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Arches

One of the most recognizable features of Mediterranean architecture is the arch. The Coliseum is a large ring of repeated arches, while ancient Roman aqueducts throughout Europe get their strength from stacked arches. If you plan to build a ramada or other structure in your backyard, incorporate arches in the design as a way to pay tribute to the Mediterranean architectural styles from the past.

Here, a stone wall with four open arches was built to enclose an outdoor seating area. Like a true Italian loggia, this space is located on the façade of the building, with one side open to the air.

Check out a backyard with an arched ramada: Sedona Outdoor Living Masterpiece

Cobalt Blue

Color is a very important element of landscape design that varies from style to style. With the sea being the most iconic image of the Mediterranean region, it is only natural that blue be included in Mediterranean-inspired landscapes. Cobalt blue captures the essence of the Mediterranean, picture the blue domed roofs in Greece.

In this backyard, cobalt blue tiles add a pop to color to the white stucco structures behind the pool. A combination of glass mosaic tiles and hand-painted ceramic tiles complete the Spanish theme in this yard.

See more ways to use blue outdoors.

Sculpture & Pottery

We’ve all heard the phrase it’s all in the details. This rings true when creating a backyard landscape in the Mediterranean style. Over the years, Mediterranean cultures have enjoyed decorating outdoors with potted plants and fine statues. Bringing this tradition to your own backyard will help create an authentic Mediterranean environment.

Around this pool, blue pottery displays topiary, while small stone sculptures shoot streams into the water. You may repeat these elements as has been done here, or you can opt for a larger piece that will serve as the main focal point.

Learn more about using sculpture in the landscape.

Terra Cotta

Nothing is more iconic of the Mediterranean than terra cotta. Standing atop a mountain or high up in a church, you can see roof after roof covered in red clay tiles. This classically European material can be brought into your backyard in the form of pottery. For a more authentic look, forgo the commercialized shape available at big box nurseries and opt instead for urns, olive jars or bowls.

Terra cotta urns were given a prominent place along the rear wall of this Spanish-inspired splash pool. Each urn rests atop a ledge, providing needed contrast with the blue tiled arches.

Get help choosing the right material for garden containers.

Gravel

There’s something about crushed stone that transports the mind to an olive grove in Italy. Maybe it’s the crunch underfoot or it could be its classically casual appearance. Including gravel as a paving material in your landscape will authenticate the Mediterranean atmosphere. Use gravel on auxiliary paths or patios that are far from your pool or entrances to your home. This way the small stones will not find their way into the water filtration system or your nice new flooring in the kitchen.

This patio serves as an extra seating area in a California backyard. The gravel, along with wooden furniture and drought resistant plants, establishes a casual atmosphere conducive to an outdoor lifestyle.

Learn more about gravel paving.

Stone

Many buildings along the Mediterranean are built from stone, some are even carved from the rocks along the coastline. For this reason, it is common to include stone in a landscape that strives to replicate the look and feel of this region. Most stone used around the Mediterranean is light-colored; keep this in mind when selecting stone for your backyard.

On this property, stone paving helps to emphasize the Mediterranean vibe. Notice that the built-in seating, which is similar to styles popular in the Greek isles, is also clad with stone.

Browse more pictures of flagstone paving.

Columns

Possibly used more than arches in the architecture of antiquity, columns were popular in both Greek and Roman buildings. The Parthenon in Athens, a prime example, features 50 columns around the perimeter. While this many columns may be overwhelming in a residential backyard, you can include a more appropriate number. One of the most common uses for columns outdoors is as supports for a pergola.

Eight Mediterranean-style columns support this poolside pergola in an Arizona backyard. Specialty lighting highlights the shape of the columns at night.

Get more design ideas for pergolas & patio covers.

Bocce Court

Considered the oldest known sport in history, bocce has its roots in Egyptian, Greek and Roman culture. Players roll balls at a small target in an attempt to be the closest. This game can be played on grass, but if you have the space why not have a bocce ball court built in your backyard? The game is simple and nearly anyone can play, making it great for family get-togethers.

This bocce court is bordered with concrete and the playing surface covered with crushed oyster shells. The rear wall has integrated lighting and can also be used for seating.

Learn more about bocce court design.

Olive Trees

Italian cypress, lavender, grape vines and palms are all iconic plants of the Mediterranean; however, olive trees may surpass them all in terms of symbolism. Olive branches have long represented peace and hope and to this day they are used to adorn the heads of Olympic champions. Thus, olive trees are an appropriate choice for a Mediterranean-style garden. Fruited olives trees can be quite messy and even stain patios or other outdoor surfaces. Select fruitless varieties for the same look without the hassle.

Four olive trees occupy the corners of this walled decomposed granite patio. Spotlights are used to highlight the unique branch structure and shimmery leaves of the trees.

Read more about landscaping with olive trees.

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