Paradise in Your Backyard: Garden Design Tips from the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean has been a treasure trove of garden designs for hundreds of years. Beautiful, luxurious, and pragmatic, the style of the region developed out of the dizzying diversity of Mediterranean history.

Despite its antiquity and exotic provenance, however, the Mediterranean-style garden design has today found a place in parks and backyards throughout the world.

Designing a Mediterranean-Style Garden

Countless landscape artists and amateur gardeners have successfully replicated the style in varying climates and terrain.  You can, too!

If you’ve been thinking about transforming your garden in this style, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Despite its antiquity and exotic provenance, the Mediterranean-style garden has today found a place neighborhoods throughout the world.
Despite its antiquity and exotic provenance, the Mediterranean-style garden has today found a place neighborhoods throughout the world.

Go for fragrance and color.

Think flamboyant flowers in terracotta pots and lush, trailing climbers tumbling over walls. A Mediterranean garden should smell good, too. Pick plants for the richness of their fragrance as well as their vibrant colors.

Pick plants for the richness of their fragrance as well as their vibrant colors.
Pick plants for the richness of their fragrance as well as their vibrant colors.

The classic choices include olive trees, cacti, succulents, citrus, rosemary, and bougainvillea.  If you have clay soil, you can improve it by adding organic matter and horticultural grit for drainage.

The classic choices for a Mediterranean-style garden include olive trees, cacti, succulents, citrus, rosemary, and bougainvillea.
The classic choices for a Mediterranean-style garden include olive trees, cacti, succulents, citrus, rosemary, and bougainvillea. 

Shade is essential.

Shade is an integral part of the Mediterranean garden. If you have space, a pergola draped in climbing plants would be an excellent touch.

If you have space, a pergola draped with climbing plants would be an excellent touch.
If you have space, a pergola draped with climbing plants would be an excellent touch.

If space is limited, consider a smaller archway or even just some high fencing to evoke the Mediterranean look. Make sure to train climbing greenery over these structures, too.

If space is limited, consider a smaller archway or even just some high fencing to evoke the Mediterranean look.
If space is limited, consider a smaller archway or even just some high fencing to evoke the Mediterranean look.

Use tiles rather than turf.

Mediterranean design styles forego lawns in favor of gravel and paving stones, which make them perfect for smaller spaces.  Chose warm-colored paving stones in pink and red hues, or gravel and natural stone styles, says horticulturist and TV personality, David Domoney.

Mediterranean design styles forego lawns in favor of gravel and paving stones, which make them perfect for smaller spaces.
Mediterranean design styles forego lawns in favor of gravel and paving stones, which make them perfect for smaller spaces.

Without a lawn, you may feel like there is a lot of empty space. You can divide your garden into sections using pathways lined with plants and herbs. Mosaics add a beautiful and authentic extra touch.

Mosaics add a beautiful and authentic extra touch.
Mosaics add a beautiful and authentic extra touch.

Add your own finishing touches!

Given its origins, the Mediterranean style should lend itself particularly well in places where winters are wet and summers are hot and dry. California and parts of Southern and Western Australia come to mind.

But that does not mean you can’t design a Mediterranean-style garden of your own if you live elsewhere in the world. It just means that you are free to improvise, be creative, and add a personal touch to your backyard paradise.

Mediterranean gardens are all about laid-back outdoor living.
Mediterranean gardens are all about laid-back outdoor living.

Wrought iron outdoor furniture will create an open-air dining area. Install lounges and you’ll transform boring turf into a luxurious open-air living room or cocktail corner.

Mediterranean gardens are all about laid-back outdoor living: lingering over alfresco meals with friends and family, taking a refreshing siesta, and delighting the senses with heady scents and colors.

Like all gardens, they are there for you to enjoy.

Close Menu
Close Panel