Why Consider A Mediterranean Garden?

Mediterranean gardens provide the essence of Italy and Southern France with some of the classic low-water and easy-to-maintain plants from similar climates. While still waterwise, they require more water and provide fewer environmental benefits than landscapes focused primarily on California native plants. With a bit of research and planning, it is possible to combine many favorite Mediterranean plants, including easy-to-find favorites such as lavender and rosemary, with some of the more water-tolerant California native garden favorites.


Mediterranean Climates Are Special

Although much of California has a dry climate, including our area, it’s not a desert! Technically, we live in a Mediterranean climate, defined by hot, dry summers, with almost all of our rainfall coming in the winter.

Only a few other places in the world share this weather pattern, including the Mediterranean basin and some parts of South Africa, Australia, and Chile. This is why many of the common low-water plants found in Southern California landscapes, such as lavender, rosemary, aloe, and lion’s tail, originate from these regions.


Feel Free to Mix and Match

As long as you follow the “Right Plant, Right Place” principle, you can mix and match Mediterranean-climate plants, other waterwise plants, and some California native plants that can tolerate a bit of extra water. 

Most established Mediterranean-style gardens in our area are deeply watered approximately every other week in the hot part of the year, so appropriately selected plants that are adapted to the location’s sun and drainage conditions should thrive together.

Completing the Look

Many classic Mediterranean cooking herbs, including rosemary, thyme, and oregano, thrive in our climate and can be incorporated into the landscape and harvested as desired. Thyme and oregano often do best with morning sun and a bit of afternoon shade in our hot inland climate.
Fruit trees, including fig, pomegranate, and citrus, can be integrated into Mediterranean-style gardens but require more water than the rest of the landscape to thrive. Working with drip irrigation, you can create a separate irrigation zone that provides additional water to just the fruit trees, even if they are mixed in throughout the space.
Potted plants complement the Mediterranean garden look, whether terra cotta or bold-colored glazed ceramics. Remember that potted plants require more frequent watering than the rest of the landscape, either by hand watering or through a separate drip irrigation zone.
A small recirculating water feature will use very little water, complement the look, and provide a lovely background sound to any garden space. A source of clean water is also highly valued by birds. Remember that all water features require maintenance and regular cleaning for the health of bird visitors. Use “mosquito dunks” to prevent water features from becoming mosquito habitats.

Waterwise Garden Planner

Design Your Own Mediterranean Garden

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