The French garden design developed after the impact of the Italian Renaissance. The French garden style adopted many principles from the renaissance gardens but incorporated a style of their own. The impact of the renaissance did not hit the gardens of France until the 1600’s, soon after the chateaus’ gardens were designed using principles that were completely new to the region. The main goal for this style was to make an extravagant impression to all of the guests who visited the country homes of the wealthy royals.
Elements within French gardens:
Common characteristics of a French garden:
The Gardens of Versailles is the largest and most extravagant example of this garden style. So you don’t have close to 2,000 acres to work with you say? Well, the French landscape style can still make a powerful statement in an average sized yard. Introduce the elements listed above into your landscape, even after being scaled down these garden elements truly represent the famous French design.
At a residential scale, the French garden style is still very impressive. Plant your trees in straight lines to emphasize those axial views, use hedging to border walkways and create small sized parterres and design your vegetable areas in a pattern or as a parterre as well. Incorporate ‘alles’ where room allows, these straight paths always lead to something significant such as a fountain or sculpture. The French also used to have orangeries where they would grow citrus throughout the whole year; these rooms can be represented in your garden by adding a small greenhouse or even a sunroom to provide a nice relaxing getaway.
Combine all of the elements even in a minor way, and your yard will be transformed to resemble the extravagant designs of the famous French chateaus.
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