The stately, formal garden mirrors the home's architecture.
Drifts of lavender and Muskogee crape myrtle provide color and texture throughout the property.
Off the kitchen, a cobble-lined lawn and stone benches offer a serene venue from which to enjoy the view.
A pink climbing rose frames a window to the garden outside the owners
The owners

French Flair

A chateau-style home in the Shenandoah Mountains gets a formal landscape to match

MAY/JUNE 2012

The panoramic views of the Shenandoah Mountains are the only giveaway that this expansive, 44-acre property is actually in Hume, Virginia, and not Europe. The stately stucco house, with its stone accents, cupola-topped garage and lush gardens, says “French château,” inside and out.


It didn’t start out that way. When landscape designer Mark Finlayson of Wheat’s Landscape first saw it, the garden was “a shambles,” with mundane garden-center plantings and a bland stretch of lawn. “The plants didn’t go with the architecture of the home,” he recalls. 

Finlayson’s vision was to create flowing garden “rooms” linked by natural stone paths that would satisfy the owners’ request for a European-style landscape and suit the home’s architecture and interiors, which are filled with French antiques. 


A striking, formal garden in front of the house centers around an antique French fountain from Provence. The garden is divided into quadrants bordered with dwarf Korean boxwood and filled with drifts of lavender. Muskogee crape myrtles add another layer of purple. 

The rest of the gardens are more casual. Clumps of perennials—more than 60 varieties—are allowed to grow together for a disheveled cottage look. 

An antique bistro set provides a cozy spot for coffee on a terrace garden near the front of the house. Climbing roses mingle in beds with sweet woodruff and geraniums, while containers hold boxwoods and trailing petunias. 

Another terrace garden outside the bedroom window allows the owners to enjoy the scenery from inside and out. A pink climbing rose arches over a window, while an ever-changing show of perennials offers four-season interest. “There is always something blooming there,” Finlayson says.  


Karen A. Watkins is a writer in Bethesda, Maryland. Photographer Jennifer Berman is president of Ashton Imaging in McLean, Virginia.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN & INSTALLATION: MARK FINLAYSON, CPH, Wheat’s Landscape, Vienna, Virginia.
ARCHITECTURE: Jack Arnold, AIA, Jack Arnold’s Homes of Elegance, Tulsa, Oklahoma.


**Out of the array of interior design magazines, Home and Design magazine stands out as a primary idea source for luxury home designs and landscape design ideas.  Wonderful visuals of inspired décor and lush landscapes are combined with expert advice to provide a fundamental reference point for bringing amazing home interior design ideas, and outdoor spaces to life.