Create a Mediterranean Style with Plants and Accessories

Dreaming about your summer holidays? If you already have an established garden, you don't have to spend a fortune on a complete rebuild, you can keep the hard landscaping as it is and give it a little Mediterranean twist just by redesigning your planting scheme and adding some accessories.

Be ruthless with your existing plants

If you want to get that Mediterranean style, you will have to be a bit ruthless with your existing plants. You don't have to get rid of them all but you should think about ditching most of your cottage-style perennials and shrubs in favour of palms and grasses. There's no point in adding a palm or two and calling it Mediterranean. Since you are not redesigning the hard landscaping, you really have to go for broke with the plants.

Each of the plans below are the same in terms of hard landscaping features. In the plan on the right, the planting has been altered to a Mediterranean style - less planting, with a more architectural style and a mulch of gravel underneath.

The plants.

You should choose architectural plants and the bigger the better. Don't cram the beds with plants - give them space because, with Mediterranean planting, it's more about the shape than the flower. Good plants that will grow well in less warm climates are: Cordyline australis, Trachycarpus fortunei, Fatsia japonica, phormiums (of all colours and sizes),Festuca glauca, Carex species, and just about any other grass you can think of. For colour, choose Pelargoniums of course, Lavandula, Agapanthus and some of the bigger Hostas. Although traditionally a cottage-garden plant, you could use some of the varieties of Clematis instead of Bougainvillea.

Mulching the beds.

Since you have spread out your planting, you will find that there is more bare soil area than there used to be between the plants. To avoid weeding and to brighten things up, you could mulch the beds with gravel or cobbles.

In the image on the left, garden designer Sue Hayward has used cobbles and gravel to bring a contemporary feel to some established trees and this would work well in a Mediterranean style garden.


Accessorise your Mediterranean garden with whitewashed stone tables and chairs, pots and pots of pelargoniums and white stone plinths to complete the look. Dig out your old holidays photographs and copy some of the accessories you see there.

Brightly coloured ceramic pots look great in a Mediterranean garden as do ceramic wall pots and, if you're feeling energetic, you could even create your own mosaic.

Think about adding colour too. If you have any walls which are suitable for painting, you could whitewash them or paint them a warm terracotta.

Wooden fences can be painted with a pale stain to give them that sun-bleached look and you could jazz up your shed with a lick of paint too.

Blue features strongly in a Mediterranean garden because it makes us think of the sky and the sea, so use it wherever you can - but use it sparingly. Too much blue can be a little overpowering.

Finally, when the look is complete, pour yourself a glass of Tempranillo and enjoy!

You might also want to read...
How to Construct a Low Maintenance Gravel Garden
The first thing you should do is dig over the border to introduce air into the soil and make it easier to work. Remember, this is your last opportunity to improve your soil so, if it is heavy then add a little peat free compost to break it up a bit. You can add a general purpose granular fertilser at this stage too. When you have dug over the soil, rake it nice and even so there will be no bumps underneath the gravel. Read more

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