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By Jadunn

United Kingdom Gb

I am redesigning my front garden, and want to make it semi-formal by using box topiary 'cones & balls' in the border. I do not like the current trend of using stone 'chips' to cover the earth.

Can you advise on what would be effective to underplant the topiary, without engulfing it ? I'm rather drawn to the formal gardens in the great French chateau estates, but would appreciate your thoughts.



Traditional French gardens have light coloured sand paths and well fertilised compost underplanting to parterre. The gardeners would remove any weeds. A modern underplanting would be mulch, either leaf or fine bark. Remember that French gardens have no lawns.

26 Apr, 2011


Or you could try a very low growing thyme - not very French but prettier than mulch

26 Apr, 2011


The French and Dutch tend to use Buxus and Yew hedges without any underplanting - the topiary is larger than most UK gardens and lined with compacted sand and seashell mix. A popular design is to line the parterre with yew or Buxus and fill with Lavender. It looks very good and being raised it smells divine.

26 Apr, 2011

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