Our French Life

Garden Expansion Ideas for the French Countryside

From fashion to food, the French always seem to do it right, and with a little bit more class. There’s a certain effortless elegance when it comes to the things they create, which is also quite evident in their countryside gardens. And if you’d like to try your hand at creating one in your own home, here are some delightful design ideas to expand your garden the French way:

Lay Out a Gravel Path

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Gardenista – photo credit

One of the key elements of French garden design is a gravel path as it is the perfect way to add structure to your garden. Crushed stone walkways not only provide a rural charm, but they also create a relaxing atmosphere that’s ideal for ensuring you don’t overuse any of the grass. If you need some guidance on what type of gravel to use for landscaping, have a look at The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Gravel. Chartered landscape architect Bunny Guinness suggests using self-binding gravel for a firm finish akin to the French boules courts. Moreover, it’s important to have glyphosate at hand when you pull out weeds to avoid cracks in the gravel path.

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Credit: HGTV

A Planting Bed

Illustrious garden beds can be found in numerous French castles and chateaus. When taking inspiration from these geometric planting beds for your own countryside garden, try making them more functional than formal, as this will make it easier to maintain and uniquely charming. The key here is to find a pattern that will suit your landscape, as French design is all about symmetry. From there, the garden beds can serve as a blank canvas for your botanical design for you to fill with your favourite flowers, lavender bushes, and tall topiaries. And if you opt for a raised bed design, Ideal Home recommends extending the wall area for a quaint place to sit and spend time in your garden

Incorporate an Outdoor Seating Area

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Credit: Country Living Magazine

A French countryside garden wouldn’t be complete without the comforts of an outside sitting area. This allows you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures of eating al fresco, appreciating nature, and of course, relaxing after a fulfilling day doing the gardening. With this in mind, the log cabins that are featured on Screwfix allow you to create extra room for entertainment and relaxation in your garden. This is great for colder seasons or even on days where it might be too hot to stay outdoors for long periods but too pretty to stay cooped up inside your house. Log cabins allow you to have the best of both worlds, and with your choice of finishes, can be a great addition to your garden.

Include an Unconventional Piece

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Credit: Chesneys

Another quintessential element that is often seen in French countryside gardens is a design feature that seems rather out of place, as this will keep your botanical paradise looking alive and well, and far from barren. A unique and charming piece you can introduce to your garden is a wood burner similar to the one that we featured on our guide on ‘How to Heat Your French Home’.

burner

Albeit not that common, it could look great in your garden, as it provides an option for you to enjoy your garden in the winter while adding some more rustic charm. You can use a vintage wood burner as a decorative focal point, or you can place one that has a built-in stove that’s perfect for outdoor cooking — a fun excuse to invite family and friends over to see your garden any time of the year.

A Water Fountain

Credit: Classic Garden Statue

Last but not least, another key feature of French garden design is using water elements to your advantage. A water fountain is the wonderful way to expand your space. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be grand to be considered beautiful, as its beauty lies in the details. For some additional French flair, choose a water fountain that has a classical motif, such as lions or cherubs. When you find the right place to put your fountain, the water can create a spectacular reflective effect under the sun.

Guest writer on Our Normandy Life was Cecelia Lott and below is her short bio.

Blessed with a green thumb since her mother introduced her to gardening at the age of 5, Cecelia Lott has had a soft spot for the greener side of a house. This has since developed into a love not just for gardens, but for the interior of the home as well, leading to a long-standing career in interior design with a special interest in landscaping. These days, Cecelia takes pride in sharing her knowledge on various sites to help everyone grant themselves a piece of heaven in their own homes.

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