Mediterranean gardens offer such an inviting environment that many homeowners would like to recreate one in their home landscaping. Once relegated to only areas of the country, like California, that experienced the same hot dry summers and wet winters of the Mediterranean region, the gardens are gaining popularity in locations as far north as Washington and east into Texas. By supplementing the soil to create better drainage and selecting plants more tolerant of the local climate, many milder locations can have a Mediterranean garden as part of the landscape.
What Is a Mediterranean Garden
A Mediterranean garden is more than a collection a plants, shrubs and trees associated with the Mediterranean climate and planted among gravel, small stones, wood bark or bare dirt. The garden should be awash with bright, rich colours and plenty of tile, stone and terracotta, in various styles. The garden can be fully formal or semi formal and usually will have a water feature and include an outdoor living space of tables, chairs or benches.
A Mediterranean garden, whether modelled after gardens in Spain, Italy, southern France or Greece, is meant to be lived in and enjoyed. Every Mediterranean garden design should include the elements of warmth, light, simplicity and relaxation. Mediterranean gardens have existed for centuries and modern gardens must evoke the flavour of ancient times by keeping with natural, earthy materials and colours, with splashes of colour from plants and tiles. Depending on the size and terrain of the area, a Mediterranean garden can be tiered or raised or follow the natural flow of the ground. They do not generally contain any lawn area but have gravel, bark or ground cover type plants.
Hardy, drought-tolerate vegetation that goes dormant in the heat of the summer and has no tolerance for frost are typical plants for a Mediterranean garden. Perennial herbs like lavender, rosemary, thyme and oregano add aroma, as do citrus trees and jasmine. Trees can help create shade--typical varieties include olive, bay, palms and oleanders. Terracotta pots can be filled with topiary, geraniums, small trees, natural grasses and other plants for colour.