Backyard With a Touch of French Style in California by Zeterre

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From your very first glimpse of this elegant Saratoga, California, house up the stone driveway, you feel at home: it’s the serene effect of French Provincial styling that carries into a dignified, yet relaxing landscape around the house, courtesy of Zeterre Landscape Architecture. Wrought-iron balconies overlook side walkways and driveway, plus a spacious two-car garage with side storage; weathered ornate lanterns light the posts of the stone wall that lines the entry drive. All around you, you see mature trees — hemlock, pine, and elm. Touches of wisteria and maple brighten a far corner of green-painted tennis courts, while well-trimmed boxwoods and laurels line the walks — and notice the flowering espalier along one fireplace chimney, a subtle softening effect to what could be a ponderous detail.

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This back yard is ultimately livable: beneath a sheltered arched alcove just off French doors from the house, you can enjoy an outdoor stone fireplace and comfortable lounges. Another seating area, behind the long rows of windows, overlooks the pool — giving spectators the chance to catch a little sun while they socialize with swimmers. Down concrete steps is another sheltered seating area next to the tennis courts — a perfect place to relax after a set. There’s no nonsense about the pool and spa: in neat square lines, they’re sheltered by unobtrusive privacy fencing that’s covered in green. Rambling and casual, the house and garden fit together in a perfect combination — an unexpected breath of French charm in California with the trademark Zeterre touch of class.

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Written by Janet Butler

Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).