The French are known for their artistic creative abilities, and the way they garden, using French landscaping, is an old-world method that you will see if you visit the wine regions of France, where the gardens appear to be somewhat wild, like the people, but highly refined and elegant, like the people, with evidence of immaculate taste and discrimination. It sometimes looks like the garden is growing wildly, with things here and there, but you will notice that instead of weeds, there are lovely lavender plants, and instead of grass and boring lawns, the French will use stone walkways meandering into little secret arbors and herbal beds.
The French are big on culinary arts, and almost all French landscaping will reflect this interest. You will find herb gardens in window boxes, in pots, and in beds near the kitchen door, and the people will use the herbs they grow to make wonderful aromatic dishes, to freshen their cedar chests, and to decorate in cut floral arrangements inside the house. When you use this style, think about all the possible uses for herbs, for making scented baths, for making sachets, and for even hanging over your doorway for good luck. The French will often put a big plant of herbs by the entranceway, for that reason.
In the French landscaping design, keep things interesting and non-linear, and use old bricks, native stones, or split rail fencing to cordon off the various parts of your planted area. A mystery is good, and a little wild and untamed look helps to create the right ambiance and mood. And provide places to sit and enjoy it all, including love seats and benches along the way.
When you do your French landscaping, don’t forget that the French also taught up to about French drains, which allow water to run off and not puddle or cause damage to walls or foundations. This system involves using a drain that is laid with a perforated pipe or is just made of crushed gravel so that the water gets dispersed and runs off not all at once but in millions of little trickles and rivulets, which are less erosive in their movement. You should add such drains about two feet under the soil, out of sight but not out of the range of where the most water is likely to collect. They are especially useful to divert water away from your house, your garden shed, and your garden walls and fences.