2 garden ideas: French formal and English landscape

February 27, 2016

Need inspiration for your garden? French and English gardens often resurface in media discourse. But what are they, exactly? Here is a look that will allow you to better understand them and make a sound choice for your own home.

2 garden ideas: French formal and English landscape

English landscape gardens 

If you find classical gardens too rigid, you can try replacing the squares and rectangles with curved shapes and the square pots with round pots. However, applying the principles of the classical garden may be useful for structuring your space.

  • Instead of establishing the cultivated areas using box hedges, it is possible to use catnip, an aromatic herb whose flowers swing in the wind.
  • To hide an unsightly fence or garden shed or to create a somewhat more intimate space, you can build a large hedge combining various trees and shrubs.
  • In front of it, arrangelarge perennials, such as chard or angelica, which can reach a height of 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches), in front of which you will grow plants that are a bit less tall, such as sage.
  • To blur lines and borders, use trailing plants or ground covers and plants that reseed themselves spontaneously, like the California poppy or wild pansy, which reappear every year.
  • You can also create a lawn with an aromatic plant of a small size, such as chamomile, or grow a compact ground cover, such as thyme, between the slabs. By trampling the grass, you will promote the spread of their fragrance.

French formal gardens

  • In the 16th century, gardens made of immense flowerbeds with complex shapes inspired by knot gardens appeared in France.
  • They are also characterized by their geometric shapes and their symmetry.
  • Wide paths of gravel separate the flowerbeds, and colourful flowers create contrasts with the hedges.
  • These gardens, of great refinement, were also designed to be seen from above, from a terrace or the floors of the castle.
  • Topiaries, other characteristics of French formal gardens, punctuate the space. Created from small-leaved shrubs (citrus, yew, laurel, boxwood or cypress) and spread into the corners and in the centre of the flower beds, they can take on many shapes like spirals, spheres, cubes, symbols and animals.
  • To achieve the magnificent parc du château de Versailles (Park of Versailles), it was necessary to employ an army of gardeners. Nowadays, many classical gardens, recreated or restored, can be visited.
  • In the 18th century, many French formal gardens were destroyed in favour of English-style parks, designed by famed English landscape architect "Capability"Brown, or inspired by his achievements.

Be inspired by these two types of gardens worthy of your wildest dreams! Which inspires you the most, the French garden, or the English garden?

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