The Tuscany countryside, with slender cypress trees, gently rolling hills and fields of yellow sunflowers, transports viewers into an outdoor world of beauty and relaxation. Imagine taking a vacation in Tuscany every time you step out into your yard. Choosing Mediterranean plants, adding stone and tile accents and including certain structural elements in your landscape allow you to do just that.
Any landscaping plan needs to begin with the large elements such as trees. For a Tuscan feel, an Italian cypress tree, or cupressus sempervirens, should be your first choice. Varieties are commonly available in a bright green or blue-green shades and can eventually grow up to 60 feet tall in slender, columnar form. Smaller false cypress trees, chamaecyparis erecta, have a similar shape to Italian cypress, but because they grow to 8 feet tall, they can be planted in large clay pots to give a Tuscan feel to a deck or patio. The Landscape Design Advisor also recommends olive trees, which thrive in areas with full sun and hot summers.
A large arbor or pergola with grapevines growing up into the structure is another element reminiscent of the Tuscan landscape. You'll find pre-made structures as well as kits at nursery or garden stores. Create an especially Tuscan feel by placing the arbor on your deck or patio with a dining table underneath. Clay tile will also evoke the feel of Tuscany, so if you want a more permanent roof for a garden greenhouse or pergola, choose red clay tiles. Stone walls and paths also add to the Mediterranean atmosphere.
Choose a variety of large, medium and small plants in a carefully planned landscape and you will experience both the sights and scents of Tuscany. For large plants, consider members of the cacti family such as agave or aloe vera. In the medium size range, choose dwarf lemons or oranges, lavender or sunflowers, all of which would look good grown in large blue or natural-colored clay pots. Italian herbs provide both a culinary and visual taste of Tuscany. Add these throughout the landscape. Some varieties of rosemary grow up to 6 feet tall, while dwarf varieties grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Sage, too, is available in varying sizes, while thyme and basil are smaller and can be tucked here and there in the landscape.