If your Mediterranean holiday looks uncertain this summer, why not create a Mediterranean garden so you can enjoy long, sunny days and hot, balmy nights at home – weather permitting of course.

Enjoy a Mediterranean garden with beautiful flower pots and potted plants.

Those with fast-draining or sandy soil may be in an ideal spot to create their own Mediterranean haven, going with gravel, tiles or paving to make a courtyard-style space rather than focusing on a water-guzzling lawn.


Tackle unruly hedges with a petrol hedge trimmer to ensure a polished overall look and to avoid any overgrown hedging from crowding your new Mediterranean garden. 

How to create a Mediterranean garden

So, how can you get that Mediterranean feel?

1. Use terracotta planters

Use terracotta to create a Mediterranean feel
Use terracotta to create a Mediterranean feel (Guy Harrop/RHS/PA)

Think bright pink or red trailing geraniums tumbling over old terracotta or stone pots, or if you’ve limited space, attach some smaller terracotta planters to a south-facing wall and fill them with trailing drought-lovers which won’t need endless watering.

Alternatively, make a feature out of huge Grecian urns strategically placed in borders or as stand-alone features at the end of walkways or in the centre of small courtyards.

Plunge pots into gravel to encourage them to root
Plunge pots into gravel to encourage them to root (Thinkstock/PA)

Permanent planters in the Mediterranean garden can also save you time, whether it be agapanthus or hardy evergreen herbs. If you situate them on gravel, plunge the base of each container a few centimetres into the gravel, which will encourage plants to root through into the soil underneath as well as keeping your pot stable.

Consider citrus if you have room to house it in winter
Consider citrus if you have room to house it in winter (Thinkstock/PA)

If you have space – and somewhere to house them in winter, such as a conservatory – consider growing a pot of citrus such as lemons, to add a Mediterranean feel and scent.

Pink bougainvillea
Bougainvillea adds colour to the scene (Thinkstock/PA)

You can grow dazzling bougainvillea in containers and bring it outside every summer, from early June to late September, then move it to a frost-free conservatory for winter.

Biscottini Terracotta vase 40x40x30 cm | Terracotta pots large Made in Italy | Large floor vases |...
  • ARTISAN VASE - Handcrafted with Tuscan clay, the terracotta plant pot is a quality product that adapts to outdoor and indoor environments of all kinds and styles
  • ARTISAN VASE - Handcrafted with Tuscan clay, the terracotta plant pot is a quality product that adapts to outdoor and indoor environments of all kinds and styles
  • REALIZATION - The making and cooking of our large terracotta pots follow the old Tuscan traditions. Made by skilled craftsmen in the processing of fine raw materials

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Consider gravel or cool tiles

Think about gravel as a base
Think about gravel as a base (Neil Hepworth/RHS/PA)

Gravel gardens are commonplace in the Mediterranean and in this country the gravel surface acts as a permanent mulch which will help prevent seed seedlings and conserves moisture.

Choose a sunny, sheltered spot and prepare the soil, raking it level and then spreading 5cm (2in) gravel over the surface.

Plant sparingly – don’t smother the gravel surface with plants. They can be placed here and there and perhaps embellished with stone or terracotta planters or an old wooden or stone bench.

Avoid thirsty plants
Avoid thirsty plants (Mark Bolton/RHS/PA)

Avoid bedding plants which are too thirsty. Instead, grow exotic-looking shrubs such as phormium and olearia or grasses with silvery leaves, as well as ground cover such as sedum and thyme.

3. Incorporate water

Nicely landscaped courtyard area, with pots, tile and reflecting pond
Water has a cooling effect (Thinkstock/PA)

Water creates cool relief in hot countries and can be used not only to provide movement, but also reflective value. Stone fountains are a big feature of many Mediterranean gardens but at home, consider your surroundings.

Use of tiles and water is common in Mediterranean gardens
Use of tiles and water is common in Mediterranean gardens (Thinkstok/PA)

If you have plenty of room, you might go for an ornate tiered structure, providing a cool cascade of water which you can run your hands through. With less space you might go for still water in a terracotta storage jar or a lined stone trough.

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Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Create shade

Any Mediterranean garden worth its salt should offer shade during the heat of the day. Consider how you are going to achieve that naturally. Perhaps grow climbers that love heat, such as grapevine and trumpet vine, over a pergola with traditional seating underneath.

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Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Use drought-tolerant plants

Rock roses are great for sunny spots
Rock roses are great for sunny spots (Tim Sandall/RHS/PA)

Peter Jones, garden manager for Hardy Ornamental (which include the Mediterranean terraces at RHS Garden Wisley) suggests cistus (rock rose), a lovely family of shrubs ideal for a hot sunny position, which will form mounds of green foliage and a profusion of simple flowers, from whites to deep pink.

Other great plants which will thrive in long hot summers include lavender, while for architectural value consider Cupressus sempervirens (Pencil Cypress) one of the archetypal Mediterranean trees, which grows to produce a tall slender green pillar of evergreen interest, perfect for that Med look.

Use plants like bougainvillea and fig in pots
Use plants like bougainvillea and fig in pots (Mark Bolton/RHS/PA)

Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe myrtle), which is rarely grown in the UK but quite suited to our climate, is a multi stemmed shrub/small tree with beautiful bark and glossy green foliage producing a profusion of crepe paper like flowers in colours from light pink to deep burgundy.

Another alternative is the pomegranate tree (Punica granatum), which originated in the region extending from modern day Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to northern India, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region.

This architectural small tree can make a fun alternative to an olive, with larger specimens having very characterful form.

Palms add an exotic touch
Palms add an exotic touch (Georgi Mabee/RHS/PA)

Palms such as Trachycarpus fortunei also add that touch of Riviera glamour.

6. Don’t forget succulents

Sempervivums are terrific succulents
Sempervivums are terrific succulents (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Cacti and succulents are regular features in the Mediterranean garden, growing out of old stone walls and rockwork. If you have a gravel gap between your house and your paving, a strip of sempervivums or other succulents will soften the line beautifully.

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Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Use simple décor

Rustic furniture suits Mediterranean gardens
Rustic furniture suits Mediterranean gardens (Thinkstock/PA)

Once you are surrounded by terracotta and old stone or tile landscaping, you don’t really want contemporary, shiny furniture. Choose simple wooden benches or seats which will weather with age, to fit with the look.

And grow herbs such as thyme and oregano near seating areas, which will smell delicious as well as add to the flavour of the food you serve your guests.

Read more: How to conserve water in the garden – 11 water-recycling tips for your plot.

Best-selling terracotta planters

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling terracotta planters on Amazon.

Bestseller No. 1
Thirtypot 20CM Terracotta Succulent Planter Pot with Drainage Hole and Bamboo Tray, Round Shallow...
  • Quality Material: The terra cotta succulent planter made of natural clay. Clay can maintain good ventilation and drainage, can keep plants good breathing. Natural clay can reduce the transmission of...
  • Drainage Hole and Bamboo Tray: The round planter pot has hole in the bottom for good drainage, the bamboo tray can collect excess water and keep the room clean. The pots for succulents with drainage...
  • Ideal decoration: The shallow planters for succulents with beautiful white round wheel pattern, which is very suitable for decorating the room. This 8 inch bonsai planter pot is suitable for many...
Bestseller No. 2
XL Large English Garden Square Terracotta Pot Planter (22cm (W22xH22))
  • Extra-large traditional terracotta pot in 4 sizes, 22cm, 29cm, 37cm and 47cm
  • Highest quality, premium terracotta is fired at an optimum temperature for a strong, frost proof finish. Comes with drainage holes.
  • A classic, English garden design adds charm to any garden space, perfect for planting trees and decorative flower arrangements
SaleBestseller No. 3
Sass & Belle Terracotta Trough Planter
  • Collection: Bohemian Home
  • Dimensions: L21 x W8 x H8 cm
  • Material: Terracotta
Bestseller No. 4
FabFinds Garden Esquire Trough Planter Terracotta Style Plant Pot (2X Large)
  • Elegant garden essential esquire through planter is perfect for creating row display of blooming flowers or corps.
  • Our through planter is made of durable and strong plastic.
  • Terracotta through planter is attractive and will be ideal for your garden, patio or decks.
SaleBestseller No. 5
MPS 6 x Terracotta Brown Trio Stacking Planter Strawberry Flower Herb Stackable Garden Plant Pot...
  • UK Made / Manufactured from durable plastic
  • Ideal for making full use of small space gardens / Great for planting strawberries, flowers, herbs etc
  • These 6 pots will create 6 levels with 18 potting spaces

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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