How to create a Mediterranean haven in YOUR garden: What to plant

David Domoney visits Eden Project's Mediterranean garden

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Whether you’ve been lucky enough to jet away to an island in the Med or have simply over-indulged on your Mediterranean inspired interior board on Pinterest, updating your garden to fit this leafy green and terracotta trend is easier than you may think. The key to achieving a tropical haven in your garden is planting the right types of plants and using contrasting colours – but what exactly should you be shopping for?

You don’t need to live in the dreamy – Mediterranean climate to replicate the relaxed alfresco lifestyle of those that do, but you do need to choose the right plants for the job.

Alfresco fragrance

It’s not just about looks when creating your Mediterranean display so pay attention to island-inspired scents to spice up the whole feel of your garden.

You can replicate the fresh citrus aromas of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea by planting lavender, rosemary and lemons right here in the UK.

Whilst lavender will grow easily across Britain, citrus plants are not so hardy so pay extra attention when growing.


Fill your sun-drenched garden beds with lavender and make sure there is free-draining soil for the best growth. Planting on raised areas will make for easy watering and better growth.

Go for English lavender varieties as these are the hardiest – but avoid planting in shaded, damp spots as this evergreen shrub will struggle to grow to its full richly-scented potential.


This versatile herb should be planted in Spring or Autumn so now is a great time to start planning out your Autumnal Mediterranean inspired landscape.

Although rosemary is frost-hardy, the combination of cold and waterlogged soil can kill immature plants.

The Royal Horticultural society recommends either digging in lots of bark, grit or leaf mould to improve drainage in colder clay soil or to simply grow in a pot for best results at this time of the year.

Plant with marjoram and sage for an added boost of fragrance in your garden.


Lemon trees can struggle to grow during colder seasons, so be sure to plant in your large, med-inspired terracotta pots and move them indoors into a cool greenhouse or conservatory from October to April to protect them from winter weather.

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These sage-like hardy perennials are a delicate addition to any garden thanks to their textured foliage and hooded flowers in shades of white, yellow and lilac.

They’re at their best slouched over the edge of paths, next to rosemary and lavender to create an effortless walkway splashed with aromatic pastel shades.

Fulfil your Mediterranean vision by planting the following varieties:

  • lomis fruticosa AGM – bright yellow flowers
  • Phlomis italica – a smaller shrub with soft pink flowers
  • Phlomis russeliana AGM is a ‘tough perennial with rough, grey-green leaves and stout stems with tiers of yellow flowers’ says the Royal Horticultural Society.

Olive tree

This evergreen has been cultivated in Mediterranean regions for centuries both for its edible fruit and as a symbol of joy, happiness and peace.

Whilst the olive tree is the epitome of Mediterranean vision, growing these silvery – trees in the UK can be tricky although it is definitely possible.

Find the sunniest spot in your garden for this wind-pollinated variety and plant close to a warm wall where they can bask in the sunshine.

As a slow-growing evergreen, the olive plant is ideal for potting and will thrive in a large pot in a bright spot on the patio or balcony, or in an unheated conservatory or greenhouse.

If growing an olive tree on heavy clay soil you should dig in plenty of gravel to prevent waterlogging the roots.

Make the most of your space

You don’t need a large plot to achieve a Mediterranean haven in your back – garden, even just one corner of the patio, gravel or grass on your property can be refreshed with a few simple changes.

Transform a sun-baked seating area into an Italian – inspired terrace, by surrounding with terracotta pots filled with herbs like thyme, bay leaves and oregano.

Add a pergola and plant scented climbers for a cosy feel with a mixture of heights amongst your plants.

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