries of perspective. Terraces were used to overlook the garden allowing visitors to see the whole garden at once. In French garden style all plants are directed and trimmed to demonstrate man’s mastery over nature. Bodies of water are used to mirror and thereby double the size of the residence or trees in the garden. Also sculptures depicting mythological themes were placed throughout. The overall style is very meticulous with great emphasis placed on attention to detail.

Some of the elements of French garden style include parterre, broderie, bosquets, allee, and topiary just to name a few.

Parterres which are planting beds are usually square or rectangular. They are decorative containing closely clipped hedges, colored gravel, flowers, or even water. They are intended to be enjoyed form above. Broderies are decorative patterns within the parterre. They are basically created by cutting or sectioning off a pattern out of the lawn or plants within the parterre. Then the area is filled with colored gravel, flowers, etc.

Bosquets are small groups of trees. They are usually a distance from the home and are meant to be observed form a distance. Of course they are pruned and cut into a specific size like the rest of the trees in the garden.

Allee are basically paths through the garden and are customarily lined with trees.

Topiary are trees or bushes that have been trimmed into ornamental shapes. Of course these shapes were normally geometric. You may even have seen this done or done it in your own yard.

French garden style has had a profound influence on the way we treat our landscapes. The style reached its pinnacle with the Gardens of Versailles designed by Andre Le Notre which is still viewed as one of the best design landscapes in the world.


Street Talk

That is a gorgeous picture! And I'm sure everyone is familiar with the topiary. Didn't know it was french though! Great read.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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