Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:44 PM EDT
As the saying goes, opposites attract. Perhaps this is why, as a dweller north of the 49th parallel, I’m attracted to sun-kissed, Mediterranean-style gardens — about as different from our own backyards as it gets
. There is something about pea gravel pathways, fragrant olive groves, rows of lavender and shaded loggias surrounded by terracotta pots, that never fails to move me. Via Design Tripper's "Rehab Report": Casa Civita, in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy; via Design Tripper's "Stay": Podere Palazzo, in Tuscany, Italy.
Of course, it’s not impossible to achieve this style
in the Great White North. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to live in the British Columbia interior, achieving a Mediterranean style
garden would be quite easy, what with the arid climate and dry, hot summer days. For the rest of us, adding in some decor elements typically found in the South of France or middle of Italy can go a long way towards making your Northern backyard a Mediterranean escape. MOOD BOARD: Mediterranean-style Garden Mood Board by Emma Reddington Materials
Establishing a warm, sun-faded palette is the first step, and the simplest, in creating the illusion of a Mediterranean garden: burnt sienna mixed with saffron yellow and natural linens immediately sets the right mood. Ground the garden, and create a good backdrop for the other elements, with gravel or stone pathways, or small areas laid with encaustic tiles. As surrounds, use terracotta pots filled with edible herbs like mint, rosemary and lavender. Further enhance the effect with soft furnishing, like pillows on benches, breezy curtains, and upholstered seat cushions in outdoor fabrics made to look like natural linen.
If you can find a spot in your garden to create a shaded seating area, ideally covered by a pergola with a lush vine growing over top (or Wisteria!), then you are well on your way to the Mediterranean illusion. Cover your dining table with a table cloth of French Provencal fabric and serve fresh, simple food inspired by the cuisines of Southern France and Tuscany (Italy).
If you’re willing to go a little bit further, you could consider a water feature with the addition of a small fountain or pool to the garden. The relaxing sound of gurgling water will go a long way in transporting you to your Mediterranean escape — well-earned.