10 Mediterranean Garden Ideas – Plants, Decor and Cozy Settings

mediterranean garden with white gravel, blue fence, adirondack chairs and festoon lights

Painting our fence blue started the ball rolling with a complete garden overhaul, which had me going down a Mediterranean garden ideas route.

I have always loved the Mediterranean region. I was fortunate enough to live in Cyprus a few years back and although I spent most of my time drinking brandy sours and sitting in Greek tavernas, I certainly appreciated the great Mediterranean outdoors with its beautifully patterned tiled patios, white sandy beaches and shallow turquoise waters.

The deep blue tones of the sea, the aqua hues of the sky, the brightness of the stonewashed buildings in quaint little villages here and there (sorry, went off on a Groove Armada tangent there), and delightful little patios with white gravel and terracotta pots shaded under olive trees. I wish I was there right now…

Mediterranean Garden Ideas

a garden with white gravel, corner sofa, adirondack chairs, egg chair, festoon lights and lanterns hanging from a eucalyptus tree

We had created a fabulous decking area with a dining set and patterned painted tiles in our old garden but, as it was north-facing and sat behind the kitchen extension, it never got the sun. Oh no, we had given the best area of the garden where it gets the sun until late in the evening in the summer to the kid’s trampoline! Foolish!

We had a beautiful eucalyptus tree at the bottom of the garden, surrounded by a fence, which I painted in Cuprinol Iris, and decided to move our seating area to this beautiful spot. Inspired by the Mediterranean gardens I had seen on Pinterest, I set about turning this area into our own Balearics in Brighton.

We asked a local builder to give us a quote to create a new patio area over the 3m x 5m space and when he came back at £4,800 (say WHAAAAAT?) we decided to take matters into our own hands.

10 Mediterranean Garden Ideas

a garden dining table and chair set under a pergola in a mediterranean garden. There is bougainvillea growing up the pergola with olive trees in the background

A Mediterranean garden embodies the relaxed outdoor way of life characteristic of nations like France, Spain, Italy, and Morocco.

Imagine dining under the open sky, siestas on a cozy corner outdoor sofa, and socializing with friends and family on long sunny afternoons.

Mediterranean gardens are created around a hot climate, so plants that can adapt and shaded areas are important. We love to entertain and wanted a relaxed feel to our garden that wouldn’t need a lot of work or maintenance so when the sun comes out, we can just enjoy it.

Here are 10 Mediterranean garden ideas to get you started.

1. Planting a Mediterranean Garden

lavender growing around a stone path with an olive tree at the top of the hill

The backbone of a Mediterranean garden is its selection of hardy, drought-resistant Mediterranean plants that thrive in hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Plants with Foliage

lavender and rosemary in a garden
  • Lavender (Lavandula): With its fragrant purple spikes, lavender is not only beautiful but also attracts pollinators and repels pests.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): This aromatic herb forms a wonderful, low-maintenance hedge that provides year-round greenery and flowers in spring.
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine): a silver-leaved plant that provides a contrast against darker leaves.

Citrus Trees

With their glossy green leaves, fragrant blossoms, and colorful fruit, citrus trees are the epitome of the Med! The most popular citrus trees for Mediterranean gardens include lemon, orange, lime, and mandarin.

Mediterranean Trees

  • Eucalyptus Trees: It was our eucalyptus tree that started our Mediterranean garden design. Their leaves are usually long, narrow, and leathery, often hanging downwards to minimize water loss. Eucalyptus trees are adapted to a variety of climates, but they thrive in well-drained soils and sunny environments.
  • Olive Trees (Olea europaea): Symbolic of the Mediterranean landscape, olive trees offer silvery foliage and gnarled trunks that add character and charm.
  • Cypress Trees: These evergreen trees, with their dark green foliage and tall, upright growth habit, bring structure, height, and an air of solemnity to gardens.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add a soft, flowing element to the Mediterranean garden, their slender leaves and feathery plumes dancing gracefully with every breeze take me right back to lazy days by the sea. The most popular varieties include;

  • Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca). Stands out with its compact, icy blue clumps that provide year-round color. We have this in our garden and it is an extremely low-maintenance plant.
  • Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis). Offers height, feathery blooms, and a golden hue in autumn.
  • Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum). Known for its graceful, arching clumps and feathery, bottlebrush-like plumes

Vines

a garden dining table and chair set under a pergola in a mediterranean garden. There is bougainvillea growing up the pergola with olive trees in the background
I don’t think there is anything more Mediterranean than the sight of bougainvillea growing up a whitewashed wall, or on a pergola

Bougainvillea is probably the most famous of vine plants, with its riotous display of colorful bracts in shades of pink, red, orange, and purple. It is a standout choice, thriving in the full sun and heat typical of Mediterranean climates.

Jasmine has delicate white or yellow flowers and an intoxicating fragrance that enhances the garden’s sensory experience. Another classic Mediterranean plant, grapevines, can offer shade and are a great choice if you have a pergola. The fruits can be used for eating, juice, or winemaking.

With its cascading clusters of fragrant, lilac-blue flowers, wisteria is a stunning choice for pergolas and archways, adding height and romance, and is a firm favorite on social media!

Flowering Mediterranean Plants

hibiscus and agapanthus plants in terracotta pots in a garden with a stone wall

Here’s a list of flowering Mediterranean plants that can bring vibrant colors, textures, and fragrances to your garden:

  • Agapanthus (Agapanthus spp.): Often called African Lily, agapanthus displays striking globes of blue or white flowers atop tall, slender stems.
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander): With its lush foliage and clusters of pink, red, or white flowers, oleander is a popular choice for adding color and privacy.
  • Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.): While not native to the Mediterranean, many hibiscus varieties thrive in similar climates, offering large, showy flowers in a variety of colors.
  • Geranium (Pelargonium spp.): These hardy plants come in a variety of colors and are perfect for pots, borders, and hanging baskets.
  • Gazania: This sun-loving plant produces large, daisy-like flowers in brilliant colors, which open in full sunlight.

2. Create a Gravel Garden

white gravel in a garden with adirondack chairs and terracotta pots
It was extremely easy to lay the Cotswold chippings and instantly brightened up this corner of our garden

This was one of the first things we did when designing our garden. Gravel gardens are quintessentially Mediterranean, reflecting the region’s dry terrain. They’re low maintenance and provide an excellent backdrop for your drought-resistant plants.

Use different sizes and shades of gravel to add texture and contrast. Intersperse with larger stones or boulders for a more natural look.

We bought Cotswolds chippings 20mm from Gravelmaster.co.uk (£198 for membrane and shingle to cover an area of 4m x 5m) and I love how it looks against the blue fence. It is extremely bright and gives an almost beach-like feel.

3. Incorporate Water Features

The sound of water brings a cooling, tranquil ambiance to the garden, evoking the feel of a Mediterranean courtyard. Options include:

  • Tiered Fountains: A classic choice that adds vertical interest and the soothing sound of cascading water.
  • Reflecting Pools: Simple and elegant, these can double as bird baths, bringing wildlife into your garden.
  • Misters: Misters can help in creating beneficial microclimates within the garden, offering relief to heat-sensitive plants and extending the range of species that can thrive in your Mediterranean haven.

4. Use Terracotta Pots and Planters

flowers in terracotta pots on a stone path in a rustic style garden

Terracotta’s warm, earthy tones are synonymous with Mediterranean gardens. Use pots of various sizes for herbs, citrus trees, and succulents. Group them for impact, or use large statement pots as focal points.

One of the most cherished qualities of terracotta is the way it ages. Over time, the surfaces of these pots develop a weathered look which enhances the rustic charm of a Mediterranean garden.

5. Incorporate Mosaic and Tile Work

a pallet table painted blue with mosaic tiles on top. There is a eucalyptus tree in the background with cosy seating
My DIY pallet table

Mosaics and tiles, especially in hues of blue, white, and terracotta, add color and artistry. Consider:

  • Decorative Pathways: Use pebbles and tiles to create intricate designs.
  • Wall Accents: A mosaic wall feature can become a stunning focal point.
  • Paving slabs: You could paint your paving slabs with mosaic patterns, which contrast nicely with a graveled patio.
  • Tiles: We added tiles to an old pallet to create a unique coffee table for our garden. You can read more about my garden pallet table here.
a small patio garden with white washed walls, and tiled flooring and seating area with lots of plants

If you have a small patio garden or courtyard, why not go all in and add mosaic tiles across the floor and over some steps to create a seating area? Whitewash your walls so that the mosaic tiles are the star of the show and add lots of patterned cushions, wall-potted plants, and Mediterranean style plants in terracotta pots.

6. Opt for Rattan or Rustic, Wrought Iron Furniture

Spending time outdoors eating and socializing is a huge part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, so your choice of furniture is hugely important. From bistro sets to a hammock, here are some furniture ideas;

  • Wrought iron tables and chairs, painted or left in their natural rustic state, are perfect for reading the paper or enjoying a cold drink.
  • An old rustic bench against a wall with a trellis behind it intertwined with bougainvillea is perfect for small Mediterranean gardens.
  • For a softer, more natural look, rustic wooden furniture made from materials like teak, cedar, or reclaimed wood complements the Mediterranean landscape beautifully.
  • Rattan or wicker furniture with cushions creates a comfortable corner to relax in or for long leisurely dinners. Place them under trees or a pergola with vines growing up them for shade.
  • French-style bistro sets with a wrought iron and glass table (see above).
  • Don’t forget to add cushions in vibrant Mediterranean blues, greens, and yellows for comfort and color.

7. Pergolas, Arbors, and Garden Decor that Creates Shade

a pergola built on the side of a house with grapevines and rattan furniture

Pergolas draped with climbing plants such as bougainvillea or grapevines not only provide shade but also create an intimate outdoor living area. They are versatile and can be customized to fit any garden size or style, from grand, expansive frameworks draped with vines to simple, rustic retreats nestled in a corner.

Arbors, often smaller than pergolas, consist of an arched framework with lattice sides, serving as welcoming entry points or transitions between different garden areas.

They can mark the entrance to a garden, frame a pathway, highlight a focal point, and have climbing flowers and greenery grown on them to help integrate them into the garden design.

Another way to help with garden shade is to add parasols, large umbrellas, or sails. These can be standalone, come with garden tables and dining sets, or be hung from walls on the side of your house to give cover for meal times.

8. Garden Lighting

lighting and a fire pit on white gravel on a mediterranean inspired garden

Soft, ambient garden lighting extends the enjoyment of your Mediterranean garden into the evening. Lanterns, whether hung from trees or placed on tables, add a warm glow. Solar-powered LED lights woven through trellises or along paths can create a magical atmosphere.

For a truly authentic Mediterranean experience, incorporate candlelight and fire features into your garden design.

a fireplace in a garden with stone patio and seating

Candles in hurricane lanterns or terracotta pots can be placed on tables or along steps, offering a flickering, natural light that enhances the sense of intimacy and warmth.

Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces not only provide light and heat but also become a central gathering spot for socializing and relaxation.

When integrating lighting into your Mediterranean garden ideas, consider the overall design and how each light source contributes to the desired atmosphere. Lighting should serve to unify the space, drawing attention to the garden’s best features while offering practical illumination for evening enjoyment.

9. Mediterranean Fence and Garden Walls

a fence painted blue in a mediterranean inspired garden

In a Mediterranean-inspired garden, fences and garden walls are integral elements that define the space, provide privacy, and contribute to the overall charm and should not be overlooked.

There are many ways you can incorporate your fence or walls into the overall garden design;

Whitewashed Walls: Evocative of the Greek islands or coastal Spanish villages, whitewashed walls not only reflect the bright Mediterranean sun but also serve as a stunning backdrop for vibrant plantings.

Stone Walls: Rustic stone walls, whether constructed from local stone or designed to mimic the appearance of ancient ruins, blend seamlessly into the natural landscape. Planting pockets within the walls for herbs or succulents can add life and color.

Wrought Iron Fencing: Wrought iron fences with intricate designs offer an elegant solution that also offers security. They can be custom-designed with motifs reminiscent of the Mediterranean, such as grapevines, olive branches, or sun patterns.

Trellised Fences: Incorporating trellises into fencing provides support for climbing plants, turning a simple boundary into a living wall of greenery and blooms. Jasmine, bougainvillea, and climbing roses can transform fences into fragrant, colorful features that enhance the garden’s romantic ambiance.

Hedges and Living Walls: For a softer, more natural boundary, consider planting hedges of aromatic herbs like rosemary and lavender or evergreens like bay laurel.

Paint your Fence: We used blue fence paint which provided a wonderful backdrop to our trees and white graveled patio. Sage green and olive are more subtle and sophisticated ideas that can help make small spaces feel larger.

10. A Pizza Oven

a pizza oven built out of bricks with flowers and shrubbery growing around it

OK, it might just be a glorified BBQ area but I would love to have a pizza oven in our garden.

Integrating a pizza oven into a Mediterranean-inspired garden not only enhances your outdoor space but also adds a charming and authentic element reminiscent of the Mediterranean lifestyle, where food and outdoor living are celebrated.

Here’s how to seamlessly blend a pizza oven into your Mediterranean garden:

Choose the Right Location: Position the pizza oven close to your outdoor dining or seating area for convenience and to encourage social interaction while cooking. Also, think about the sun’s path; a location that benefits from afternoon or evening shade can make the cooking experience more pleasant.

Select the Style and Materials: Opt for materials that echo Mediterranean design, such as terracotta, brick, or stone. A traditional, dome-shaped pizza oven is a classic shape and will blend harmoniously with the rustic and earthy tones of the garden.

11. Mediterranean Garden Ornaments

bamboo wind chime hanging from a pergola
A DIY bamboo wind chime. Purchase one here

Mediterranean garden ornaments can add character, charm, and a touch of whimsy to your outdoor space, reflecting the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the Mediterranean region. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Classic Statues: Incorporate classical statues depicting gods, goddesses, or mythological figures to add a sense of history and elegance.
  • Antique Urns: Weathered or antique urns can serve as standalone decorative elements or be used to house cascading plants.
  • Hanging Lanterns: Wrought iron lanterns, whether hanging from trees or pergolas, can illuminate pathways and seating areas with a warm glow.
  • Sun Dials and Stone Spheres: These timeless pieces add an element of intrigue and rustic charm to garden spaces.
  • Ceramic Wind Chimes: Wind chimes made from ceramic or terracotta add a gentle, melodic sound, enhancing the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Metallic Accents: Bronze or copper suns, moons, and stars can be hung from trees or pergolas, catching the light and adding a celestial touch.
  • Anchors and Marine Artifacts: Given the Mediterranean’s connection to the sea, nautical-themed ornaments like anchors, ropes, and marine artifacts can be subtly integrated into the garden design.

Implementing Your Mediterranean Garden

a patio area with rattan chairs and a pergola with grapevine growing on it

Planning Your Space: Start with a clear plan. Consider the sunlight, soil type, and drainage of your space. Mediterranean plants thrive in well-drained soil and full sun.

Soil Preparation: Amend your soil with compost and sand to improve drainage if necessary. Mediterranean plants generally prefer leaner soil, so avoid over-fertilizing.

Watering Wisely: While Mediterranean gardens are designed to be low-water, establishing plants may require regular watering until they’re well-established. Consider installing a drip irrigation system for efficient water use.

Regular Pruning: Pruning is essential to maintain the shape and health of Mediterranean plants. Olive trees, for example, benefit from an open canopy to allow light and air circulation.

Seasonal Care: While Mediterranean gardens are relatively low maintenance, they’re not no maintenance. Keep an eye on your plants for signs of stress during extreme weather, and be prepared to offer some extra water during prolonged dry spells.

Creating a Mediterranean garden is not just about designing a landscape and incorporating plants, it is also about the furniture choice, placement, and little added extras such as water fountains and ornaments.

Whether you’re sipping a morning coffee under an olive tree or hosting a twilight dinner surrounded by the glow of lanterns, a Mediterranean garden offers a timeless setting for relaxation and connection.

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.

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17 Comments

  1. Oh hi as u know I adore your home . One of my favourite accounts but aren’t there so many beautiful homes and gardens . Your friend Theresa garden and home is so stunning too . And I adore lisa loves vintage too . My grey place the list goes on …
    Anyhow so glad u have done this I have run out of room lol .
    I am in the middle of ripping up decking and love Alice in scandiland pebbles but expensive. Asked on house talk about what to put down and had advice these stones can discolour but u won’t know yet . I love what u have done and so quickly !! These things cost a fortune but I am lucky to have a plum tree , pear tree, lavender , budlia down the area I am doing . It makes sence u doing this change and the children will be cooler bouncing in the shade they will keep heat from physical exercise. I have the edge of decking still and a metal frame still there anyhow what I am asking are u happy with the stones ?? We have a local company here that fo them . How do u maintain them ? Also thank u for the blog on this it’s helped with my ideas .

    1. Hi Olivia
      Sorry it’s taken so long to reply! We’ve had the stones down for 2 weeks now and so far so good. We’ve had really high winds and heavy rain and they still look fresh, but like you said, we haven’t had them that long yet.

      We paid £198 for the cotswold stones and membrane for a 4m x 5m area which I think is extremely good value compared to the other quotes we were getting. We absolutely love the look of these stones, they’re extremely bright and reflect the heat wonderfully so this area is always warm. I also love the crunching sound when you walk over them as it really feels like you are on a beach. I’d highly recommend them and so pleased we did it 🙂

  2. Hey Melanie, the Mediterranean inspired garden is something that would make a lot of sense in my backyard. The pizza oven is a subtle addition to the garden over the common barbecue area. I sure look forward to seeing your garden finished. The Cuprinol iris blue fence looks very enthralling.

    1. Hi Donnie

      Thank you for your message! We definitely want to add a pizza oven in time and the whole space is slowly coming together. I can’t believe how much difference the Iris blue paint has made to our fence and our garden! It’s a fabulous backdrop.

      Mel 🙂

  3. I really love the use of succulents and pots for this design. Funnily enough I have that exact hanging chair so I could almost exactly recreate the look you have here!

    1. I find succulents much easier to look after when they’re outside! They’re supposed to be so easy to take care of but I always kill my house ones! Probably because I don’t water them, ever! Mel 🙂

  4. Such a nice blog on the Mediterranean inspired garden.It provides us true and insightful information regarding the topic. So, anyone searching for same topic may find their shelter over here. This is a great article and you are banged on with your points about. Come across Expertturf.co.nz and hope you can visit this too to get more information.

  5. hello,
    what a nice place, good job !
    Could you tell me where have you found the brasero ? it’s perfect !
    Thanx

  6. Thank you for this collection of ideas! Just starting to tackle our Southern Californian backyard and try to FINALLY give it some style…our jacuzzi has a blue mediterranean tile surround, so I’m using that for the theme/inspiration. It’ll take me a while, but your article gives me some great ideas on where to start 🙂

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