The Elements of Mediterranean Style

Gravel gardens recreate sun-baked landscapes, with rustic limestone or terra-cotta for pattern and decoration, while planting is informal and drought-tolerant.

Excerpted from Garden Design
  • Tall, Lean Cypress Trees Create Formal Avenue

    Avenue of Cypress Trees

    Tall, slim, elegant cypress trees create a formal avenue to frame this walkway, highlighting the gazebo as a shady focal point in this orderly garden.

  • Gaps in Limestone Create Patterns of Thyme

    Provencal Landscape

    The wide joints in the pale limestone paths create patterns and allow thyme to spread at will. Lavender provides colored accent to this muted palette.

  • Terra Cotta Bubble Fountain

    Bubble Fountain

    A tall terra-cotta pot is lined and used as a bubble fountain, perfect for a terrace feature. Water circulates from a reservoir concealed below.

  • Moroccan Courtyard with Raised Water Fountain

    Moroccan Charm

    In this courtyard inspired by North African style, lush planting forms a backdrop to the elegant tiles and raised water bowl.

  • Stone and Gravel Create Courtyard Calm

    Courtyard Calm

    Stone and gravel create flexible and functional surfaces in this small urban space, with large pots, architectural foliage plants and brightly colored seat cushions providing the main drama.

  • Reflecting Pool Bordered by Lush Foliage

    Foliage Garden

    Simple white-washed walls provide a coordinating architectural backdrop to textured planting and sculptural seating, which overlooks a reflecting pool alongside.

  • Mediterranean Courtyard

    Leafy \"Ceiling\"

    In sun-drenched gardens, shade is key. Typical Mediterranean courtyards offer seating areas under trees — such as olives, oaks, citrus, cypress or vines — planted individually or in groups.

  • Pebbles Used to Create Intricate Outdoor Walkways

    Mosaic Features

    Floor surfaces in courtyards (or on roof terraces) are created from tiny, colored cobbles laid out in intricate patterns. Glazed and brightly colored tiles are also often used to decorate walls and grottoes.

  • Rills: Narrow Garden Canals

    Adding Water

    Water is often confined to rills in more formal gardens, and used to refresh the air or to mark spatial divisions. In gravel gardens, overflowing containers or water bowls are used for reflections and gentle sound.

  • Limestone Gravel Floor Allows Plants to Grow Through

    Gravel Floor

    Limestone forms the typical gravel of the Mediterranean, creating a light, textured surface through which plants can grow. Larger boulders can be used as focal points. Landscape fabric suppresses weeds.

  • Garden Pot with Berry Plant

    Terra-Cotta Planters

    The Mediterranean is famous for the terra-cotta pots used in gardens, as focal points or as planted containers, and often old olive oil pots make sculptural features. Aim for larger sized pots where possible.

  • Italian Mosaic Moorish Pool

    Colorful Pool

    This Mediterranean garden displays a burst of color that includes a Moorish pool inlaid with a lively mosaic made from Italian glass.

  • Lavender and Purple Sage

    Country Calm

    The muted grays, purples and blue-greens typical of Mediterranean-style herb gardens create a restrained atmosphere, perfect for a contemplative retreat. Lavender and purple sage add to the serene color palette of this formal garden with a Lutyens-style garden bench.

  • Plantings Perfect for Seating Area

    Refreshing Garden

    Fresh white, lemon and green combine with a brighter pink to create an uplifting but restful planting. perfect for an intimate seating area tucked somewhere away from the house.

  • Rusting Iron Sculpture

    Weathering Art

    This rusting iron sculpture represents a flowering plant, and works well in the Mediterranean style setting. As the surface weathers, the patina will subtly change.

  • Lavender Cotton Shrub

    Fine Plant

    A mound-forming shrub with fine-textured foliage and yellow, button-like flowers, lavender cotton looks great in Mediterranean gardens and as an edging. Grow in a sunny well-drained spot.

  • Mediterranean Feel Herb Garden

    DIY Mediterranean Garden

    Use our plans and planting ideas to create your own Mediterranean-style garden room.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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