Today, the garden surrounding a property is considered every bit as important as the architecture of the building and is a key criterion for demanding buyers. There are as many different style gardens as there are architectural styles, all of which can enhance or enliven a property. Here we outline some of the different styles of garden to choose from.
The modern garden
The modern garden is ideally suited to towns, transforming the garden of a modern house to a genuine extra room. As well as being practical and relatively low maintenance, the modern garden enhances the appearance of a property and extends the contemporary aesthetic of a house. There is a focus on symmetry, the layout of the area, the use of contemporary, minimalist-style materials (polished concrete, wooden terraces) and comfortable equipment: bioclimatic pergola, integrated pool, Jacuzzi and vast terrace. Vegetation is planted around the perimeter of this modern, landscaped garden but is not overly present: lavender, herbs and flower beds enliven the space without smothering it. Lawns feature prominently and are closely mown to further enhance the streamlined effect.
The formal garden
The origins of the formal garden - a symbol of classic elegance - can be traced back to the 17th century gardens designed by André Le Nôtre. They can inspire us and bring a sense of drama to a large, outdoor space. The formal garden features a symmetrical layout, with paths leading to flowerbeds, bordered by boxwood hedges. The trees are also perfectly aligned and pruned. A pond and fountain further enhance the grandiose feel of this sophisticated garden which perfectly complements the manor house or small château.
The English landscaped garden
A well-landscaped garden appears perfectly natural and spontaneous. As such it is a wonderful oasis of calm, with a romantic, rural feel. Although it may not look like it, the English landscaped garden involves as much planning and work as a formal garden, featuring a large number of different trees and shrubs, of varying heights and densities, organized in a curved, sinuous formation with flowing lines. In contrast to the symmetrical geometry of a formal garden, a landscaped garden is a riot of colour and scents, with a maze of alleys and a bohemian yet sophisticated atmosphere. The English landscaped garden is well suited to stone properties with small or larger grounds to which you can add benches or pergolas for a spot of relaxation.
The Japanese garden
The Japanese garden, which is minimalist and structured, creates a serene outdoor space. With its combination of stones (pebbles, stepping stone pathways and natural stone), vegetation, water and natural ponds, a Japanese garden exudes a zen atmosphere in a pared-back setting. This type of design is best suited to small square gardens although it can also be used for larger areas, creating a unique, elegant, monochromatic space. It is the perfect complement to modernist architecture. Bonsai trees, Japanese cherry trees, magnolias, bamboo and umbrella pines are ideally suited to this type of garden.
The exotic garden
When buying a luxury property, a grass-free exotic garden can really win over a client. Its lush, dense, colourful vegetation, and plants that come from every corner of the planet, provide freshness in the summer and offer a complete change of scene. Despite its charming, natural appearance, it takes a great deal of effort to select the plants and design and organize the space. A well-conceived exotic garden is the ideal setting for a romantic stroll.
The Mediterranean garden
The Mediterranean garden is characterised by an abundance of stone. Sometimes almost desert-like in appearance, it is ideal for creating a cool outdoor space in a mild climate. Here grass is replaced by paving stone, stone or gravel pathways and lavish, brightly coloured flowerbeds. The Mediterranean garden is ideal for steep terrain with terraces, paths and flowerbeds used to structure the space. Olive trees, pines and cypress trees, typical of the Mediterranean region, are all present, providing welcome shade in the summer; and scented vegetation, such as thyme, lavender and rosemary, lend the space a southerly atmosphere. Fountains are used to create cool spots and lend the garden a Provençal feel.
The naturalistic garden
The wild, untamed, naturalistic garden is an increasingly popular style garden. With its variety of plants and shrubs, numerous flowerbeds and perennials, it celebrates the beauty of nature throughout the year. This meadow-like garden favours wild plants and grasses which are allowed to grow freely, creating an authentic landscape that evokes a sense of freedom.