Photos 1 & 2 from Houzz.com, Photo 3 from The Christian Science Monitor
Formal and Informal: This Mediterranean landscaping style combines formal design and accents with informal hardscape materials and plants.
Overall sense: Inspired by the coastal areas of Spain, Italy and France, this garden style has its roots in Greek and Roman architecture. Mediterranean gardens were adapted to the climate and terrain in which they were located and sought solutions that would produce coolness, shade and seclusion. They are best known for their casual elegance with a weathered look.
Geometry: The layout of the garden was geometric and had order often defined by masonry walls or hedges. The role of nature was secondary although the gardens were clearly adapted to the climate and terrain in which they were located.
Hardscape: Local materials such as stone, gravel, brick, terra cotta, and tile are used for hardscape. Any stone that is beige, buff, rusty-orange, brown or other warm earth tones will fit the theme. Warm tones of decomposed granite and pea gravel are also good choices. Other architectural features include the arch, one of the most recognizable elements, as well as patios, courtyards, low walls, overheads, and enclosures.
Plants: Plants of the Mediterranean landscape are informal, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant. They provide structure, such as columnar evergreens and hedges, color and texture. Pale or pastel colors tones look washed-out under the hot midday sun. Brighter, bold flower colors like purple and yellow create a stronger contrast with the gray/green or deep green foliage of traditional Tuscan plants. Some of the iconic Mediterranean plantings include Italian Cypress or Juniper, ornamental grasses, succulents, lamb’s ear, bougainvillea, star jasmine, and edibles such as fragrant herbs (lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, santolina) as well as olives, grape vines, pomegranate, aloe or yucca.
Lawn: There is minimal to no lawn with an emphasis on hardscape
Furniture & Décor: Water features are generally in the middle of a courtyard or on a wall and may be tiered. Good furniture choices are contemporary or rustic furniture with a weathered look. Earth tones are dominant but are punctuated by bright accent colors like blue, a natural choice with proximity to the sea, red, orange and purple. For pattern and decoration, use statues and pots in warm-colored, rustic limestone or terra-cotta.
Sources: Houzz.com, LandscapeNetwork.com