Lafourcade: les jardins provençaux


This spring, we have added to our Chic Provence Design Tour 3013 an exclusive visit to the Provençal gardens of the well known and extremely talented landscape designer, Dominique Lafourcade. I am so excited to see her work in person after seeing so many images. Her exquisite garden design plans, carefully laid out, drawn and beautifully watercolored, are as if by magic, transformed into actual landscapes. She is remarkable: trained first as an artist, she is a self-taught landscape designer, and is married to the incomparable Bruno Lafourcade, the architect of great renown in Provence, with whom she collaborates.  

I have always been awestruck by great landscape designers.  Imagine the challenge of working with materials that are chosen knowing that they will begin to change the minute they are installed.  It is such a completely different milieu than interior design, where once it's done, it's done... a sofa chosen, upholstered and installed probably won't change, grow, and be clipped over time, and does not depend on water, sun and fertilizer to thrive! The dynamic, ever-changing metier of gardens is fascinating to me.

Enjoy these gorgeous images of Dominique Lafourcade's work as photographed in Provence. As stunning and frankly unattainable as they are for most of us, there are a few "takeaways" for the rest of us would-be garden designers that I have found in her work. Of course, her genius is in making it all look effortlessly chic! Below the pictures are some notes from what I have observed from looking at her galleries.




































1.  She creates "rooms" in her gardens, petit destinations at the end of a pathway promising a enticingly comfortable spot to relax

2.  She uses boxwoods extensively... to delineate those little rooms with small hedges, create "walls" and pathways

3.  The boxwoods are also used as sculpture...usually perfectly round shapes...that look wonderful either in pots are in the ground

4.  She creates rhythm in the gardens...the sculpted boxwoods, long rows of cypress, an allee covered with wisteria...she creates rhythm and repetition with garden elements

5.   She incorporates a water feature whenever she can

6.   She masses flowering plants for maximum effect and keeps the garden structured and simple

7.   She loves to incorporate a little folly in the garden...a feature such as a sculpture of a boar, a little cottage...meant to disarm, charm and delight

8.  Often she builds in a "potager" or kitchen garden, for its practicality in providing fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to the French garden



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I hope these pictures inspire you to find ways to create beauty in your own garden or outdoor space. It seems that her garden ideas are scalable all the way down to a small patch or a patio. A few boxwood topiaries on the patio, masses of same blooms, a water feature, an enchanting spot to relax. These are the little moments that become enchanting elements of wonderful garden design. 

What do you think? I will, of course, write more after I see her gardens in person next month. Until then we can all dream of fields of lavender bound hard by geometric borders in boxwood when we wake up and look outside our chateau window!



{all images via the Lafourcade image galleries}




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