It took a lot of time to get our French Garden Landscaping right (more tries than I care to admit). BUT, in the end I love it so much! I get asked a lot about the specific plants that we used and the design, and am sharing it all here.
We went with a layered look for the landscaping to create a bit of a French vibe: and I think it worked! Our mostly-white and green yard is flanked by tall cedars that give it a lot of privacy. We are lucky to have purchased an older house (built in 1974) with some mature trees and shrubs to work with.
Our landscaping design was done by our friend Jillian and planted in part by Lakeshore Landscaping (highly recommend, they also did our pool deck and turf). My suggestion? Don’t wing it. Plan it out well in advance to avoid wasting time and money (we made this mistake at first, take it from me). Here is the link to our pool blog if you have questions about that project.
French Garden Plants
There are a select number of plants that we used to create this French Garden look. We also used GlenGrow mulch throughout! Here they are:
There are a lot of options when it comes to boxwoods: I found myself staring into space trying to navigate them! In the end we went with Green Gems which stay small and compact, making them good for borders. We planted them at the edge of our landscaping where it meets the lawn and patio to create a manicured border. We got ours from Dogwood in Kelowna.
After some trial and error, we ended up with the Incrediball hydrangea variety and they really are, well, incredible! I had previously planted Annibell hydrangeas but found that they stalks weren’t sturdy enough, and the flowers just drooped over on the ground when they grew. I love the Incrediball variety and would plant the same all over again: we have them in the front and back of our home. Note that I highly recommend getting sturdy cages for them to keep them growing upright all season long. This particular variety changes to a green colour in the later summer weeks which is different than other varieties which can change colour based on the pH of the soil.
I LOVE lilacs! While they don’t grow as fast as hydrangeas, they are so stunning in the spring. We have a variety of lilac varieties in our back yard and I’m equally obsessed with them all. The predominant variety that we planted is Charles Joly, a French hybrid.
Roses & Lavender
I had a little bit of space beside the garden to plant something, and went with roses. They are needy but I secretly love them for it! There are so many varieties to choose from, but if you can get your hands on David Austen roses I highly recommend them. These English roses are a bit pricier but if properly taken care of, they will come back year after year and are the most stunning blooms I’ve ever seen. I went with Worthington Hall (a blush peachy colour) for most of them, and purchased them at Better Earth Gardens here in Kelowna and also a mix of Coral Roses from Proven Winners. We also purchased lovely white top-grafted (topiary style) roses from Better Earth for planters in our front and they have done really well. We used lavender as a filler which does really well in the Okanagan in the dry climate, and the bees LOVE it!
We planted a number of fruit trees to compliment our landscaping… Okanagan style! Cherries, plums, apples and peaches can be found throughout our gardens, adding a touch of edible local charm.
I’m a sucker for old fashioned flowers. Here are the ones I planted:
These grow very tall, and likely need to be staked. They grow in a variety of colours and I love them all. I planted purple ones, but the blue ones are stunning.
Similar to Delphiniums, Foxgloves grow tall and may need to be staked. They grow pretty bell-shaped flowers along the stem and come in a variety of colours. I purchased a soft peachy variety from Bylands Garden Centre in West Kelowna and am not sorry about it one bit.
We planted Rhododendrons in the shaded area of our garden: I confess that they don’t love it here. They are happiest in a cooler, more damp climate so while we have them I’m not sure that I would plant them again, full confession.
Oh my gosh, talk about showy and low maintenance! Hostas are perfect for shaded areas: we have tons of them and I love how they fill out a space. We have a variegated variety along with one that has larger blue-tinged leaves. I don’t know the names but if you go to a local garden centre they can help you out.
Last but certainly not least, my favourites: peonies. Spring blooms that arrive just after lilacs, these soft pillowy, romantic flowers are total show stoppers. They come in both muted and bright colours, but I love the soft pink ones best.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to answer!