Mediterranean-style gardens contain plants adapted to the climate of regions with cool, wet winters followed by warm, dry summers. Another element common in a Mediterranean garden is plenty of hardscape, or rocks and gravel pathways, connecting the planting areas. Mediterranean garden design is often used where a landscape interfaces with a natural wild area. This is because many of the herbs, shrubs and flowering plants used in Mediterranean-style gardens are not attractive to deer and other mammals, although they are attractive to birds and butterflies.
Locate an area for your Mediterranean garden acceptable for your plants. Although many plants used in Mediterranean gardens are drought-tolerant, not all plants can deal with harsh afternoon sun without supplemental water in some parts of the United States; you may need to locate the garden near a water source. The area should be well-drained and have soil that is loose or that can be easily amended with compost.
Choose plants for your Mediterranean planting that are drought-tolerant and provide interest all year. Your climate may not match the Mediterranean, so you will need to do some research to find plants that are drought-tolerant and attractive.
Evergreen plants are the best choice for a Mediterranean garden. For example, trees used in Mediterranean landscapes and adapted to much of the U.S. are cypress and juniper trees. Herbs such as rosemary and lavender are frequently used, as well as artemisia, yarrow and a variety of succulents. Plants native to your area also make attractive choices for a Mediterranean planting.
Clear the area for your Mediterranean planting of all weeds and debris. If placing landscape rocks into the area, set them into position now after the area is cleared. Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the soil and work it into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil. Grade the area with a rake until it is smooth and attractive.
Plant the chosen plants at the same level they were planted in their container or previous location. Taller plants should go in the back of the garden, with smaller plants in front. Space plants close together, but not too close, as they will expand as they mature.
Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch over the ground between the plants to create an attractive finished look. A new Mediterranean garden will need supplemental moisture for the first growing season. However, if you have carefully chosen plants adapted to your area, you should only need to add water when the weather is unusually dry.