Creating a Mediterranean Patio

Finding brightly colored plants for a Mediterranean look is not a problem — garden centers are packed with them — but knowing which ones to choose and how to combine them can be tricky.

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Water Features

Don't just concentrate on pots and structures: add a fun, water-filled container or a fountain. A large water feature in full sun, in a relatively bare setting, becomes an immediate "walk-over-and-dip-your-fingers-in" attraction. Alternatively, tuck one away among potted evergreens that provide mini hideaways and shade, and you might just acquire a resident frog. The range of suitable containers varies from wooden barrels to specially built, knee-high cast stone or concrete ponds decorated with ornamental tiles. Wall fountains add plenty of splash. You could opt for a solar fountain, which will send up a small jet of water, but it will not be as powerful or eye-catching as one powered by an electric pump. When choosing aquatic plants, check their eventual spread to avoid overcrowding.

Color Palette

Start by choosing your star plants, concentrating on those that provide a long show of color, and making sure you won’t have bare summer periods. Go for the tried and tested, like pelargoniums, dahlias and verbenas, and try out some of the many specially bred new selections. Pick these tender plants in the bright, hot colors seen in traditional Mediterranean courtyard gardens. Evergreens with shapely leaves are possibly more important than flowers because they keep the garden alive in winter. Place them strategically around the patio so that the eye moves from one to the next. Keep rearranging and trying out new combinations. The big advantage of pot-plant gardening is that everything is mobile; you don’t have to dig anything up.

Planting Choices

Coreopsis (Image 1)
Dahlia (Image 2)
Pelargonium (Image 3)
pink Verbena

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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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