The establishment of the unshakable canons of the French style took place when the Sun King (Louis XIV) and his luxurious court strolled through the parks of Versailles. And although for the next centuries this direction of landscape design has experienced ups and downs, divided into several separate directions and gave up the primacy to the English garden art and modern styles, still today French gardens are easily recognizable. There is a special refinement, an almost elusive harmony born in contrast to the dominance of topiary art. Here each flower is transformed into a real star, and the details always touch the heart.
The French style is often called a model of European classics. But it's much more correct to call it sunny, pretentious, avant-garde and a little pretentious. After all, the French style thinks about anything, but not about ease of care. Aesthetics and expressiveness are the main task. And this peculiarity of the French style of landscape design is traceable even in its modern incarnation, although it is very difficult to call it a single French style: different trends and themes, from Nordic and austere gardens to cheerful Provencal motives, have their own features.
But still the French style has common canons and those elements, which can easily be used as a guide to design your own garden. As before, the French garden is a regular style, the origins of which go back to the Baroque and Renaissance. Symmetry in everything, straight paths, the pursuit of perfection are just the main principles of design.
1. The dominant role of green
Despite the fact that the French style is romantic, festive, solemn and exalted, bringing everything to perfection, in the color palette it is practically not reflected. The main color of any French garden was and remains green. Trimmed neat lawns and all kinds of topiary art create a frame and background to play with geometry and symmetry.
Green tunnels connecting flower beds, trimmed boxwood borders, trimmed privet or yew hedges around the perimeter of the plot, green liana-clad facades or screens, numerous topiaries - spheres, pyramids, etc., should dominate the design of any garden. -
Selecting trees, give preference to dark crowns, and not extravagant and bright colors - plants that can replace the cypresses and palm trees, if not in silhouette, at least in color. Excellent cope with the task, for example, a magnificent columnar juniper. There is no need to be afraid of monotony: the color in this style is used in such a way that it literally shines on the green background and transforms everything. Silver Leaves
Despite the absolute dominance of the classic green, there is another color of greenery, without which the French garden cannot be recreated - silver. Ornamental and deciduous plants with a pubescence that gives them the effect of silver, in a French garden in importance are equal to the flowering accents. To make the classical green become noble and reveal all its beauty (and just to prevent boredom and dullness in the perception of the garden), it is emphasized, supplemented and framed by a magnificent living silver.
And here the choice for regions with by no means French climate is richer than ever: delightful celandine, sage, santolina and wormwood with their illusion of either velvet or silver lace will recreate the color combination of the basis of the design of any French garden.
3. Patterned parterres
Parterres are perhaps the most famous of the French style design methods. Symmetrical, formal, surrounded by low sheared borders and folded into a complex hermetic figure or pattern, flower beds filled with low, ornament-creating flowers, sheared green sculptures or decorative bays are the hallmark of the French garden that first comes to mind at any mention of the legendary Versailles or any other park ensembles.
But one should not think that parterres are palace luxury. You can recreate them on your plot as well. Playing with borders and plants, and even replacing full-fledged figures of flower beds by patterns inside carpet-mixborders, inspired by ornaments, carpet motifs and even embroidery, it is possible to recreate ornate French classics even on a small plot. Bet on a limited palette
If you want to design a garden with French flair at a glance, bet on two colors for flowering plants - purple-purple and yellow. The classic shades of lavender and sage should be your main inspiration, but in the case of yellow, go for the santolinu-like, sunny, bright shades which contrast so well with the purples. Just make sure that most of the plants are either purple or yellow.
5. Spicy herbs and fragrant stars take center stage
What you simply cannot imagine a French garden without is spicy and fragrant plants. The vast lavender fields of Provence are a great source of inspiration for the design of a French garden. But you shouldn't limit yourself to lavender. Think of all the medicinal, aromatic and medicinal plants and herbs that are actively used in cosmetology, aromatherapy and perfumery. Sage, catnip, yarrow, wormwood, thyme, hyssop, oregano will fill the garden not only with special textures and colors, but also with special aromas.
And most importantly - you can not find better partners for flowering stars, as well as more unpretentious and talented universal tool for playing with patterns and patterns. Choosing shrubs, also ask for inspiration from the main garden "perfumers" - chubushnik and roses, cadon citrus, etc.
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6. Plinths, floral and cadon accents
Architectural elements, focal points in the French garden have always played a special role, creating a central point of attraction to the eye, connecting symmetrical flower beds into a whole, bringing sophistication to large flowerbeds... Do not forget about them, when looking for ways to emphasize the paths, zoning, the appointment of individual sites, feel free to use the best of visual accents - vases on plinths, stone flowerpots, large tubs and pots with planted plants.
The cut trees and shrubs are especially good in such containers, but southern exotics, flower arrangements, and annuals will also find a place in a French garden. These plants can emphasize symmetry (for example, "guards" on the sides of the path or at the stairs) or bring austerity and geometry where it is not.
7. Color as accent
Dominant green, complemented by silvery-leaf plants creates a really fashionable backdrop in a French garden, against which even the most modest flowering crops look like expressive accents. Consider each flowering plant precisely as an accent that is meant to shine against the overall landscape.
Don't be afraid to dilute a clipped hedge with an unexpected ribbon flower bed of lilies, add a "flowering border" between the trees, or frame lawns with colorful borders of unpretentious flowering perennials. Even in flower beds, the choice of a yellow and purple concept will make every other color look like a statement point. For example, a bush of white or pink roses on a textured background would be almost an alternative to a magnificent garden sculpture
8. Iris and irises again
Iridariums - an analogue of rose gardens, only celebrating the beauty of irises - came to us precisely from France. They are especially popular in the southern directions of the French style, but in any French garden bearded irises are an indispensable and obligatory flower. Use them in borders, plant them in patches in flower beds and squares, create large groups or arrange a complete iridarium with a whole collection of species and varieties. In addition to bearded irises, experiment with less capricious species. These magnificent plants deserve a special place in the decoration - be inspired by the landscapes of Van Gogh and Monet and make irises the main star of the flower show in the first half of the season.
9. Forged elements
Wrought iron is considered an attribute of the Provencal style, but in any French current regardless of the thematic design it will be appropriate. Twisted bench, unusual gate, intricately decorated base of the table, unusual scrolls on the lantern, wrought iron coaster for pots or a small fence near the flower bed - all these elements just breathe with romance, flirtation, luxury. Ornate wrought iron details will perfectly emphasize the symmetry underlying French design. And they can be used almost unlimitedly.
Classical architecture can find its new French incarnation in the pavilions and pergolas on the site. A modest colonnade or ornate airy design, traditional or bold forms are worth emphasizing and enhancing. Especially good painting in white, but it is not always possible and is required, and there are much more simple means.
Transform a secluded place for rest in something French, will recreate the charm of the French style correctly chosen strategy greenery. Luxurious flowering liana, such as climbing rose, on the pergola will immediately raise it to a new level of elegance and fit into the general stylistic concept.
If you like a variety of garden imitations and deceptions, adore architectural tricks, put at least one false balustrade in the garden. It will be able to zone the space, frame the flower bed, create the illusion of continuing the path, play the role of a masking element. But whatever its role, a balustrade will immediately create a mood inherent in palace parks.
If you want to create a truly French garden, hide a classic statue in one of its corners. Mythological characters, legendary Greek myths or classic Roman works of art - any traditional form will do.
But don't rush to put a sculpture in the most prominent place. Of course you can always put it in the center of the parterre ensemble and in the corners of the lawn, emphasizing the palace motifs. But it's better to "hide" it from direct view, to put it surrounded by colorful flowering plants so that the statue opens unexpectedly. A French garden already has a lot of orderliness and symmetry, so a mysterious accent in flowerbeds and squares will add to their soulfulness and emotionality.