Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Steal This Look: A French Country Cottage Garden for a Parisian Transplant

Search

Steal This Look: A French Country Cottage Garden for a Parisian Transplant

April 23, 2019

Designer Gesa Hansen and her husband, Paris restaurateur Charles Compagnon, and three children were living in family quarters above one of his restaurants—with no garden—when they went to visit friends in the countryside not so long ago.

On a whim, on the way home Hansen stopped to look at two nearby houses for sale. “I fell in love immediately, and we bought the second one,” she says. Now the family has a quintessentially French cottage garden–with hollyhocks and hydrangeas, a cobblestone driveway, and a potager where Compagnon grows herbs on the lawn, in woven-wicker raised beds. Here’s how to recreate the look:

N.B.: See more of the interiors of the 19th-century stone compound on Remodelista.

Photography by Nathalie Mohadjer, unless noted, all courtesy of Gesa Hansen (@GesaHansen).

Cottage Garden

Now Hansen and her family live about 36 miles south of Paris in the village of Courances.
Above: Now Hansen and her family live about 36 miles south of Paris in the village of Courances.

With an old house and an established garden, what stays and what goes? Modern amenities such as skylights bring the house into the 21st century. As for the garden? Loose, naturalistic plantings (including ornamental grasses and untamed grasses) undercut the traditional formality of clipped box and tidy cobblestone edging.

Horseshoe Shutters

Wooden shutters embellished with horses cutouts can add whimsy to a stone facade. See more designs at Shuttercraft.
Above: Wooden shutters embellished with horses cutouts can add whimsy to a stone facade. See more designs at Shuttercraft.

For custom cutouts—including a horseshoe pattern similar to furniture designer Gesa Hansens, contact Connecticut-based Shuttercraft for designs and pricing. Shuttercraft, which advertises “endless cutout patterns,” can create a pattern for “any shutter with a raised/flat panel or board and batten.”

Chaise Lounge Chair

Made by Safavieh, an Inglewood Chaise Lounge Chair is made of acacia wood and comes with a navy blue cushion. It is $3.59 at Home Depot, where the finish on the acacia frame is described as &#8
Above: Made by Safavieh, an Inglewood Chaise Lounge Chair is made of acacia wood and comes with a navy blue cushion. It is $329.59 at Home Depot, where the finish on the acacia frame is described as “brown teak.”

More typically consigned to a poolside deck, a chaise lounge chair beckons at the edge of a lawn.

Boxwood Edging

 Kept clipped, low boxwood hedges will provide a year-round green backdrop in a garden. A variety of suitable varieties including Green Velvet, Wintergreen, and Dwarf English boxwoods are available at prices starting at $4
Kept clipped, low boxwood hedges will provide a year-round green backdrop in a garden. A variety of suitable varieties including Green Velvet, Wintergreen, and Dwarf English boxwoods are available at prices starting at $42.95 depending on variety at Nature Hills.

Tumbled Cobblestone

Measuring 4 by 8 by 3 inches, a Belgian Block Cobblestone With Tumbled Hand Cut Sides is $
Above: Measuring 4 by 8 by 3 inches, a Belgian Block Cobblestone With Tumbled Hand Cut Sides is $2.50 from Tilesbay.

For cobblestones that look as if they’ve been in place for centuries, choose tumbled pavers with hand-cut sides.

Russian Sage

Russian sage is available Vertigrow in the UK.
Above: Russian sage is available Vertigrow in the UK.

With soft-purple spires that grow to a height of up to four feet under ideal conditions, perennial Russian sage creates a hazy, romantic backdrop in a flower border. See more growing and care tips at Russian Sage: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated guides to Perennials 101.

Potager

Herbs grow in beds with woven willow edging made by friends of Gesa’s parents. For similar options, see Garden Must-Have: Woven Willow Fences and Trellises and Hardscaping loading=
Above: Herbs grow in beds with woven willow edging made by friends of Gesa’s parents. For similar options, see Garden Must-Have: Woven Willow Fences and Trellises and Hardscaping 101: Woven Fences.

Woven Willow Edging

A 7
Above: A 72-inch panel of Woven Willow Brown Flexible Edging is $21.56 from Home Depot.

 Tool Shed

A former stable is now a garage and tool shed (Compagnon roasts coffee in the other wing). Standing sentinel are flowering hydrangeas and tall spires of hollyhocks.
Above: A former stable is now a garage and tool shed (Compagnon roasts coffee in the other wing). Standing sentinel are flowering hydrangeas and tall spires of hollyhocks.

Hollyhocks

A packet of 0 seeds of Old Fashioned Hollyhocks &#8
Above: A packet of 100 seeds of Old Fashioned Hollyhocks “bear mostly single blossoms in classic hollyhock colors of deep rose, pink, salmon-pink, and white.” It is $2.79 from Renee’s Garden.

For more planting and growing tips, see Hollyhocks: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design.

Hydrangeas

For a deep, lipstick-pink hydrangea that will grow to a height of 5 feet, consider Hydrangea Paniculata Diamond Rouge; $.95 at White Flower Farm. In a smaller garden bed, you can plant Hydrangea Arborescens Invincibelle Mini Mauvette, which will top out at a height of 36 inches; .95.
Above: For a deep, lipstick-pink hydrangea that will grow to a height of 5 feet, consider Hydrangea Paniculata Diamond Rouge; $25.95 at White Flower Farm. In a smaller garden bed, you can plant Hydrangea Arborescens Invincibelle Mini Mauvette, which will top out at a height of 36 inches; 25.95.

See more growing tips in Hydrangeas: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated guides to Shrubs 101.

Are you designing a cottage garden? For more inspiration, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0