French Inspiration

French Inspiration

This home in the heart of Ontario’s wine country and fronts on the Niagara River. It is a new residence in the French country style. The homeowners wanted this style to continue throughout their home and their landscape.

The front yard forms a grand entrance with a long walkway bordered on either sides by a boxwood hedge and a partitioned rose garden for a formal look. The walkway is made of a precast concrete brick, with an aged look to it. The front terrace areas are random Owen Sound flagstone set in concrete with wide joints to enhance the ‘old world look’. The retaining walls are Owen Sound ledge rock, with large pillars to accentuate corners. Large urns filled with colourful annuals add color and ambience to the terrace areas. Clipped Cone Japanese Yews and Ivory Silk Lilac trees add maturity to the area and enhance the formality. The gardens beyond the boxwood consist of perennials, grouped by flower color and chosen to ensure lots of blooms from early spring to late fall.

The backyard is the main outdoor living area. A series of French doors lead from the house to a large terrace which has room to accommodate their extended family and guests. Again, retaining walls and stairs were made of Owen Sound ledge rock and the large pillars were located to accentuate the walls and highlight the urns. The urns are an important feature to soften all the hard landscape terrace area. The upper terrace has ample room for a large dining set, and off to the side, a covered porch area holds a more intimate table setting off the master bedroom. The hot tub is also located just steps away from the master bedroom, reached from the upper terrace. Protected by the wall of the house, it overlooks the lower terrace, the pool area and the natural landscape beyond the backyard.

The lower terrace is reached by a wide, shallow set of stairs. This terrace surrounds a small but sparkling pool. With septic considerations limiting the space available for the pool, it was located very close to the house. It’s brick wall with a sheer descent water feature serve as a wonderful focal point for the backyard, and the water feature adds the element of sound to the landscape. The precast brick around the pool adds to the old world feel. Already moss has been encouraged to grow on the brick in the shaded areas, to help ‘age’ the landscape. The planting also adds to the mood of the area, with an explosion of hot, vibrant colors from the fragrance filled perennials and roses. The spectacular natural surroundings that exist outside the lot require only small planting areas in the backyard to add splashes of color and accentuate the total landscape.

The clients have chosen simple but tasteful site furnishings, all matching, to help unite the various areas of the backyard. The outdoor bar area is tucked to the side of the lower terrace. It includes a barbeque, sink, ice maker and stereo for a compact but complete eating area. It is adjacent to the hot tub, and the bar stools are at a level to be condusive to conversation between the two areas.

Surrounded as the house is with the beautiful natural backdrop of river and woodlot, this terraced French Country style of landscape serves as the wonderful completing feature of a house that serves as a perfect entertainment area for family and friends.