Mediterranean Landscape Design – Planning Your Outdoor Paradise

Mediterranean landscape design brings together the beautiful, lush European countryside and the relaxed, culturally rich lifestyle of small coastal villages to create an outdoor living area designed for enjoyment. This garden style is a perfect look for today’s modern California style architecture and complements Spanish, Tuscan, and other Mediterranean influenced designs as well.

A Brief History of Mediterranean Landscape Design

Gardening has seen its beginnings along the Mediterranean coast in ancient Arabia and soon spread to surrounding regions of the warm and breezy European shoreline. Throughout time, landscape design as we know it today has slowly evolved from the earliest Arabian gardens, drawing influences from Greek, Roman, and more modern Italian architecture and style.

Modern Mediterranean landscape design is as varied as the region itself. Some styles are rustic and relaxed, while others are lavish and sophisticated. With so many different styles to choose from, selecting the best design for your property can seem difficult. Consider the style and d├ęcor of your home, as well as your own personal tastes, as you look over the different types of Mediterranean garden styles commonly found in the yards of magnificent modern homes.

Spanish Mission and Spanish Colonial Revival Styles

Spanish missions were first established in southern California in the late 1700’s when the area was colonized by Spanish settlers. These missions were self-sufficient structures with extensive landscape designs including space for gardens, livestock, and outdoor living. This architectural style seen a rebirth at the turn of the 19th century and was closely followed by a renewed interest in all types of Spanish colonial structures and landscape designs.

The Santa Barbara revival style is also influenced by the Spanish mission and colonial designs. After a destructive earthquake in 1925, most of the city was rebuilt to reflect the original architectural style of the area, but on a magnificent scale with luxurious Mediterranean style homes in some of the world’s finest communities. These three styles have many similarities and are generally characterized by these attributes:

  • Simple, but elegant, structures built with stucco and adobe bricks and accented with vibrant clay roof tiles are usually the center of the estate .
  • Distinct lines and patterns, symmetrical shapes, and clearly defined unity throughout the home and garden are an important part of these Spanish Mediterranean style residences.
  • Gardens with lush vegetation, fragrant citrus trees, and serene palms are commonly seen as well.
  • Both Spanish mission and colonial revival styles also feature landscapes with elegant walkways and romantic, flower-covered arches.

Moroccan and Andalusian Garden Styles

Morocco brings vibrancy and an air of mystery to Mediterranean landscape design. Moroccan style outdoor spaces are full of color, often featuring detailed mosaic tiling and bright, lush vegetation. Accessories with Moorish influence, romantic water features, and subtle lighting are the defining elements of Moroccan gardens.

Andalusian style homes and gardens are a unique blend of simple Spanish architecture and rich, Moroccan details. Citrus trees, accented by romantic roses and fragrant, relaxing lavender, and the rustic, adobe style architecture of colonial Spanish California, detailed with colorful mosaics, are common to the Andalusian design. Both Moroccan and Andalusian style landscape designs are ideal for the sunny, Mediterranean climate of southern California.

The Romance of French Country Gardens

The influence of France brought an even more laid back appearance to Mediterranean landscape design. Flowing curves and natural beds of colorful wildflowers are significant to this outdoor style. Useful vegetation, like vegetable and herb gardens, are also common, as well as shady trees that provide fruits or nuts. Romantic and secluded garden nooks that provide comfortable seating, along with a spectacular view, are essential to French country garden designs.

The Tuscan Garden Style

Italy’s contribution to modern Mediterranean landscape design comes from the artistic, yet simple, age of Old World Tuscany. The Tuscan garden style is a popular look for recent Renaissance trends in fine architecture and is well suited to the year round coastal warmth of southern California. This luxurious garden style features:

  • Lush plant life, including aromatic herbs and graceful climbers with colorful blooms.
  • Natural, rustic materials like terra cotta and stone.
  • Peaceful water features, garden ponds, and vertical wall fountains.
  • Teak garden furniture or elegant wrought iron accessories.

Southern California is an ideal location for Mediterranean landscape design because of the inviting climate and beautifully diverse countryside. Affluent communities, like Orange County’s magnificent Irvine Ranch, are perfect examples of the luxurious possibilities of custom Mediterranean influenced outdoor spaces. A professional landscape design service can help you plan a garden that complements your home while meeting the needs of your family.