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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

06 Jan 2018

Garden Design Styles Explained

When we are talking about design, style is the way that we combine plants, colors, trends and materials in a way that is pleasing. While some style trends do not last long, others sometimes mark the beginning of major phases in garden design. These phases all have what they are known for.

 For formal design inspired by classical style, the order, design and repetition are used to create a balance that is pleasing to the eye, also balanced by space. Classic garden design style has been around for a long time and sometimes it is used for modern gardens too. By comparison, Modernist approach to garden design for small gardens is quite hassle-free and unorganized. 

The Modern style also changes regularly to find new ways to make design more interesting and in tune with the environment. Generally, formal design tries to use regular patterns while modernism makes use of the unexpected to make design decisions. What many designers do today for garden design for small gardens is use Modernist ideas to develop a simple garden design. This helps them to achieve garden design for small gardens that are clean, beautiful and well-arranged.

 External Influences in Garden design styles

 Garden styles sometimes are inspired by cultural and historical perspectives when developing them. The purpose is to make a beautiful depiction of real life, not exactly the same as the reference point where the theme came from. In like manner, a simple garden design of the original cottage garden has changed so much from what it used to be to a modernized and highly adapted version.

 Changes in lifestyle and design methods have also changed how a simple garden design is done. Because people travel more, they now tend to bring in ideas from other places and demand more exotic plants than those normally used. Garden design for small gardens where exotic plants are introduced also allow planning of microclimates that are conducive to a wider range of garden plants. Also, there is more emphasis today on using environmentally friendly gardening options that do not negatively impact wildlife or plants.

Garden design styles

Functional space 

In the past, a functional garden has been an important part of garden history, known for providing food for the family. Nowadays, more people see to eat healthily and so, they try to produce fruits and vegetables from their home gardens. Gardens today serve a wider range of functions like leisure, hosting social events, as a resting place and a shelter from daily struggles. The garden design for small gardens, therefore, puts more factors into play in order to meet many functions.

The way ahead

As population rows with time, the modern garden is finding itself having to do more with less space. Decades ago, you are more likely to find gardens that span a one-acre plot. Nowadays, there’s so little space for gardens in the city that sometimes all you have is a balcony or roof terrace for a few plants. This means that simple garden design has to be even more creative in bringing greenery to small spaces. Because the space to experiment and express design ideas is no longer there, new styles are being developed to add form and function to gardens.  

Man-made garden areas now have more personality and can reflex the owner’s unique temperament or theme. Conceptualist designers are now creating designs that are revolutionary. New garden design styles, even though seemingly abstract still put cultural influences into consideration as well as the prevalent society.

What we however see now is lots of innovation, more possibilities and ways of expression through garden design, even scenarios were gardens are used as an art form in architecture. This signals the evolution of garden design to a mercurial and socially conscious profession.

Also read:  Vertical Garden Design Styles


10 Sep 2017

How to Integrate Sculpture into a Garden Design

You don’t need to limit your choice of garden sculpture to what is provided by your local garden center. You can use any of several objects that can act as sculpture when placed in a garden. They include pieces of discarded machinery, rounded boulders, driftwood and lovely shaped ceramic vases. You just need to be creative with them. Position the sculptures in a place where they will blend well with the rest of the garden.Choosing

Sculpture for a Garden Design

Your emotional response is key to selecting sculpture for a garden design. You might love abstract shapes if your garden is modern in design. But woodland and wildflower gardens are awesome for contemporary gardens. You might even go for a blend between the two. You could mix classical pieces with a modern layout. For cottage, gardens, beehive, domestic animals and rusty farm equipment will make good sculptures.

sculture garden design landscape architect

How to Position Sculpture in a Landscape Design

Look for the best position for a garden art and integrate the position into your design. There are some pieces that work fine when they are surrounded by plants while others go well with reflective water. Intricately designed sculptures will fit well with a plain backdrop like a clipped yaw hedge or a rendered wall. Simple solid figures could be placed against a haze of lavender. Natural stone, weathered timber and other matt surfaces will be perfect for polished metals. Matt surfaces can also be a good background for smaller sculptures.

sculture garden position water design landscape architect

The Importance of Proportion and Scale in Garden design

Every sculpture should be positioned in a place where its effect will be felt best. If you place a small piece in a large area, it will look lost and its effect won’t be felt. Small ornaments can be placed next to solid pieces like a large vase, a boulder and a hunk of driftwood. Decorative objects and plaques should be fitted into alcoves in walls and they should be raised to head heights on plinths. Plastic garbage cans and piles of cardboard boxes can help to visualize how sculptures can fit into any setting.