On arriving at Giverny in 1883, Monet saw the property as a blank canvas and quickly set about creating the garden he envisioned. He personally chose all the trees and plants himself and painstakingly
arranged them to create a beautiful, inspirational garden full of color, symmetry and perspective - everything he did on his canvases. In 1893 he bought the adjacent bit of land because it featured a pond which would inspire him with it's reflective surface in which he could further his study of the properties of light. To perfect his landscape he included - often difficult to find - water lilies on the surface of his pond. Then in 1895 he had his Japanese footbridge constructed over the lily pond and enlarged the pond in 1901. The water lilies increasingly became central in his work. The garden was flooded in 1910 about the same time as Monet's beloved wife Alice died and he ceased painting in the garden for a period.
Earlier in his career Monet had traveled a lot for his work searching out new vistas, but after marrying Alice and starting his garden, the artist preferred to stay at Giverny most of the time. The water lily garden grew as his relationship with Alice did and came to symbolize his love for her. In the first few years after Alice's death Monet produced only a few paintings, but in time he recovered. He continued with his water lily series but without his living inspiration the paintings used less and less realism, although I believe his failing eyesight had a lot to do with that too. Monet's Water Lily Series includes approximarely 250 oil paintings over the last 30 years of his life.