The garden is one of the places that should encourage us to relax and take it easy, and it's often a place where we can create the holiday vibe at home. Mediterranean garden ideas have always been popular, embracing fragrant plants, and vibrant colours in our garden ideas. However, over the last two years, we've seen this garden trend surge as we look to evoke a relaxed garden scheme perfect for unwinding.
Stannah’s gardening expert and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Mark Lane explains: 'The great thing about this style of garden is that texture and colour play a big part. Think about holidays to warmer climates and try to replicate this in your garden, while always taking note of the growing conditions.'
What is a Mediterranean garden style?
Take inspiration from places across the Mediterranean to achieve the look. The south of France is renowned for its lavender, while Spain and the Balearic islands are infamous for palms and vibrant colour. Deep azure blue shades are reminders of beautiful homes on the Greek islands.
'Mediterranean gardens are known for their warm and inviting atmosphere, with a focus on natural materials, earthy colours, and lush greenery,' explains John Dempsey at Housetastic.co.uk. For planting, lavender and fragrant herbs like rosemary are key for the traditional Mediterranean style, while olive trees and palms will make a stunning focal point in your garden.
If you want to feel as if you've stepped out into sunnier climes when you're in the garden, these Mediterranean garden ideas will give you the inspiration to brighten up your outdoor space.
1. Pick warm summery accessories
For a quick and easy way to inject Mediterranean style into your outdoor space, update your scheme with cushions, throws and even an outdoor rug in warming shades for an easy garden idea. Think mustards, terracottas and roses, and incorporate textured accessories like woven lanterns and pouffes.
To help keep cool on warmer days and provide shade, why not hang a sail shade above seating that can easily be taken down when not needed?
2. Create a shaded area with screening
Give your pergola ideas or garden structure a Mediterranean makeover by adding a roof made from willow or reeded screening and pick relaxed wicker-style seating.
'Reeded screening is a great way to add a touch of Mediterranean style to your garden pergola,' says John. 'It provides both shade from the summer rays and privacy from prying eyes, while also creating a breezy and airy feel. When combined with climbing plants such as bougainvillaea or jasmine, it can create a beautiful and lush outdoor retreat.'
3. Plant palm trees
Nothing quite says Mediterranean style than palm trees, their frilly leaves help to create dappled shade especially handy above a seating area.
'If you’re planting a palm, be sure the ground is well-draining and choose a hardy variety such as Trachycarpus fortune,' advises Fiona Jenkins at Myjobquote.co.uk. 'However, palms can grow quite large, so if your space is compact go for Chamaerops humilis, a dwarf fan palm.'
4. Introduce relaxed seating areas
Create interest in your garden by dividing it up into zones to be enjoyed at different times of the day. Lay a path leading off to a secluded garden seating idea surrounded by plenty of tropical plants and fragrant herbs, where a relaxed seating area can provide the perfect retreat away from it all.
'A Mediterranean-style garden is all about relaxation and enjoying the outdoors,' says John. 'A comfortable seating area is essential, whether it's a built-in bench, a chaise lounge, or a comfortable sofa.' To make navigating pathways at night easier, pop a few solar-powered lights along the paving edge to create a subtle glow.
5. Set up a cosy dining spot
A key component to a Mediterranean-style garden is making sure there's an outdoor dining area. Nothing quite beats eating outdoors on warm summer nights.
'A rustic wooden table, surrounded by mismatched chairs or a built-in bench, is the perfect set up for enjoying a meal with friends and family,' advises John. 'Add string lights overhead for a magical ambiance, and use colourful tableware and linens to create a festive atmosphere.'
6. Plant an olive tree for a focal point
Olive trees are synonymous with holidays in the Med, from Spain and Greece to Italy and work well in large terracotta pots or when planted in the ground as a focal point in the garden.
'Olive trees are a classic feature of Mediterranean gardens, with their silvery-green leaves and gnarled trunks,' says John. 'They are easy to grow in containers and can add a touch of sophistication to any outdoor space.' For a welcoming front garden idea, plant a couple of small olive trees in terracotta pots by your front door.
7. Add a lavender border
One of summer's most fragrant and bee-friendly plants, lavender is hugely popular in planting schemes. Transport yourself to the south of France with a fragrant lavender garden border, ideally near a seating area where you can enjoy the scent.
'A colour theme of terracotta, stone, white and muted darker greens conjure up the Mediterranean,' says Lucy Ferguson, founder of East London Parasol Company. 'Bushy, woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender and sage are fragrant and evergreen, so your garden will be beautiful and evocatively scented all year.'
Mix rosemary plants among the border too, for a beautiful combination of fragrances to enjoy throughout the summer.
8. Set up an outdoor bar
Adding some outdoor bar ideas to your garden will up the Mediterranean feel and is perfect for entertaining. Build your own and cover it with willow screening for classic holiday style. Alternatively, you can buy outdoor bars in kit form that can easily be put together in a weekend.
If space is tight, create a folding bar using an old pallet attached by hinges to a wall with legs made from treated timber. That way you can fold it back up when it's not in use.
9. Paint a wall a vibrant shade
An easy way to inject Mediterranean style is with colour and simply painting a wall or fencing in a vibrant shade makes an instant impact.
'The Mediterranean coastline offers a whole heap of inspiration when it comes to colour and pattern,' says Shelley Cochrane, accessories buyer at Furniture Village. 'A painted fence or wall in azure blue will make the perfect backdrop for a transformative outdoor space, with added pops of lemon yellow and greenery to make the look feel authentic.'
Team with terracotta pots filled with Mediterranean-style plants to add warmth to the vibrant blue shade.
10. Add a pizza oven
Key to any Mediterranean garden scheme is somewhere to cook. Creating an outdoor kitchen close to a dining area, helps to create a relaxed and sociable space.
The best pizza ovens are versatile pieces of kit, that are not only for cooking pizza, they can slow-cook meat and even cook steaks. Alternatively, if you're a keen cook, set up a dedicated outdoor kitchen with a fridge, sink, barbecue and prep area, so you can still socialise with guests while preparing food.
How can I make my garden look Mediterranean?
There are a number of ways to add Mediterranean-style to your garden scheme.
'Use plenty of warm, earthy tones to make your garden look and feel Mediterranean,' says Fiona Jenkins at Myjobquote.co.uk. 'Rustic stone and terracotta pots, water features and sculptures work well, as does honey limestone paving. Add Mediterranean-style patterned tiles to tabletops and walls. And top your borders with decorative gravel and intersperse with pebbles.'
What do you put in a Mediterranean garden?
One way to give a garden Mediterranean style is by focusing on the planting. 'Use easy-to-grow scrambling plants to fill gaps in walls, borders, pots and containers, such as Erigeron karvinskianus, Calfornian poppies and display pots filled with Pelargonium and herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and fennel,' says Mark Lane. 'Scent, colour and texture will delight in this style of garden and the pollinators will love you for it in return.'
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Amy Hodge has been working on interiors magazines for over 11 years. She's a freelance writer and sub editor who has worked for some of the UK's leading interiors magazines including Ideal Home, Style at Home and Country Homes & Interiors. She started at Style at Home just after it launched as food editor and is now chief sub editor for Ideal Home, Style at Home and Country Homes & Interiors.
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