Bring the charm and style of the Mediterranean to your garden wall.

Ideas for a Mediterranean Garden Wall

by Mackenzie Wright

The classic style and warmth of the Mediterranean is something you can capture in your own backyard. If you have a wall that you feel is bland at best or an eyesore at worst, you have all the canvas you need to create a corner in your garden dripping with old world charm. The right combination of colors, elements and plants can combine to display a Mediterranean garden wall.

1. Wall Finishes

Prep your canvas for its Mediterranean style. One way accomplish this is to paint your garden wall a gleaming white to bounce light into the area and act as a blank canvas for your decor and greenery. Alternatively, paint it a terracotta color to bring in the warm, neutral tones of the rustic European homes. Use faux paint techniques like sponging or ragging for a weathered or patina look. If you have a rustic stone wall, simply tuck a little moss into the cracks here and there for an Old World look.

2. Water Feature

A water feature adds the refreshing atmosphere of the Mediterranean to your garden. A lion's head wall fountain makes a stately, traditional focal point for a garden wall. For a more formal look, go with a tiered wall fountain with a tile background. Another option is a patina water faucet trickling into a tall urn or shallow, small pool at the base of the wall. You don't need to have plumbing installed in the wall; use a self-contained fountain kit, fill the fountain with hose, and let the water recycle. If you have young children, don't allow them access to the fountain without supervision.

3. Containers

Containers made of natural clay or that look like stone are ideal for Mediterranean-style garden decor. Many garden supply stores sell resin containers that look just like real stone, but are only a fraction of the weight and cost. Choose containers shaped like urns, jugs, jars or inverted bell-shaped pots. Even if you'll be planting in the soil around the wall, consider adding a grouping of lovely containers to catch the eye. If you don't have soil to plant right up against the garden wall, line up rows of trough containers. Stagger their height with bricks, so they'll get higher as they get closer to the wall. This will give the illusion of tiered retaining walls found in Mediterranean gardens.

4. Plants

Add finishing touches to your Mediterranean garden wall will plants. If you live in one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, consider a dwarf olive tree such as the ornamental evergreen, "Little Ollie" (Olea europa "Little Ollie") or the olive producing, yet container-sized arbequina tree (Olive europa). If you desire a more showy plant, consider the ajania (Ajania pacifica) with its bold yellow clumps of blossoms, hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, or the bold purple winter-blooming Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis), hardy in USDA zones 8 through 9. Somewhere along your wall, either in pots or planted along the base, include herbs such as lavender (Lavandula spp.) in USDA zones 5 to 10, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in USDA zones 6 to 10, or basil (Ocimum basilicum) in Zones 2 to 11. These herbs bring not only the right look, but they also deliver just the right fragrance to make your Mediterranean garden a full sensory experience.

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