Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (2023)

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Be inspired by Mediterranean gardens and create this irresistible look for summer holidays all year round. This garden style not only conveys a beautiful casual elegance but is made even more necessary by the effects of climate change.

Persistent hot, dry summers can affect the crops we grow. So making our gardens more drought tolerant is really important. Luckily, a Mediterranean garden is a dream we can all wish for. And with this outdoor style, you can also have fun and experiment with a few different plants. Combining lights of different textures, heights and more creates a multi-layered experience in your outdoor space.

Whether you're creating a small nook that evokes holiday feelings or remodeling a larger area, our guide can get you started.

  • Visit us for more inspirationgarden ideasbook page.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (1)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

What is a Mediterranean garden style?

Mediterranean gardens are all about relaxed outdoor living: linger over meals with friends and family, take a refreshing siesta and invigorate the senses with intoxicating scents and bright colours.

To recreate this style, you need to include relaxed, casual spaces full of fragrant combinations of textures and rustic details.

It takes some thought and planning to create this ornate, weathered atmosphere, with the structure and planting working together to create the atmosphere.

It's also one of the most practicalSmall garden ideas, thereby relieving the task of lawn maintenance and using gravel or paving as hard landscaping as the basis for the design, softened by ground cover and various containers.

  • see us allgarden designAdvice.

What plants grow in a Mediterranean garden?

We spoke to Mr William Mitchell, the ownerSutton Manor Kindergartenwho advises: "If you are creating your own Mediterranean garden at home, trees are the easiest way to achieve this." Low maintenance, resilient to the British weather and, most importantly, visually appealing: there is a wide range of plants to choose from. If you've always wanted to grow fruit in your garden, citrus fruits are a great choice. Citrus trees are a great way to add lush greenery, a pop of color, and wonderful scents to your garden, and once they bloom, you'll feel like you're sitting in your favorite vacation spot, not your backyard.

When it comes to caring for your citrus fruits, most citrus fruits do well outdoors between April and October. However, when winter approaches you can use a fleece cover for extra protection or move the pots to a sheltered greenhouse or conservatory.

One of the brightest, but even more sosimple garden ideasBelow you will find more information about planting and designing your Mediterranean garden.

  • The best low-maintenance garden plants

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (2)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Design elements of Mediterranean gardens

The hallmarks of a country house style are informality and rusticity - the look of an old farmhouse with natural stone and whitewashed walls.

More from Period Living

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lifetimeis the UK's best-selling historical house magazine. Get inspiration, ideas and advice delivered straight to your home every monthSubscription.

gravel and stone- Most Mediterranean gardens focus on gravel and pavers in warm tones, although terraced levels with stone walls with lawns and cut shapes are also common. Below is how to create a gravel garden.

climberblend freely across the walls, shaded by rustic trellises overgrown with vines andterracotta potsfull of flowers hum all add to the mood. For container ideas try thisPots & Potsor theCretan casserole, and check out our tips forGardening in containersfor more potted plant ideas.

PlantThey are selected for scent, color, year-long shelf life, drought tolerance, and ease of care. Classic options include:

  • Olive
  • citrus fruits
  • Agave
  • Lavender
  • Herbs
  • geraniums
  • Bougainvillea
  • Herb garden: A Beginner's Guide to Planting, Growing, and Harvesting.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (4)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Architectural Plantsare used to add height and drama, such as palms, cypresses, and yuccas.

water propertiesWhile not necessary, it's a great way to add sound and shine to the arid landscape and break it up.

Also consider embeddingMosaicB. between paving stones, perpendicular to steps or walls or to add color to decorative bird baths, fountains or containers. This can also help create a Moroccan garden vibe.

Forcolor paletteThink cool sea blues, sunny warm earth tones, weathered patinas, whitewashed walls and splashes of red or pink backed by soft grays and silvers.

Many coastal gardens lend themselves to Mediterranean landscaping, as do areas around swimming pools, with shades of blue to match the water as opposed to sunny yellows or oranges.

  • Find inspiration in our guidewater properties.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (5)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

How to prepare and maintain Mediterranean gardens

  • Prepare the soil by cultivating deeply and adding some mulch and organic matter to accommodate the free-draining plants.
  • Mediterranean plants have evolved to enjoy long, sunny days when excellent light quality is crucial. Therefore, avoid planting in the shade of large trees.
  • They prefer well-drained soil, so don't plant them in an area that gets flooded in winter, and they generally prefer soil that's poor in nutrients, so avoid fertilizing the soil.
  • A south-facing location is ideal, where you can enjoy the sun all day long even in winter and where you are far from the ice-cold air.
  • Plant Mediterranean plants in spring when the soil is warming to avoid root rot after wet, cold winters.
  • Raised beds are good for improving drainage.
  • Plant immature, small specimens as they are more resilient and will adapt as they grow.
  • Before planting, soak the plants in a bucket of water until bubbles rise to the surface.
  • Choose the right plant for the right place. Consider terrain and orientation. Plants that come as close as possible to their natural living conditions are best suited.
  • Take the vagaries of British weather into account by including plants that can withstand the heat, cold and wet such as birch, barberry, geranium, Chinese reed, stonecrop and lilies.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (6)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

  • Water plants well in the first season and then, once established, will be more drought tolerant.
  • By "mass" planting the soil, the soil is prevented from being washed away, weeds are suppressed and the moisture in the soil is retained as a reservoir for periods of drought.
  • A mulch of pebbles or gravel reflects heat and light, keeps roots moist and cool, and also suppresses weeds.
  • Well-composed green mulch is also applied every year to protect the roots and fertilize the plants.
  • Keep an eye on the health of the plants: if they seem a little stressed by the heat, water them well and keep pests at bay.
  • Don't be afraid to prune and prune rosemary, lavender, and cistus after flowering. They can become leggy and woody very quickly and a yearly trimming will extend their lifespan.
  • Remove leaves that have accumulated on shrubs over the winter as they hold moisture.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (7)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Add Mediterranean trees to your garden

Trees are the backbone of any garden design, providing height, structure and shade from the high summer sun. Consider the maturity potential of each tree you plant - they may look small now, but in a few years they could overwhelm your garden if they are not the right size.

It's also important not to place taller trees too close to the house, as the roots can cause structural problems.

Here are some great ideas for Mediterranean trees:

  • OliveThey are a classic choice, a symbol of peace and can bear fruit when the conditions are right. They need a sheltered, sunny spot and can be grown in pots and overwintered indoors. Combines well with lavender, nepeta and cistus.
  • MimosasThey are fast-growing trees that need a sheltered spot and prefer neutral to acidic soil. They bloom in spring.
  • cypressesCommon throughout Tuscany, they add sculptural elegance to Mediterranean gardens by forming tall, slender spikes. Place them on either side of a gate or door, or use them to line pathways. They need sunny and well-drained soil.
  • Palm treescreates a holiday mood like no other plant. Some cultivars are better adapted to the UK weather than others, with some even being able to handle temperatures as low as -15°C – try Trachycarpus Fortunei.
  • Citrus fruits in potsAdds a real touch of sunshine to Mediterranean gardens but needs to be overwintered indoors and does best in the south.
  • laurel treesThey are evergreen shrubs that can be pruned into structural shapes. Plant them in containers or in the ground and benefit from the fragrant leaves when cooking.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (8)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

How to create a gravel garden

A gravel garden is a practical option and easy to maintain as there is no lawn to mow. Choose a sunny, well-drained and weed-free site. Although any type of soil is possible, a sandy or gritty soil works best.

To prevent the plants from self-seeding, lay landscape fabric across the soil and cut crosses to place the plants. Then add a layer of gravel between 5 and 8 cm thick.

Thebetter graveAvailable in a wide range of colors and sizes. Therefore, choose a color that complements other hard surfaces and textures in the garden. Local gravel is generally cheaper.

Be vigilant when weeding for the first few years until the plants are large enough to smother them. Self-seeding plants will appear, giving the garden a natural look. If they are more or less inappropriate, just remove some. Good plant choices include herbs, erigeron, stems, euphorbia, and nepeta.

  • How to pave a gravel road

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (9)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

The best Mediterranean plants for your garden

As a general indicator ofbetter drought tolerant plantsThe grey-green and silvery leaves reflect the sun's rays and thus retain moisture in the plant. Silver leaved plants can succumb to wet, cold winters, but many are easy to propagate and grow quickly for summer display.

Other indicators of drought tolerance include whether the plant has small, narrow leaves, as they evaporate less water, and a reflective, glossy, waxy coating also indicates an adaptation to surviving in hot, dry environments.

Many drought-tolerant plants form plant communities that thrive in the same conditions.

Try some of these plants for a Mediterranean garden design:

  • Artemisiais a hardy perennial with a woody trunk, ideal for a rock garden and does well in combination with nepeta and heather.
  • AgapanthosIt blooms profusely throughout summer and is a showy border plant when planted in large numbers. It is also versatile for use in containers, gravel gardens and borders.
  • CeanothusRequiring a sheltered spot such as against a wall, it is salt tolerant and comes in a range of clear blues to purples accented by an underplanting of lime green Euphorbia.

Do you like the look of a Mediterranean garden? Here's how you can create one! (10)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

  • prickly pearsPlanted in pots on the terrace or in the garden, they spread real Mediterranean flair with their fragrant flowers in pink, red or white.
  • BougainvilleaWith its bright pink flowers, it will take you to the Riviera. There are also assortments from white, cream, orange to red to choose from. Plant bougainvillea in containers so they can be placed under glass during the winter.
  • CallistemonThey are usually red, but neon "Hot Pink" is a good choice for containers. Spring flowers also attract bees and butterflies to your garden.
  • irisesNative to the Mediterranean region, they are drought tolerant and come in a variety of shades of the rainbow. Plant in strips, mixed with sage, phlox, lilies and bluebells for a beautiful combination.

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(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

  • euphoriaAdaptable and useful for foliage shades ranging from acidic yellow, lime green to reddish bracts, they can withstand the harshest of weather conditions.
  • Hemerocallisor daylilies are useful perennials with sturdy, narrow leaves and showy flowers. They are easy to care for and drought tolerant.
  • Kniphofia, or Red Hot Poker, make striking architectural accents among grasses and perennials and come in a range of warm colors

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(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

  • A small garden with Mediterranean garden elements

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