Making a new tract garden ― or any yard ― look like it belongs to an old French farmhouse is easy to do. Here's how Nancy and Greg Putman of Putman Construction & Landscaping (949/552-6610) helped the Brombals achieve their goals.
Use "aged" materials. The bricks that form the paths and define the vegetable beds in the potager, from Robinson Brick Company (800/477-9002), aren't very old. They've just been tumbled until they look that way. The process not only rounds off the edges of the brick, it fades the color. The flagstones in the dining area are also tumbled.
Simulate Old World style. On the fireplace, the fine-textured stucco was deliberately overtroweled to a point past smooth, creating a mottled color ― a good substitute for centuries of weathering. Provençal-style shutters embellish the garage wall.
Invest in mature trees. Bringing in a California sycamore tree and several birches ― all in 36-inch boxes ― gave the Brombals needed privacy. More important, the large trees made their garden look more established. If they'd opted for young saplings instead, the faux-aged materials and other instant-weathering tricks wouldn't look so convincing.
Full story: Old-World kitchen garden