Gardening was never really my thing. Only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have known where to start when it came to creating 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 where I can decorate, style and turn it into a cosy and inviting space. Come rain or shine!
But why a Mediterranean garden?
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, gravelled 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 back yard, so here are my top tips on how to create a Mediterranean Garden.
Keep it simple
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 to your bushes?
Low maintenance plants are easy to care for in your Mediterranean garden and can tolerate you forgetting to water them when (ok, I live in the UK, if…) your garden gets a lot of sun.
Ideal 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 the Mediterranean.
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 – 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 frost bite from another lacklustre UK summer.
- 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 watering 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 colourful and exotic looking and stay flowered for months so can add a lot of colour to your Mediterranean garden.
- Fragrant herbs – 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
You’ve got your olive tree ready to go and your fragrant herbs, now where to plant it? 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.
Gravel and Tiles
If you’ve got an area that is shaded, or doesn’t get a lot of sun, think about gravelling it with an interesting stone path weaving through.
This is extremely easy to create and low maintenance, as long as you install a thick weed membrane to begin with.
Patterned tiles are also a good choice when creating a Mediterranean garden and are hugely popular at the moment.
You could designate a seating or dining area and buy porcelain tiles with bold mosaic patterns. Try to incorporate blue and white in the pattern for a striking and stylish space.
A rockery is the perfect solution to border your gravel area or path and can be the perfect place to grow herbs, succulents and different types of grasses. You could even incorporate a gentle water feature.
Add a water feature
Which leads me onto water! It doesn’t have to be a swimming pool (although, that is the dream!) You could add a small fountain or table water feature.
Haven’t got room for a pond or fountain? Maybe look at installing an upright water sculpture. Whatever you do, find space for it. The sound of trickling water whilst sat in your garden is good for the soul.
Paint it White. Or Blue
Got a wall? Paint it white. Got a fence? Paint it blue.
White walls are fantastic at bouncing the light around your garden and give them a clean, crisp look.
It provides a dreamy backdrop for all those palms and grasses you’re going to plant and provides a brilliant contrast when combined with blue.
If you don’t want to paint all of your fence’s blue (we did in our last house and absolutely loved them! The dark blue was such an amazing backdrop for all of our plants), maybe just paint the gate or shed blue.
It will immediately transport you to the Mediterranean.
Add some succulents
Succulents are some of my favourite plants. Cacti and succulents are great features in your Mediterranean garden and can grow out of your rockery or around your water feature.
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.
Install a terrace
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.
Go Al Fresco
What is a Mediterranean garden without a place to eat outside? Al fresco dining is probably one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about hot, lazy days in the Med.
Choose a rustic wooden dining set or rattan style table and chairs that will look better as they age.
They are the perfect place to eat your feta cheese salad, washed down with a glass of white wine with family and friends.
At this time of year, Instagram is awash with pictures of brightly coloured flowering climbers on whitewashed walls. Normally somewhere around the Med and normally installing an immediate feeling of envy.
Pink Bougainvillea tend to be the product of this envy and you can grow them in the UK. You just need to protect them from the harsh 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 coloured geraniums are also a good alternative.
Excitingly, we are beginning our garden renovation next week. At the moment, it resembles a scrap metal yard after it was completely ripped up and levelled when we did our kitchen extension.
We are having decking laid first, then we can start landscaping and zoning the rest of the garden.
I shall definitely be using all the above tips in our new garden plans.