Create a Parterre Garden

A parterre is a pattern of boxwood or similar hedge plants, with the areas between filled with other plants. Traditionally, the hedging would be the permanent plants, and the infill made up of annuals and vegetables.

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Parterre Made of Evergreen Hedging DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: Spring
At Its Best: Summer
Time to Complete: 4 hours for the small parterre, measuring 3 ft. x 4 ft., above

Materials Needed:

  • small boxwood plants, 'Suffruticosa'
  • 1 bay tree (Laurus nobilis)
  • shrubby herbs, such as rosemary, lavender, curry plant, cotton lavender and thyme — 3 plants per segment
  • shovel
  • organic matter
  • rake
  • landscape fabric
  • measuring tape
  • chalk
  • short stakes or pegs
  • sharp knife
  • gravel or slate chippings

Prepare the Soil

First, decide on the design you want and sketch it on paper — this parterre is a simple cross pattern. Then clear the area of grass and weeds, and add organic matter, such as garden compost, to improve the soil's structure. Silver-leaved herbs like well-drained soil, so if yours is heavy, add plenty of organic matter. Level the area carefully with a rake.

Level Area for ParterreEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lay and Secure Landscape Fabric

The entire area should be covered in a good quality landscape fabric to suppress weeds and keep moisture in. Pin down the edges securely or slide them under the existing turf.

Mask Weeds with Landscaping FabricEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mark Out a Hedging Plan

Use a tape measure and chalk to mark out your pattern. Space the hedging plants at 8-inch intervals; insert short stakes to mark their positions. The plants will quickly spread to form a dense hedge.

Evenly Space PlantsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
« Previous12

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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