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21 Jan 2018

TYPES OF GARDENS: Mediterranean Garden

There are two garden types associated with Mediterranean regions. They are formal and informal gardens.

Informal gardens utilize gravel and their planting is structured in structural masses and groups. Informal gardens get their inspiration from the arid regions of Spain and Southern Italy and the less arid South of France with its shrubby vegetation or maquis.

In these regions, rosemary, citrus fruits, lavender, olive, grasses, succulents and vines grow well.  They have muted white colors and they incorporate purple-blues and soft sage-gray greens. Gravel is used to create pathways and it is also used between areas of planting. The gravel has drift of plants that appear intermittently with arrangements of boulders and rocks. A dry stream bed can be recreated with clusters of drought resistant, informally arranged plants.

Mediterranean Garden design

For urban spaces, terra-cotta is used along with mosaic tiles or features to add splashes of color.

The walls of these gardens are usually white-washed with clear backdrops for shadows. Hues are usually bold where paint is used. Rustic containers bring in colorful paintings at key points and they can also be used as focal features. The rustic containers can also be arranged in informal groups containing various sizes.

The formal Mediterranean gardens feature stone and water along with specimen trees like tall, slender cypresses and clipped hedges. In some Mediterranean gardens found in Southern Italy and Spain, there is a visible Moorish influence that can be observed. The Moorish influence can be seen in the water features and the courtyards of the Alhambra and Spain’s Generalife. The formal Mediterranean garden design style usually features a decorative parterre planting. In the formal Mediterranean garden style, plants are majorly used because of their foliage rather than the color of their flowers. Cool shade is provided by planting dense trees like Quercus ilex (holm oak).

The Mediterranean Garden Design Style

Mediterranean gardens became popular as a result of the fact that tourists that vacationed in the Mediterranean region wanted a garden that reflected the style of the region. The region features warm, dry summers and mild winters that favor select groups of plants. These plants include succulents, vines, herbs, lavender and olive trees all combined in a unique style. The plants are usually low-growing and hardy. The plants are often natural looking with a background of textured surfaces like scree and gravel. The trees in the Mediterranean garden provide shade and water is barely utilized by landscape designers in this garden. The Mediterranean atmosphere can be recreated in any outdoor space. Roof terraces, decorative courtyards and big sheltered pots can be used.


Formal paving is not used to define pathways in Mediterranean gardens. Gravel is used across the entire space and it is used as mulch for planted areas and also as hard landscaping. The Mediterranean garden is unified this way. Plants can be grouped informally and smaller areas of paving can be left to provide stable seating surfaces. Arbors and pergolas are used for shades and they can be matched with vines and other climbers to further boost the appeal of the Mediterranean look in the garden. This also creates a nice seating arena where meals can be shared. Trees can also be planted individually in major locations or in groves for patterned shades.

Water is sparingly used in these gardens. It is hardly used for large pools. Water is majorly used as a focal point or to create sounds. Water can also be used as bubbling fountains or decorative rills in courtyard gardens to recreate the effect of Moorish gardens in Southern Italy and Spain. Terra-cotta pots give the gardens splashes of pink and vivid red while colorful mosaics and tiles give the garden vibrant patterns.


Pools and Rills

In Mediterranean garden designs, garden designers confine water to rills. Water is used to mark spatial divisions and refresh the air. There are water bowls and overflowing containers in gravel gardens that are used for gentle sound and reflections.

Shady Seating Areas

In the sun-drenched Mediterranean gardens, shade is highly important. Shade can be provided by trees planted in groups or individually. Arbors with climbers and timber pergolas provide nice outdoor shades.

Terra-Cotta Tiles and Pots

Mediterranean gardens usually have terra-cotta pots. These pots are used as planting containers or focal points in the garden. Old olive oil pots are also nice sculptural features. Larger sized pots can also be used where possible.

Mediterranean Garden - Terra-Cotta Tiles and Pots

Mosaic Features

Little, colored bubbles laid out in intricate patterns are also used to make the floor surfaces on roof terraces and courtyards.

Gravel Floor

Gravels in Mediterranean gardens usually consist of limestone. The limestones create a textured, light surface through which plants can grow. Focal points can be created using large boulders. The landscape fabric below suppresses weeds.

Silver Foliage and Succulents

Various species have adapted to drought by using silver, fleshy and fine foliage. Lavender and Rosemary are the most popular choices. Bergenia, Agave, Yucca, Genista and Euphorbia are also used.

Also read: TYPES OF GARDENS: Formal Garden. As for the lavender plant used very often in the Mediterranean gardens: Garden design and plants: Lavender will add a luxuriant touch and scent to your garden next spring

16 Sep 2017

How to Select Materials in Garden Design 

The flowers and shrubs you plant is not the only the thing that defines a garden. Garden design also involves things like the selection of the right surfaces, structures, boundaries, shape and texture of hard materials. Various materials have their own movement, color and shape. These all work together to attract people and form their perception of the garden. Materials that fit well with the landscape of the house will be more pleasing to the eye.

When making your choices, you need to consider the view of the landscape from your home. Do you want to make large areas of the hard landscaping look softer by mixing in various materials like wood with crushed shells or gravel with slate? Paths that are used heavily must be solid while you can use stepping stones, bark or gravel to make secondary walkways. If you use the same material for patios and paths, you get continuity. A change along the pathway will indicate that one is at a new section of the garden.

If you want to draw people forwards or invite them to explore sideways, you can lay materials lengthwise or widthways. Obscured paths will invite them to go exploring.

Open screens and apertures will invite them to check out what lay beyond, while solid screens and walls will shut out the vista. When creating a garden design, you should also ensure that every furniture used matches the style of the garden. The sitting arrangements must also be considered. You can’t put a large dining table in a small patio. If you do so, the patio will look choked up. You need to build a patio big enough to accommodate any furniture you use. Any piece of timber you use should have the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo to show that the wood comes from sustainable forests.

A lot of gardens have spots for water features as well as artworks. Outdoor heating can be added but the environment must be considered. All lighting must be installed by competent electricians. All solar lighting must be accessible to sunlight.

Mixture of Materials for Landscape Design

Various materials, levels and textures can be used in landscape design to create an array of effects in decking and paving designs. Various materials can be used to showcase major features and to separate and define areas of a garden. An example is a raised wooden deck over stone-tiled floors. Complementary colors should be used for a smooth blend. To avoid higher costs and extra work, use pre-sized coordinating materials. When using a different foundation and when working with materials that have various thicknesses, complicated building techniques will need to be used.

decking material garden landscape architect

Planting Opportunities for Landscape Design

When squeezed into crevices and joints, plants add texture and color. Select plants that are drought resistant, can withstand trampling and produce a nice scent when they are crushed. When combining plants and paving, think about joints carefully. A solid foundation could contaminate the soil and affect the plants negatively.

PLANTING OPPORTUNITIES garden landscape architect

Drainage Related Problems

For water to be collected or drain, every surface needs to slope. Gravel surfaces laid on soil that is rich in clay might need extra drainage. All rainwater that runs away from buildings must be collected at collection points like gullies. You can direct water from small paving areas into planting beds.

Patios That Are Slightly Sloping

Slopes should be created away from a building towards a collection point. Patios made up of rougher materials will slope more steeply than smooth ones.

Paths That Are Cambered

Paths can be created to allow water run off on the two sides. The water can then be drained into planting beds or collected in channels.

solutions for DRAINAGE ISSUES garden landscape architect B

EDGING IDEAS garden landscape architect design

Materials for Boundaries and Screens

The look of a garden is affected by boundary and wall features and the materials used to create them. Formerly all boundaries were built from local materials like brick, hedging, timber and stone but today, they can be made from so many materials. Garden design can utilize metal screens, smooth rendering and reinforced concrete. Those that share boundaries with others might find their choices limited, But, you could customize your garden boundary as you wish. It could be dominant or subtle. You can use your own texture, color, material and shape.

Boundaries made from rendered walls, stone or brick can enclose spaces and form a framework around your garden. These boundaries require a solid foundation and professional construction skills. They could also be quite expensive.

It’s best you don’t change the colors of brick walls and stones. You can select from expensive stone blocks to random rubbles which all come in various shapes and sizes. You can use artificial materials like concrete to create unlimited opportunities in terms of shape and color creating fluid structures and clean lines.

WALLS AND SOLID SCREENS, garden design, landscape architect

Trellis and fencing

Metal and timber fences do not need heavy building materials or strong strip foundations. This makes them cheaper and easier to build. A lot of them are made from strips of material and you can have a fence made from a combination of these lines. When selecting a design, you must take care that the design of the fence matches with the design of the garden.  You can just copy the original design of the fence to avoid complicating things or messing things up. But if you want to use a new design, you can still do so. You just need to create nice patterns using various shapes, widths and lengths of timber. For areas that are exposed, you can leave gaps in the fence to allow the wind to pass through the fence.

Effective Windbreaks

Solid screens won’t allow any wind to pass through them and create turbulence. A trellis or other perforated screens can be used to solve the issue.

fencing, garden design, landscape architect

Apertures and Gates in your garden

Boundaries and screens enclose space and create barriers that curb views and movements. These barriers can be interspersed with gates, doorways, windows and other openings that allow for access to other parts of the garden. They can also make the garden beautiful and should not be seen as just openings. When working on a landscape design, use materials that complement each other and consider how these openings can serve as frames for views and vistas. You must also design gates and doors that look attractive regardless of whether they are closed or open.

APERTURES, garden design, landscape architect

Also read: How to Integrate Sculpture into a Garden.

20 Aug 2017


How do you want to do in your new garden?

A garden is an extension of your home and as such, should be a place where you can retire to get during your free time. When considering what to do with the garden space, or how to set it up to serve the family both now an in the future, bearing in mind that there can only be little changes that you can make as it grows and matures. Consider the yardman roles, hat you intend to use the garden for. Do you want a place where your children can play? Or you want a peaceful, quite environment you can retire to after a day’s work? Or you want a place that is entertaining? Whatever you choose, note that your family will grow and that their needs for the garden will change. Also note that it is difficult to make significant changes to garden after it must have established and matured. The best you can do is to come up with a flexible concept now that it is still in the formative stage so they can be easily adapted as time goes on. A few requirements might suggest the construction of separate and possibly hidden segment within the same yard.

garden design butterfly


Sometimes, gardens are thought of as rooms and you can guarantee its continuity by installing features like planters, canopies, painted walls, screens, stylish furniture, etc. just like the interior, you could use the open air room to host and entertain visitors and still have room for your kids to play after school.


A lot of benefits are brought on by planting, especially when the plants begin to grow and change with seasons. There is always something fresh to be seen almost every week, particularly the textures and colors. There is also the possibility that the plants will attract butterflies, bees and birds which are capable of bringing borers to life.


People who are usually very busy, but still want a garden can design it such that it looks lovely and more importantly, easy to maintain. The ideal concept should be simple and pleasing layout capable of allowing the owners have a nice rest while enjoying the view.

How do you want to feel in your garden?

Gardens can stimulate emotions. People respond to the surroundings. You can choose the design approach you want for your garden. You may decide to go for very active colors, with exciting features and textural diversity capable of raising one’s spirit or you could choose to make it a place for therapy and healing, where you can get peaceful, quiet environment to reflect on the things that are most important to you. If you are lucky enough to have a vast expanse of land to be used as a garden, then you can easily demarcate the garden with tall trees; each demarcation being for a different mood. Establishing a garden is an opportunity to make use of different layouts to enhance the atmosphere, distributing spaces and paths, decoration and lighting, etc. the tone is also influenced by foliage, fragrance, shape and color. All these put together, or a combination of some of them can help set the mood you want your garden to have.

ideas for your new garden


Gardens ought to be private and unchallenging and should be filled with therapeutic, culinary and medicinal plants like herbs that have goo smell and nice fruits. They help to create a more relaxed, restorative and reassuring environment.


Delicate scents, simple flowing shapes, cool colors, and limited use of materials and planting can create a peaceful quiet mood in your garden. You can enhance the uncluttered spaces with the help of simple focal elements, specially selected lighting and waterfalls.

What will your garden look like?

Anyone willing to change their garden can gain a wealth of inspiration from websites, television programs, books, magazines, plant nurseries, garden visits, etc that we will make available. You must understand that you do not have to collect and combine all designs into your garden space, you are to review and edit a variety of ideas with the aim of developing a coherent overall outlook for your garden irrespective of whether you are starting or revamping a mature plot.

What will your garden look like


You can make your garden a setting for your favorite plant or you could make it a horticultural extravaganza. Work towards clearing the general concept in terms of structure, texture and color because these gardens are seasonal and continually change.


You could also make use of bold-leaved plants to create a sort of exotic, lush and enclosed garden with a subtropical nature. Go for plants that are supported by the soil and climate and will not grow too big for the garden as time passes.


Vacations for most people last only a fortnight. You can make yours last forever. All you have to do is recreate what you see on your travels in your home. For instance, you could make use window boxes with Ivy League geraniums to recreate a southern France feel.

The best approach is to know exactly what you want to achieve or the look you are trying to pull. Get the right elements, plants, materials and features and skillfully put them together to get what you want. To get it right, you can create short notes, sketch ideas, collect pictures etc before you even start. Below are some starting points for you to consider. Some are modern while others are traditional, quirky and or imaginative. Try them all to ascertain the one that best suits you.


A tranquil setting, illustrated by a coherent layout, subtle lighting, simple shape and straight lines can create a comfy space to relax after a stressful day at work. Manage your plants and make sure you do not use conflicting materials.


Ensure you do not make use of more than 3 complementary materials and a muted color palette, but you can get really creative with them. You can infuse a dynamic quality to a pared-down design by adding a large dramatic water feature or sculpture.


This may be better for show-gardens or provisional installations. They may be quirky but they still call for artistic flair and confidence to successfully pull them. They may not be suitable for retiring or the shy however; they can really be fun while they last.



Small gardens do not need attention for more than two to three times in a week, but a garden that has plenty pots will need to be watered daily in hot weather. Bigger gardens with mixed borders, different plants, lawns and a rapidly growing areas will need more time.

 When thinking of your design and future maintenance, you really have to consider the time you can afford to spend on your garden daily, weekly and monthly.

 Except the garden is very simple with evergreen planting and hard landscaping, the list of task changes per season with reduced work during the cold season.

Pruning, lawn mowing, hedge trimming, sowing and transplanting vegetables, plant propagation, ongoing cultivation and many others take place in a bigger garden that has lawns,  fruit trees, vegetable plot, flower borders. Summer and spring seasons are always very busy in gardens like this.

 You might want this kind of garden but you need to be factual about the time you am spend to keep your garden in good shape. It is an exciting thing to work in your garden and see positive results but you need to plan to maintain it and draw a budget in case need arises.

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