How to Plant and Create a Mediterranean Garden in 10 Easy Steps

Gardening was never really my thing. Only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have known where to start or how to create a Mediterranean garden. That was until I became obsessed with Biophilic design and making the transition from inside of our home to the garden seamless.

I love making our garden an extension of our home. I see it as another room that I can decorate, style, and turn into a cozy and inviting space. Come rain or shine!

But Why Create a Mediterranean Garden?

picture of a beach and the sea, Ibiza mediterranean
Photo by Slow Ibiza

The Mediterranean is my happy place. I love the Balearic Islands and in particular, Ibiza. The white-washed buildings, sand dunes, turquoise sea, and blue skies. What’s not to love?

They provide the perfect backdrop to the dusty, graveled, and cobbled streets, olive trees providing shade, and lavender blowing in the wind. I can just imagine myself there now, lounging with a good book and a glass of something cold.

I was lucky enough to go back to Ibiza this year and I am already planning my next visit! I know you are now itching to create that Mediterranean feel in your backyard, so how do you make a Mediterranean style garden? 

Plant a Mediterranean Garden

a gravel path with lavender and rosemary on the border

Creating a Mediterranean garden is a wonderful way to bring the vibrant colors, fragrant aromas, and rustic charm of the sunny Mediterranean region into your own outdoor space.

Whether you have a sprawling lawn or a modest backyard, you can incorporate elements of this timeless style to create a tranquil and inviting garden. Follow these 10 easy Mediterranean garden ideas to help plant your own Mediterranean haven.

1. Understand the Mediterranean Climate and Plant Palette

a garden with gravel patio, DIY pergola with grapevines and rattan furniture

The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The plant palette includes drought-resistant and sun-loving plants such as lavender, rosemary, olive trees, and bougainvillea.

Begin by researching plants that thrive in your local climate while offering a Mediterranean aesthetic. Prioritize native and adapted species for sustainability.

2. Mediterranean Garden Design with Natural Materials

a garden with white gravel, a corner sofa and wood adirondacks, an egg chair and a large eucalyptus tree

Designing your Mediterranean garden layout with natural materials is crucial in capturing the essence of the region’s landscape. This approach not only ensures authenticity but also promotes environmental sustainability.

Here’s how you can effectively utilize natural materials in your garden design:

Choose Authentic Flooring Materials

  • Stone and Gravel: Use local stone for pathways, patios, and seating areas to reflect the rugged landscapes of the Mediterranean. Gravel paths, interspersed with larger stones or tiles, offer a permeable surface that complements drought-tolerant planting and reduces runoff.
  • Terracotta Tiles: For a warmer, more colorful ground cover, consider terracotta tiles. Their rich, earthy tones harmonize with the greenery and flowering plants, creating inviting walkways and patios.

Incorporate Natural Stone Features

  • Dry Stone Walls: Build low, dry-stacked stone walls to define garden areas, create raised beds, or add terracing on slopes. These structures mimic traditional Mediterranean agricultural practices and provide habitats for beneficial insects and small wildlife.
  • Boulders and Rocks: Strategically placed boulders and large rocks can add sculptural interest and a sense of permanence, evoking the natural Mediterranean terrain.

Utilize Wood in Structures

  • Pergolas and Arbors: Construct pergolas and arbors from untreated, weather-resistant wood like cedar or redwood. These structures can support climbing plants and provide shaded areas, essential for comfortable outdoor living in sunny climates.
  • Rustic Wooden Furniture: Incorporate benches, tables, and chairs crafted from natural wood to enhance the rustic, laid-back vibe. Choose simple, sturdy designs that age gracefully and blend with the garden’s natural elements.

3. Incorporate Drought-Resistant Planting

olive tree in a stone pot
You can’t go wrong with an Olive tree for your Mediterranean garden. Olive tree – Dobbies

Mediterranean gardens have the pleasure of getting a lot of sun and hot summers, so who wants to get all hot and sweaty gardening and pruning your bushes? Low-maintenance Mediterranean garden plants are easy to care for and can tolerate you forgetting to water them when your garden gets a lot of sun.

Select plants that thrive in dry conditions to ensure your garden is both beautiful and water-wise. Consider grouping plants with similar water needs together to make watering more efficient.

Low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plants include succulents, cacti, and herbs. They not only require minimal water but also add texture and aroma to your garden.

Other Mediterranean garden plants to put in pots and around your borders are –

Olive trees: well of course! Olive trees are probably the first plant that comes to mind when I think of Mediterranean garden plants. They’re best grown in pots so you can bring them indoors in the cold winter months. To be honest, I think they look just as good indoors as out.

cypress trees lining a road that winds upwards
Like a scene reminiscent of Gladiator. Cypress trees – Dobbies

Cypress Trees: brilliant for a corner of your Mediterranean garden that gets a lot of sun. They look best dotted around a path or up against your fence.

Palms: I love a palm tree. Just looking at one whisks me away to a hot tropical climate and can help me ignore the biting wind and potential frostbite from another cold winter.

Agapanthus: these are beautiful border plants with large spherical flowerheads. They can grow up to 5ft tall and love the sunshine. They will need a lot of water to begin with, but once they are established, they can be largely forgotten

Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers): I love these striking plants; we have a lot of them growing on the beach where we live. They are colorful and exotic looking and stay flowered for months so can add a lot of color to your Mediterranean garden.

Fragrant herbs: If you want that summer breeze to give you a waft of the Mediterranean, planting herbs like Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and Lavender will take your mind off those looming grey skies

4. Integrate Edible Plants

A true Mediterranean garden includes elements of sustenance, such as citrus trees, grapevines, and herb gardens (as above). Planting edibles not only provides fresh produce for your table but also connects your garden to the rich agricultural traditions of the Mediterranean.

Select a Variety of Edible Plants

  • Herbs: Mediterranean cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh herbs. Plant basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, and mint in sunny spots or containers. These herbs are not only culinary staples but also add fragrance and texture to your garden.
  • Fruit Trees: Citrus trees like lemon, orange, and fig are quintessentially Mediterranean and can be grown in the ground or in large pots. Olive trees also epitomize the Mediterranean landscape, offering both beauty and fruit.
  • Vegetables: Incorporate vegetables that thrive in warm climates, such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and zucchini. Use raised beds, borders, or even terracotta pots for growing these sun-loving edibles.

5. Use Terracotta Planters

You’ve got your olive tree ready to go and your fragrant herbs, now where to plant them? Terracotta planters of course. I think terracotta pots are symbolic when it comes to a Mediterranean Garden and you can never have too many.

They are perfect for your patio area, decking, or lined along your path. The more rustic looking, the better.

6. Add Some Succulents

a selection of brightly coloured succulents
Mediterranean garden plants – Sempervivum Mix – Amazon

Succulents are some of my favorite plants Mediterranean garden plants. Cacti and succulents are great features in your Mediterranean garden and can grow out of your rockery or around your water feature.

succulents sat on gravel in the garden
An easy way to create a Mediterranean garden. They are low maintenance and interesting to look at. I love a succulent in the garden

You can also line them up along your path or have them popping out of your stone wall. Succulents are extremely easy to grow and keep alive and are generally drought-tolerant.

They can soften the harsh lines of your garden and come in many different shapes and sizes.

7. Flowering Climbers

At this time of year, Instagram is awash with pictures of brightly colored flowering climbers on whitewashed walls. Normally somewhere around the Med and normally installing an immediate feeling of envy.

Pink Bougainvillea tends to be the product of this envy and you may be able to grow them, as long as you protect them from winter frost. This means they need to be planted in pots so that they can potentially be moved inside once November comes around.

Although, this provides a problem. How are you going to have your bougainvillea climbing up your freshly painted white garden wall if you have to keep moving them inside every winter?

Clematis is a good alternative and in particular, the “Sally” breed as it has bright pink flowers. Brightly colored geraniums are also a good alternative.

8. Establish a Low-Maintenance, Sustainable Garden

a garden with white gravel, pallets as tables, lots of plants, lavender and bougainvillea and a corner sofa
Our garden was created with gravel, pots, and planters we already had and old wood pallets to create a table

Establishing a low-maintenance, sustainable Mediterranean garden is not only a practical approach for busy gardeners but also an environmentally friendly choice that respects the natural rhythms and resources of the landscape.

Incorporate drought-tolerant species such as succulents, lavender, sage, and other Mediterranean herbs that thrive in dry conditions. Their resilience during dry spells makes them ideal for sustainable gardens.

Enrich the soil with organic matter like compost, which improves soil structure, retains moisture, and provides nutrients, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. You could also look at collecting rainwater from roofs and gutters in barrels or cisterns and use it to water your garden, reducing reliance on treated municipal water and embracing a more sustainable resource.

9. Creating a Border

a gabion wall with succulents growing out of it

Creating borders in a Mediterranean garden involves selecting plants that thrive in warm, dry conditions and offer a blend of textures, colors, and heights to define spaces and pathways.

Some ideas include;

  • Evergreen Shrubs: Plant evergreen shrubs such as bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) or myrtle (Myrtus communis) for a denser, more formal barrier. These can be trimmed to maintain a neat appearance and provide year-round greenery.
  • Gabion Walls: Fill wire cages with stones to create a modern, textural barrier that blends with the natural landscape. Plant succulents or creeping plants in the gaps for a touch of greenery.
  • Natural Fencing: Bamboo or reed fencing can be rolled out along a frame to create an instant, eco-friendly barrier. This lightweight option adds a rustic texture and is particularly suited to informal garden areas.
  • Aromatic Herb Hedges: Use Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and lavender to create fragrant, low hedges that serve as soft dividers. These herbs are not only beautiful and aromatic but also drought-resistant and low-maintenance.

10. Install a Terrace

tiered garden with terrace. dining set and lots of olive trees
Meet on the terrace for a gin. Photo by Tile Merchant Ireland

Terraces help section off parts of your garden, effectively creating a mini garden, and are perfect for hilly slopes or gardens that are on different levels. Garden terraces can also be created on balconies and rooftops.

Terrace gardens are best in south-facing spots where they get the sun all day. By adding a pergola or gazebo, you provide a bit of shade and really help zone this part of your Mediterranean garden. Add terracotta pots with olive trees and a bistro-inspired table and chair set.

Planting for a Mediterranean garden will create a space that is beautiful and fragrant and should hopefully capture the essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Centered around family, food, and a love of being outdoors, a Mediterranean garden should be simple with a deep connection to nature.

Embrace the rustic charm of this style of garden and enjoy watching your Mediterranean garden plants grow into a space you can be proud of!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

how to create a mediterranean inspired garden in 10 easy steps pinterest pin
How to create a Mediterranean garden

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