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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Design on Friday 9

Friday, March 10, 2017

~ Garden ~ 
Topiaries - Part 2 

Topiaries are all over France, not just in Paris, and come in all shapes and sizes making them one of the most common of all French designs used in gardening. 

Whether you have a city garden or a country garden, topiaries add French style. With Spring less than two weeks away, now is the time to consider adding topiaries to your landscape... to your garden, your deck, your patio, or your driveway. 

Take a look at photos of topiaries in Sarlat, France for inspiration in designing your own gardens. 

Sarlat, France is one of hundreds of beautiful French towns that survived modernization over the centuries. And is one of my favorite French towns that I visit over and over again. Its creamy-colored old stone buildings line narrow streets designed for horses, carts, carriages, and people. Part of its charm comes from manicured trees trimmed into topiaries along the streets. 

Four cone-shaped topiaries grow in small squares of dirt. Each time I look at this photo, I wonder about the gardener(s) who tend the sculpted trees. 

Are they city gardeners paid by the town of Sarlat, or are they the owners of the building? How often do the trees have to be trimmed? How does the gardener get the trees to be the same shape and size? Is it a natural talent acquired over years of practice, or is there a tool used to help trim them uniformly? Do they have to be watered or is the natural rainfall enough? 

Although we are mainly looking at this photo to see the topiary trees, there is so much more French design to see. 
  • Green vines growing on the building's entry 
  • Stone steps leading to the stone building 
  • Iron grate over the street-level opening 
  • Iron fence around the tree-filled garden 
  • Ironwork in the shape of Xs attached to the stone wall below the garden... so French... 
  • Cobblestone street 
  • Eyebrow arch of the doorway... do you see eyebrow arches everywhere now?  
  • Ancient carved stone boulders with circular openings--- how I would LOVE one of these in my garden! 


Now, take a look at how an American business and an American home-owner have French-inspired designs in their landscapes. 

These French-style topiary trees line the curb to a parking lot for a restaurant in north Texas. 

Topiary trees accent the corners of each section of this north Texas house built in the early 2000s. The entryway has vines growing near the doorway very much like the house in Sarlat, France. 

Each time I look at this French-inspired garden and home with its stone walls, eyebrow arched windows, tile-look shingled roof, and the topiary trees, I think of France. 

That little eyebrow window on the creamy yellow wall steals my heart away to F R A N C E. 

What am I looking for this Spring to add to my landscape? Topiary trees... was there ever any doubt? 

What are you planning to add to your landscape this Spring? 

Come back each Friday for more snapshots of French architecture, houses, textiles, metal work, food, woodwork, landscapes... and discover inspiration for creating 

a French-inspired garden and home. 

Want to see more photos from France to inspire your garden and home? 


  1. I think I need to add a topiary to my garden. I'm not sure where. The shutters on my home make it look more French. I love the vines and the iron gates. Gorgeous.

  2. I go for a lazy gardener topiary effect with Leland cypress trees in two urns in the front of my house. Unfortunately, they got water logged last summer. I plan to do it again, but drill some holes in the planters this time.

  3. Hi, Judith, I simply love topiaries, but I am not so keen on the clipping work that is involved in keeping them looking neat.
    I have done a lot of garden travel in England and they are very typical for English gardens as well. I have seen gardeners there fine pruning a lollipop topiary tree with secateurs by hand. So much work involved and so much love!
    Warm regards,

  4. I'm also not sure I could keep up with the manicuring necessary on the larger topiaries, but I am definitely on-board with the smaller rosemary ones. I certainly admire the artistry needed to keep them in perfect shape.

    As far as spring plantings go, I'm going to attempt lavender again. This time with a strong emphasis on French and Spanish lavender. Plus, I'm planning on going to a local lavender farm to get some ideas and expert advice. "fingers crossed on this project" :-)

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  5. Love topiares they are simply timeless. I'm working on something that I can hardly wait to share next week. These french examples are fantastic!

  6. I love topiaries and the french do them well. I have several that includes a pair on my front porch in matching urns and a pair on my patio in blue and white chinoiserie pots. At Christmas I always use several pairs of topiaries with red ribbons as decorations.I'd love to incorporate more.

  7. HELLO dear friend Judith,

    I wanted to let you know just how much I am loving your French Friday's post. We both are devoted Francophiles. :)

    Also, thank you so very much for your warm and heartfelt comments.

    I wanted to let you know that I am nearing the end of my college experience and am currently doing a 7-week internship at a museum as a requirement for graduation. It is an interesting experience to be sure.

    I must admit that I am struggling to try and manage my time and make sure my family's needs are met. Sadly, this leaves little time left for visiting my favorite people in the world and their fabulous blogs. I hope you'll have patience with me. Thankfully, this time won't last forever and I will soon, once again, be able to see all the wonderful things you are doing.

    May glorious weather and lovely flowers put a spring in your step,

  8. Marilyn,
    I would love to go to a local lavender farm! Will you send me an email with the name and address of the one you plan to visit, please?


  9. The French just know how to do it, don't they? But look what they have to begin with!

    Most of my landscaping this summer will be at the lake house. The lot next door sold and they ripped out every tree to build a big house (they didn't need to rip out every one! There's NO shade there now!). I hope they landscape but we are planning to put in some arbor vitae or some other fast growing tree to block some of the view in a few spots. Makes me too sad to look at the naked land.


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