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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Dawn

Building a French Inspired Garden Part One

If there's something I've learnt from this, it's that no one should leave me alone to design a garden because I will go from 1 to 100 very quickly. Last summer, I went to France and if there's something you should spend time doing in France is visiting gardens because they are unlike anything I've ever seen. I would go back to Versailles just for the gardens. I came home and knew immediately that the next summer, we would be designing a whole new garden.

Designing a new garden, which I've done every summer since 2016, is fun. It's a lot of work, but it's nice because it always ends up being beautiful. Now, any time I want to change the landscaping, I have to ask my landlord (my parents) because I follow the rules and have mad respect for my parents. This year, I came up with a modest plan and my parents were like "You can put something on the whole front plot". I wasn't expecting that, so I had to redesign a whole new garden.

Here's what needed to get done on the new design:

1) Re-plot the edge of the vegetable garden and find more large blocks (thanks parents).

2) Put up the arbor (which was free because we got it when someone was getting rid of it).

3) Cut out all the old grass.

4) Find 55+ bricks to make borders (Thank you everyone who donated and the old man selling his house).

5) Find used wood for the remaining borders (Thanks dad).

6) Make a fence that didn't cost $100. Square lattice makes a great fence alternative.

7) Place black gardening fabric along the pathways.

8) Place/find sand to put down on the black fabric.

9) Find little rocks to make the pathways look nice. We went with pea stone because it was on sale.

10) Fix the front path.

10.5) Add a fence in the back as a means to keep our patio area private.

11) Cut out the remaining grass for the flower garden.

12) Spray paint the front pots black.

13) Replace all the herb garden pots with new and used terracotta pots (Worth the money spent) Then I decided we need matching black pots for an accent inside the vegetable garden.

14) Spray paint the table and the umbrella stand to match.

15) Paint the chairs and swing (See my blog post from two years ago).

16) Buy two new chairs for the back.

17) Make final plans for vegetable selection, this has been going on since September.

18) Make a rough final plan for the flower garden, we have never done flowers it's probably going to be a surprise on what we decide to get.

19) Buy dirt and mulch (I think we need a few bags of each, but I will be wrong).

20) Plant everything. Have I mentioned I've been growing tomatoes and cucumbers from seed as well?

This is roughly everything we have done. I won't lie, we designed something then it would change because the cost would be too high. Then it would change again.


Items 1 to 10 happened in two weekends. We (me and my sister) started by expanding the garden to the sidewalk, leaving enough room for a flower bed, which now that I've done I realize is narrow, but will work.

Day 1: We expanded the border by about 3-4 feet, which is a huge difference from the before pictures. We liked the old garden, but the problem as you can see is that it's always covered in leaves and we know that will always happen, but pulling leaves out of thorny plants just isn't fun.

Day 2: We put up the arbor, dug up the pathways, and placed the black tarp down and sand down. This was probably the biggest job just because digging up hard dirt on one side was really heavy.

Day 3: We made fences out of square lattice by cutting it in half. It was a damaged 4x8 piece and we had two pieces. We placed the sticks it is attached to in the ground by a foot because it's not a high fence and reinforced the arbor. We added the front path and cut some wood to make the borders of the side of the garden using an old fence. Finally, with the leftover lattice, we created trellises for green beans and butternut squash.

Day 4: We dug up the grass on the side of the house and the main path from the arbor to the back and side. We placed the black tarp, got more sand, placed it down, and placed the rocks nicely by the gas meter. This was so difficult because there was a lot more grass than on day 1. We had enough dirt to create a bed on the side of the house and we will see if anything grows this year. If not, we will buy shade plants.

Here is what is done after day 4.

Day 5: We went to Kent at lunch and got 20 bags of pea stone. Then we placed it on the sand. I laughingly thought the garden was done. I was wrong.

I am going to stop the blog here because this was one large project done. In part 2, we will go over placing the back fence, painting and shopping for plants.

All my love,



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