A couple by
the name of Claire and Dan Boyles commissioned Exterior Worlds
to develop their back yard along the lines of a French Country
garden design. They had recently designed and built a French
Colonial style house. Claire had been very involved in the
architectural design, and she communicated extensively her
expectations for the landscape.
The aesthetic we ultimately created for them was not a
traditional French country garden per se, but instead was a
variation on the symmetry, color, and sense of formality
associated with this design. The most notable feature that we
added to the estate was a
custom swimming pool installed just to the rear of the home.
It emphasized linearity, complimentary right angles, and it
featured a luxury spa and
pool fountain. We built the coping around the pool out of
limestone, and we used concrete pavers to build the custom pool
patio. We then added French pottery in various locations around
the patio to balance the stonework against the look and
structure of the home.
formal garden parallel to the pool to reflect its linear
movement. Like most French country gardens, this design is
bordered by sheered bushes and emphasizes straight lines,
angles, and symmetry. One very interesting thing about this
garden is that it is consist entirely of various shades of
green, which lends itself well to the sense of a French estate.
The garden is bordered by a taupe colored cedar fence that
compliments the color of the stonework.
Just around the corner from the back entrance to the house,
there lies a double-door entrance to the master bedroom. This
was an ideal place to build a small patio for the Boyles to use
as a private seating area in the early mornings and evenings. We
deviated slightly from strict linearity and symmetry by adding
pavers that ran out like steps from the patio into the grass. We
then planted boxwood hedges around the patio, which are common
in French country garden design and combine an Old World
sensibility with a morning garden setting.
then completed this portion of the project by adding rosemary
and mondo grass as ground cover to the space between the patio,
the corner of the house, and the back wall that frames the yard.
This design is derivative of those found in morning gardens, and
it provides the Boyles with a place where they can step directly
from their bedroom into a private outdoor space and enjoy the
early mornings and evenings.
We further develop the sense of a morning garden seating area;
we deviated slightly from the strict linear forms of the rest of
the landscape by adding pavers that ran like steps from the
patio and out into the grass. We also planted rosemary and mondo
grass as ground cover to the space between the patio, the corner
of the house, and the back wall that borders this portion of the
We then landscaped the front of the home with a continuing
symmetry reminiscent of French country garden design. We wanted
to establish a sense of grand entrance to the home, so we built
a stone walkway that ran all the way from the sidewalk and then
fanned out parallel to the covered porch that centers on the
front door and large front windows of the house. To further
develop the sense of a French country estate, we planted a small
parterre garden that can be seen and enjoyed from the left
side of the porch.
On the other side of house, we built the Boyles a circular
motorcourt around a large oak tree surrounded by lush San
Augustine grass. We had to employ special tree preservation
techniques to build above the root zone of the tree. The
motorcourt was then treated with a concrete-acid finish that
compliments the brick in the home. For the parking area, we used
limestone gravel chips.
French country garden design is traditionally viewed as a very
formal style intended to fill a significant portion of a yard or
landscape. The genius of the Boyles project lay not in strict
adherence to tradition, but rather in adapting its basic
principles to the architecture of the home and the geometry of
the surrounding landscape.
For more the 20 years
Exterior Worlds has specialized in servicing many of Houston's