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There is nothing better to give you the feel of the Mediterranean than dry, arid, rock gardens.
Rock gardens planted with exotic and architectural plants can really export you to another land! What better way to enjoy a Mediterranean holiday than in your very own backyard.
If planned and implemented correctly, rock gardens can actually make your garden warmer! By absorbing the suns warmth patios and rock gardens can form their very own microclimate.
This can allow you to grow more exotic plants and create a stunning miniature Mediterranean landscape. Here I will list 15 amazing Mediterranean rock garden ideas to get you started.
Collectively these will give you everything you need to make the perfect Mediterranean rock garden this summer!
Selecting you site
When creating any Mediterranean or arid themed garden selecting your site is very important.
The most important factor is sunlight! Sunlight will provide you all the light and warmth your garden will need to thrive. The best Mediterranean rock gardens utilise surrounding buildings and structures to form microclimates.
The best example of this is a south facing building or wall. This will help to shelter your garden from bad weather while also creating a heat trap.
Creating a gravel garden
Creating a garden with gravel surfaces will make you feel like you are in a dry arid region. This is particularly the case when planted with architectural, Mediterranean, plants.
Gravel gives you advantage of blurring the lines between paving and planting beds. The gravel will also benefit the effects of the local micro-climate.
Light coloured gravel will help to reflect the suns light and warm up in the heat of the day. This effect is perfect for really making you believe you are in another country!
Dry river beds
A dry river bed theme for a Mediterranean rock garden is always very effective. Implementing the subtle movement of river flow into the design can be visually very effective.
The meandering shapes can allow you to position your rocks and gravels in very convincing arrangements. Different sized rocks and gravels can be laid out in a naturalistic and flowing way.
Why not consider a dry river gravel bed theme to your rock garden?
The most believable Mediterranean rock gardens are those which look as natural as possible. The most important element in achieving this is positioning your rocks.
This is a lot more difficult than many people think! It is ironic that what should be the most natural of features takes positioning and planning.
Most of the time however, it does, try to use rocks of varying sizes for a more natural look.
A really effective way to boost micro climate and make your garden flow is by integrating paving. This could a deconstructed edge to your patio where slabs seem to break up into gravel.
Or, you could create a stepping stone journey from your patio through a gravel or desert garden. A Mediterranean rock garden is also a great feature to landscape around a patio.
The patio will help to exacerbate microclimate and the rock garden will provide visual interest for guests.
A fantastic way to solidify your Mediterranean rock garden theme is to use terracotta pots. Terracotta pots have been used in the Mediterranean for thousands of years.
These can be used to create patio planting arrangements bordering your rock garden. Alternatively pots can be sunken into the ground around rocks and gravel.
This feeds into the idea of a lost civilisation or an ancient, historical landscape full of artefacts.
Self binding gravel
It is very typical for Mediterranean rock gardens to be surfaced with loose gravels. This provides a rustic, Mediterranean, feel and great dry mulch for arid borders.
However, self binging gravel can act as an effective alternative to traditional gravels. Self binding gravel is a mixture of rushed rock, sand and clay which compacts into a solid surface.
Binding gravel with natural tones of red, orange and yellow can be very effective surfaces around rocks and boulders.
If you really want to set off your rock garden why not grow some palms? Palm trees really add authenticity to Mediterranean gardens and look amazing.
You do not have to plant large palm tree specimens; there are many dwarf species perfect for a garden scale.
There are also a variety of palm like plants like Yucca gloriosa and Mahonia, perfect for Mediterranean gardens.
Create a dining experience
The great thing about Mediterranean themed gardens is they are not just about aesthetics. A well designed Mediterranean garden should immerse you in Mediterranean culture.
This means lots of time spent outside at the table with friends and family. Consequently one of the most inclusive ideas for a rock garden design is a dining area.
This could be a conventional patio or gravel seating area surrounded with Mediterranean planting.
Dry stone walls
Dry stone walls are a typical feature of Mediterranean regions and styled gardens. This is because most of the Med is covered with this free and contextual building material.
You may or may not find it as easy or affordable to implement them into your own garden. However, the effect they can create is truly fantastic.
If you are on a budget you may consider cladding concrete block walls with natural stone.
Succulents are a type of plant which are especially adapted to dry and exposed regions of the word. These plants have amazing, fleshy and spiny foliage very much like cacti.
This makes succulents perfect for Mediterranean rock gardens and desert planting schemes. Depending on where you live you may need to take some succulents in over winter.
Why not visit our article on how to create a succulent garden outside here.
Install up lighters
If you have had any experience with the Mediterranean you will know it never sleeps.
This is especially so during weekends when everyone takes advantage of free time and cool evenings. It is no surprise that garden and public landscaping is always well illuminated!
Why not implement some simple up lighters to your Mediterranean rock garden? These can be the perfect way to appreciate your rustic surfaces and architectural planting at night!
Gabions are very much a modern idea when it comes to garden landscaping. Essentially gabions are rigid, rectangular, metal cages which can be filled with rocks.
When used as a building block, gabions can create beautiful structures within the landscape. Rocks can be faced at the front of gabions similarly to dry stone walls.
These are a great feature to implement into a Mediterranean rock garden with a contemporary feel.
Raised beds are a great way to add some height to Mediterranean rock gardens. Not only can they help to raise up planting displays they can increase drainage.
This is much more favourable for Mediterranean plants which do not like saturated roots. Raised beds can also be a great way to create enclosure and boost microclimates.
The best raised beds in Mediterranean are those built with natural stone.
Ultimately the best arid themed rock garden idea is to plant Mediterranean plants. These will bring life to your project and be the icing on the cake for hard landscaping.
Incorporating Mediterranean ground covers and succulents around rocks can be so effective! At the same time palms and other architectural plants will give a real arid climate feel.
Thank you for visiting our article on Mediterranean rock garden ideas.
If you require a Mediterranean garden designer or builder do not hesitate to contact us.
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