As our backyard pool project kicks into full swing, the landscape design is progressing too as I have been planning it for some time.
What a crazy year it has been. So many things happening in our lives and around the world. It seems that we are all feeling more connected to our homes and really want to love the space we live in. But renovation projects these days are taking longer and seem more complicated and expensive. Did you know the price of lumber has tripled? There is a shortage on home insulation, and the supply chain for goods is still not back to normal. It doesn’t seem like the best time to do home renovations, but here we are…along with everyone else.
As many of you know, we embarked on a swimming pool build earlier this year. It is a massive project as we are also building a pool house. To do this project properly, it makes sense to concurrently build the pool and pool house together. This decision slows down the pool build dramatically as there are so many co-mingled pieces that are reliant on each other; and building during a Pandemic certainly hasn’t helped. But it’s ok, slow and steady has been a good way to go and allowed us more time to really hone in on details and plan the space exactly the way we want. We lost the ability to use the pool this year but we are confident we will have a beautiful space for next summer.
Let me remind you of our inspiration photo and the design plan I am working from…
Our pool house will be a bit different as it will have a bathroom and a storage/changing room. The design picture above has open walls in the back but ours will be closed to allow for these extra spaces.
Since the onset of this project, I have been implementing design elements; some…during the build. This method will hopefully make the whole project look complete and save me from stressing about coming up with a landscape design plan at the end. When you plan a huge project like this, forward thinking about landscape ideas could save you tons on money in lieu of hiring a landscape designer.
Since we have a french county home, we want very much to have a french country landscape design in our backyard. French landscapes are typically formal, with symmetry and order. They are meant to highlight the centerpiece (the house) from a distance but since they are so neat and tidy, they do require quite a bit of maintenance. Let’s look at the elements of a french country design.
Elements of a French Country Landscape Design
Traditional French gardens favor cool colors, such as whites, greens, blues, pinks, purples and mauves.
Beautiful and well manicured french gardens use boxwood hedges, clipped shrubs, fields of lavender, and neat garden beds and planters. A formal French garden incorporates clean, straight-lined geometric shapes. These shapes can be created with trimmed hedges and shrubs, paving, and gravel. Think squares, diamonds, or triangles tied in with spheres, circles, or semicircles to complete symmetrical designs.
Interesting for sure, but we won’t have anything close to this formal!
Stone is very commonly used for paving, edging, terraces, decorative elements, and places to sit and enjoy the garden. Pea gravel is also frequently used in french landscape designs.
Water Feature, Columns, and Statues
French gardens have some sort of water feature, such as a small pond, fountain, or pool. Columns and statues are also used as decorative elements.
Raised Planting Beds
The garden is edged with raised planting beds with stone walls. These elevate the plants, provide more planting space, and can act as extra seating in the garden. But makes sure the stone walls complement the patio pavers for a clean, classic French design.
Tree Groves & Rolling Lawns
Trees planted along pathways that lead to open green space are commonly used elements.
Unique Floral Designs
Flowers and various types of shrubs planted in rows and shapes can create a unique floral design.
European gardens typically have the following styles:
Dark Fencing & Structures
Dark colors, such as navy blue, provide a dramatic backdrop for plants, trees, and shrubs.
Gardens with all white flowers are elegant and offer a bright garden when the moon is shining at night.
Terraces are popular in gardens across Europe. They offer different levels with various uses.
Natural stone provides a timeless look to garden walls and patios. Bluestone, flagstone or limestone are popular choices.
Moss & Patina
Moss and patina on landscape elements give the appearance of age in the landscape.
Fill planters with annuals and edible plants, fruits, and vegetables.
Our Landscape Design Plan
When I was planning the design of the pool and pool house, there were many ideas and opinions on the placement of the structures. I had contractors who suggested placing the pool house on the left and right side of the pool. While there are advantages to having the pool house closer to the home, that placement would not have taken advantage of the backdrop of the trees or captivating views of the mountains.
Our yard is very large and there are so many different ways we could have constructed the pool and pool house, but in the end I hired a landscape designer to come up with this plan. He prepared a simple drawing with pool and pool house placement in relation to our home. This is the design we ended up selecting.
Having that initial design help was invaluable since I had so many competing ideas floating around in my head. Once the placement decision was made, I felt comfortable to make future decisions about design on my own.
One of the decisions I made was to leave space around the spa and front of pool house for flower beds. This will give an immediate pop of color and appears easy enough to plant evergreens and flowers myself, right 🤞? Ok, so I may ask my husband for help 😉
Remember the rock we hit when digging the pool? We have a plan for it! My mason tells me that the rock is very good quality and quite expensive, so why not use it? We plan on building a retaining wall using those large stones on the right side of the pool house extension. I can’t wait to see it! Love the idea of adding rustic elements to the design, kudos to my mason for coming up with the idea.
While we won’t be doing anything close to the formality of the gardens at Versailles…
I feel our simpler design will still have a nice impact to the overall space. Here’s what I’m thinking…
My Wishlist – Planning to have all these Elements Incorporated into our French Country Landscape Design:
- Cool colors – greens and whites and some pink – maybe lavender too?
- Symmetry – our design is consistent on both sides of the pool house
- Raised Planting Beds – beds around the spa will be filled with evergreens and annuals
- Stone – gone a bit crazy here…tons of it and a rock wall
- Columns – We will have 2 round columns on the front of the pool house
- Statue – none planned at the present time but never say never 😉
- Water feature – the pool!!
- Green Space and Rolling Lawn – plenty of lawn space remaining in the yard
- Unique floral designs – flowering plants and trees on sides of pool and patio surround
- Dark fencing – we currently have a black fence around the yard
- Large Trees – behind fence provide a beautiful backdrop for the pool house
- Terraces – the pool house will be elevated from the decking around the pool.
I am hoping that my advance planning will make the landscape design a lot smoother when the time comes. But we shall see….
What do you think about the design, I would love to hear your ideas 🙂
At the moment my Instagram account has either been hacked or is locked 🤦♀️ and I’m trying to get in touch with Instagram…which is not an easy task. I have so much to share with you on the pool house build…which is gaining momentum quickly!
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