This blog post on 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden shows a radical change from my dark days to monochrome to full colour. Allow me to give you a little back story.
A few years ago I went all black and dramatic staining the decking black and painting all the fence black as well. I then went into a monochrome phase where I repainted the cabin a nice beige colour and matched the paint on the fence.
I kept the decking black but used paint this time instead of stain. You can see my decked garden in these two photos when it was all black and when I went monochrome.
Fast forward a couple more years and I have fully embraced colour in my decked garden. I would say one of the most influential factors for me going from dark to light was the pandemic lockdown.
That was the key to unlocking the dark and over the next couple of years I started adding colour until I have embraced a full colour spectrum: a mix of darks, lights, pastels and brights.
It goes to show people change along with the times and influences and I’d highly recommend welcoming these changes in yourself and others.
3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden
Without further ado, here are my 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden
Recently I was in a lift at a home decor shop with a full trolley and there was a family in the lift with me. They commented about the colourful items in my trolley and said they had just been to Morocco and everything there is so colourful, just like the items in my trolley.
They said they had just decorated their house in neutral hues prior to their holiday and now they are inspired to add some colour to their interiors.
When I think of the Mediterranean, I visualise deep cerulean sea blues, vivid leafy greens, rich warm tones of spices and terra cotta, sunshine yellows, and pale hues and bright whites as backdrop. Pair these bold striking patterns and you can welcome the Mediterranean into your summer space.
The easiest way and perhaps the most economical too, to add big blocks of colour, as we know, is paint. Let’s dive into the basics of what paint to use outdoors.
We have a great many choices of paint finishes easily available to us under a variety of brands. Whilst many of them are good enough and fit for purpose, my top tip here is to go for the richest pigment. This simply means less number of coats and more longevity. Little Greene is one of the brands which I found to have great quality pigment and a fabulous range of colours too.
I have learned this lesson the heard way. I used to think all paints are equal and chose a fairly inexpensive brand to paint my hallway. The end result was at least 4 coats, more paint and more time, the latter being the most costly.
The next time I repainted that area, I used a great quality paint and only needed 2 coats. Lesson learnt! Simply speaking, painting your garden is easy and you really only have to follow some basic rules.
Assuming you have chosen a good quality paint and have read the manufacturer’s advice, here are some simplified guides to painting outdoor surfaces.
Preparation is key so abrade the surface first for best results. Just a light sanding with medium to fine grade sandpaper will do for most surfaces especially pre-painted or stained wood. Some paint manufacturer’s will say that stain needs to be completely removed first and / or the application of a suitable primer, in which case, prime surfaces that require priming with a suitable water-based primer. Others only require light sanding. Masonry only needs cleaning – dusting off dirt and loose particles.
Many exterior paint brands can be applied to most surfaces. Generally, exterior wood paints are also suitable for metal as long as it is suitably primed first. Masonry paint generally can also be used for concrete, various types of render, ceramics, terra cotta. Products nowadays are very versatile that many exterior paints can now be used even on UPVC, glass and plastics as long as they are suitably prepared.
Opt for eggshell or gloss finish for wood as they are more durable. Eggshell will have a very small degree of sheen whilst gloss has a shiny finish. Many exterior wood paints are also now self-priming so no need to prime especially when it’s bare wood unless specified by the manufacturer.
When it comes to decking, there are not many paint choices as there are stains and oils. I have used them all on my decking. My top tips for wooden decking are:
A. Have realistic expectations – they will require maintenance regularly regardless of whether you use oil, stain or paint so expect to always have do something to your decking regularly to make it last longer.
B. Only paint a decking if you don’t want to go back to the natural wood look otherwise keep to oils and stains that let the wood show through.
C. Clean and prime the decking first before painting it even if it says the paint is self-priming – this is because decking gets the most traffic in the garden and is more subject to the weather especially here in the UK where it can be wet for long periods.
Here are the paint colours I have used in adding a Mediterranean touch to my garden.
Little Greene Intelligent Exterior Eggshell for my cabin (Grey Stone), fence (Confetti), back door and wood trims (Hellebore), kitchenette wood and trims (Lamp Black), furniture (Giallo), cane chair (Atomic Red), decking (Bone China Blue).
Little Greene Intelligent Masonry for the brick wall (Hellebore)
Little Greene Intelligent All Surface Primer (ASP) to prime the stained wooden furniture and cane chair, metal pergola posts and decking before applying the Intelligent Exterior Eggshell finish.
How to Use Colour
Well, I’d say just go for the colours you love. You can never go wrong with that as you are the one living in your space. It is primarily for you to enjoy so go with your heart. But, keep this tip in mind: make sure there is room for contrast either when painting big areas or styling up with accessories.
Contrast will make your space come alive and bring prominence to areas you want to emphasise or pit colours against each other for some colour-clashing fun, dot around splashes of colour or allow other areas to be more of a background. You will notice that on my black on black garden in the photo above, it was very difficult to achieve contrast with a black cabin, black decking and black furniture.
Mediterranean style is full of contrasting colours, blues and oranges, greens and reds, purples and yellows against blacks and whites with pattern thrown in the mix. So go have fun with colour!
In my garden, I painted my cabin, fence, brick wall, furniture, pergola and back door. I kept the bigger areas like the cabin, fence and decking fairly pastel in hue so they act as backgrounds and added the statement areas of pink and black kitchenette, yellow furniture and a pop of red cane chair as the showstoppers and statement pieces. I didn’t want all the colours to be fighting against each other.
In terms of accessories, just a few pops of colour in the same vein as the above kept the entire space cohesive. My Amanda West shimmer cushions and throw are perfect for this colourful space.
2. Natural and Terra Cotta
Having so many areas painted, my garden was crying out for natural colours and textures so I brought terra cotta pots in and kept my Rockett St. George cane lounger unpainted. This brings nature back into a painted space.
I also built a little kitchenette area which we use as a surface to put our food on when dining alfresco and it has been such a hit with the whole family. Behind the curtains are shelves that I use to store some pots and watering cans and other garden paraphernalia.
You can’t go wrong with a few terra cotta pieces in my opinion. Here in my space, I have 2 large terra cotta pots with plants, one with an olive tree and 2 smaller ones from Homesense for herbs. I find this combo of terra cotta and plants so calming and earthy. A little lemon or orange tree in a terra cotta pot would be the perfect addition.
3. Mediterranean Staples
Olives, lemons, oranges, and herbs – lots of herbs. I have sage, rosemary, basil and oregano in my planters. Not a lot I know as there’s very little soil in my decked garden. My husband dreams of creating a herb patch. I’m not sure where that’s going to be yet but we’ll fins a space.
Now that the weather has vastly improved and summer is here, we have been dining alfresco most days. If you don’t mind let me share some staples we have food-wise in this post on 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden.
The first thing that comes into my mind when we talk about Mediterranean food is olives! My family loves olives and we have a big stash of them in the house. They are handy for a quick appetiser os snack and very healthy. Did you know that people with a Mediterranean diet have been known to live longer healthier lives!
It’s so easy to prepare: I just mix green and black olives with some chilli flakes, olive oil and garlic and voila you have a fabulous Med starter. Serve them in lovely terra cotta bowls like these authentic traditional ones I found from Homesense for just a few pounds each.I also almost got a Tagine by the way but I just did not trust myself in using it properly.
Extra virgin olive oil is another staple in our house – we cook with it, put it in our salads and all our food! I couldn’t resist these colourful little tins of olive oil from Homesense. They have a wonderful range of Mediterranean products just dropped this summer. Week in week out new items arrive and they are extremely affordable! I’m talking great finds and quality from as little as £1.99.
For quick and easy meals, I simply pop in some meat in the air fryer like burgers, sausages, fish, meatballs sprinkled with some olive oil and pepper. You get ala oven-cooked dishes for a lot less the time it takes to cook in a conventional oven and thus cheaper too. We have these with a side salad, olives, and quick stir-fried veg for a refreshing healthy meal.
Before I conclude this post on 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden, here’s a bonus!
Bonus: Painted Mural
Why not paint a mural if you have a bare wall? I’ve been staring at the bare wall in front of my kitchen long enough and last year I finally did something about it.
Our next-door neighbours built a kitchen extension which meant I had this wall next to the side return facing my kitchen window. For a year I stared at that magnolia wall until I’ve decided what to do with it.
Together with my daughters, we came up with a pastel graphic design incorporating some stencils. I wanted the feel to be light, fun, welcoming and unique.
The side return houses our tortoise enclosure too so we wanted the design to subtly include our tortoise Jupiter. Can you spot her on the design?
Once we had the design done to scale, it was really easy albeit a little time-consuming waiting for a good run of sunny days. Using Rustoleum Garden paint, I painted two coats directly onto the rendered wall (it was already painted magnolia by the neighbours) the base colour Strawberry Vanilla, before painting the mural on.
Using Rustoleum’s geometric stencils, I added the tile squares onto the design. Two coats for everything straight on the wall was all that was needed. Once I had a straight run of sunny days I got a good amount done on the mural wall painting instead of stopping and starting after finishing small sections. A year on and I promise you it still looks fantastic! Good as new!
I also painted the tortoise Jupiter’s enclosure in Strawberry Vanilla to match the wall as you may or may not have notice on the photos above.
This post on 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden is not part of a paid collaboration but I’m so grateful to have worked with the amazing brands that featured here namely Rustoleum Garden and Little Greene Intelligent Exterior for paint, Homesense for my Mediterranean items, Rockett St. George for my cane lounger and Amanda West for the beautiful colourful cushions and throw that are perfect for this space.
I hope you enjoyed this post on 3 Easy Ways to add a Mediterranean touch to your Garden and found it inspiring. If you have any questions, message me on Instagram and I’d be happy to help if I can. Don’t forget to download my free resources that will help you design your own interiors and grow your Instagram account! Let’s chat on Instagram Layered.Home and together get inspired!