With the UK travel traffic light system firmly in place, many people are not willing to take the risk of travelling afar. So what can you do when you crave a summer escape, without the hassle of tests, airport queues and quarantine?
For the solution you need look no further than your own back garden. With our summers turning warmer, and lasting longer into early autumn, it’s time to take inspiration from the French, Spanish and Italian coastline. Transforming your garden into a Mediterranean paradise that evokes memories of favourite destinations is the ideal way to get a taste of holiday at home.
Here are just a few ideas for how to do it….
1. Mediterranean plants
Introducing a few Mediterranean favourites will soon have you feeling like you’re relaxing on the Riviera. The quintessentially Mediterranean olive tree with it’s gnarled trunk and silvery leaves will give instant impact. As will cypress trees for their evergreen foliage and striking vertical form. Lavender and rosemary not only provide scent, but the small blue flowers are a firm favourite with bees. Exotic palms provide even more visual interest. While most of these plants have the additional benefit of tolerating hot dry summers, they might need a little extra protection over winter.
2. Paths and paving
Using hard landscaping in the form of paths and paving will provide the backbone to your design. You can use them to section your garden into separate spaces, as well as to provide texture and colour that acts as a foil to your planting. Paving could come in the form of a natural sandstone or weathered limestone to give a traditional, timeworn appearance. Gravel is also a low maintenance garden option that can give instant Med appeal. For eye catching designs introduce Mosaic tiles and patterns throughout.
3. Add potted plants
Golden gravel makes a great pathway, and can also be carefully placed around your Mediterranean plants in pots to enhance the look and reflect colour when hit by sunlight. Choose bright coloured, patterned and the traditional terracotta pots then scatter them around areas of your garden, and line them next to your path so the plants can overlap the gravel to soften the edges.
4. Create natural shade with a pergola
A rustic Pergola draped in colourful climbing plants such as jasmine or an ornamental grape vine, would be a perfect Mediterranean focal point. It also provides much needed shade during the heat of the midday sun for meals outside or taking an afternoon siesta. Or if you would prefer to hear the soothing sound of trickling water then the traditional pouring bowls water feature is a good choice.
5. Dine outside
No Mediterranean garden is complete without a dining area to entertain guests with a feast and free flowing sangria. If you have enough space then an outdoor kitchen is wonderfully convenient and practical. It means that there will be no need to leave your guests to collect another bottle or plate, as your garden will hold everything you need. If you want a real wow factor add a pizza oven. After all, who doesn’t like a fresh, crisp and delicious stone-baked pizza..?
6. Just add sunshine!
A Mediterranean garden definitely gives that holiday at home feel. Now all we need to do is hope and wish for sunshine!
If you’re inspired to create your own Mediterranean garden at home and would like help with the landscaping and planting please get in touch with Thames Valley Landscapes.