Also called regular garden or classic garden, the French garden symbolizes order and rigor as well as the mastery of nature by Man to tend towards the perfection of lines and symmetry. It is a style, an architectural work, a real spectacle that combines plants, water, and decorative elements such as statues and trellises. Let’s discover together who, in Europe, is at the origin of thegarden art and whose sophistication of infrastructure cannot be denied. Let’s also see which elements to choose to create a French garden as well as the maintenance that is required.
The characteristics of the French garden
The watchword, to create a classical garden, is the search for harmony. Its creation requires the development of a precise plan to obtain a construction of gigantic proportions, where everything is geometric and millimetric in order to create a receding perspective, but with the principle of the absence of seasonality.
Thus, the French garden remains perfectly unchanged over the seasons without ever losing its luster. Nature does not impose its force: it is dominated by the hand of Man. A formal garden is a kind of domestication de la nature pushed to its climax. But to obtain this result, the maintenance work is colossal and must be daily. It’s a full time job.
You must of course dominate the topiary art and have an eye for detail. We can draw inspiration from the sumptuous embroidery bed of the 16th century and of which the famous squares of the garden of Villandry (Indre-et-Loire) are a splendid interpretation.
Of course, no one can evoke the French garden without paying homage to André Le Nôtre (1613 – 1700), first gardener of Gaston de France and whose father, Jean Le Nôtre, was a garden designer and gardener to the King. André Le Nôtre, during his life, in turn designed many French gardens, but theorigin of this style is italian.
Develop a small French garden
Many individuals are in love with regular gardens and, although they do not live in a mansion or a castle and do not own several hectares of land, they dream of being able to transform their small natural space to give it an air of Gardens of the Sun Kingillustrious spaces that can be admired at the Palace of Versailles.
The design of a French garden don’t improvise. It is based on strict rules and leaves no room for fantasy. But in addition, it is better to have a (very) large surface area and the fact of playing on the perspectives will make it look even bigger. The gaze must be carried very far, well beyond the limits of properties… It is therefore illusory to think of obtaining a result at the height on a plot of 400 m² surrounded by houses because the vis-à-vis of course has no out of place in a classic garden.
Anyway, it is very important to be able to have fun. So, if you want to give birth to a regular garden, you never lose sight of the fact that each element must bring an aesthetic touch. It includes:
- Plants: shrubs, perennials, lawns, etc.
- Des statues,
- Arbors and trellises,
- stone benches,
- A stair,
- A piece of water,
- Paved paths, gravel, sand or even brick paths…
Plants are not allowed any spontaneity. It’s all justorder, alignment et proportions so that the overall view is sumptuous and evokes absolute mastery. When the perspective is preserved, then the game is won. And this garden also enhances the house.
The plants to choose to create a French garden
Even in a small garden you can get a nice result when the whole forms a perfectly balanced designmade up of geometric shapes or all lines and borders are flawless. The greenery must be omnipresent, from January to December, which does not prevent integrating color thanks to flowering plants. Certainly the effect will be less theatrical than that of the Gardens of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte (Seine-et-Marne), and not as grandiose… However, the principle is always the same: the creation of a French garden , even small, inevitably passes through a well thought out plan on which it is necessary to represent:
- The alleys,
- the edges,
- the hornbeams,
- orange groves,
- Decorative elements such as sculptures, basins, fountains…
It is advisable to always compose identically two opposite beds in order to obtain a symmetry and of create perspective. The advice also applies to the location of the alignment shrubs. As for the choice of plants, it is vast, some lending themselves more readily to this art, however, as is the case with the following examples.
- Trees and/or shrubs for architectural hedgesas :
- you thuya,
- cherry laurel,
- Shrubs for topiariessuch as :
- the cypress,
- The bay leaf.
- The different ivies at variegated foliage,
- Citrus fororange grove,
- The many types of roses for the rose garden,
- Flowering plants for the sumptuous flower beds among which we can cite:
- The cane,
- The tulip,
- The lily…
- Climbing plants for plant arches,
- palm trees for palm grove,
- olive trees forolive grove,
- Of the vine.
If we are lucky enough to be able to create a piece of water through a bowlan essential element in a French garden worthy of the name, a system of water jetsof the lightings for the magic and we do not forget the water lilies.
It is advisable to opt preferably for plants with long flowering. Some bloom from May or June until frost. This makes it possible to have flowerbeds that are always in bloom and therefore to give rhythm to its jardin architectural colored notes.
Take care of a French garden
So that it brings the expected stamp and that it constitutes a real showcase for buildingsthe formal garden requires a lot of care. It is preferable to learn about topiary art because the size is of paramount importance. It allows you to literally sculpt a classic garden in the search for harmonious shapes.
It is from the development that we must tackle the maintenance of this architectural space. No negligence, however slight, is permitted. Fortunately, there are tools that facilitate the work and the essential panoply consists of:
- of a mower,
- A robot mower (much better than the mower),
- With a trimmer,
- Of a hedge trimmer,
- With a hand shear,
- With a pruner,
- From a rake.
Of course, all the other gardening tools are essential, such as the hoe, the planter, the pruning hook, the spade… We also invest in a backpack sprayer, a thermal weeder, a scarifier, a shredder and a composter.
We understand that not a single day goes by without the French garden needing a little maintenance because its beauty lies in every detail. Must therefore work tirelessly, especially if it is very large. Everything must be done with care and skill. The different tasks are as follows:
- Mow the lawn at least once a week.
- Scarify the lawn twice a year.
- Remove every day all faded flowers without forgetting any.
- Cut off any stained, yellowed or dry leaves.
- Remove dead branches immediately.
- Use the edger as often as possible so that all contours always be clean and precise (flowerbeds, base of trees and shrubs, edges of paths, terraces, etc.).
- Water by adapting the frequency to the needs of each plant, but also taking into account the weather conditions. In summer, when the temperatures are scorching or even during periods of drought, you have to play with the hose and the watering can even more frequently. Install a automatic watering system can turn out to be quite useful.
- Maintain topiary which occupy a dominant place in the French garden. Size frequency varies from species to species. It is annual for hornbeams but must be carried out at least twice a year on boxwood (in the middle of spring then at the end of summer). As for yews, they can be pruned up to four times each year. The main thing is that all these shrubs retain over time the impeccable geometric shape that we wanted to give them. We remove the small ramifications and we are intransigent because no leaf should exceed.
- Prevent parasites and diseases (and treat as needed) using natural solutions.
- Fertilize as needed so that all plants are vigorous, healthy and at the peak of their magnificence.
It is wise to entrust the maintenance of his French garden to a landscaper, at least in part, because it is a singular space whose demands are extreme. Hiring a professional means you don’t get overwhelmed. In this way, all maintenance work is carried out in compliance with a well established schedule so that the beauty of this extraordinary garden is preserved, as well as the health of the plants. Do not hesitate to request several quotes through an online comparator.