While a few planters may be enough for small gardens and balconies, designing a large outdoor space involves much more planning and effort. Gardens can be landscaped both formally and informally depending on your style preference. Gardens are seen as an extension of the interiors, and hence should always coordinate with the latter. Formal gardens are well suited for classic style interiors, while informal gardens are better paired with contemporary style interiors. Another factor to keep in mind while styling your garden is the amount of maintenance it requires. Formal gardens require a lot of attention, while informal gardens are less demanding.
Gardens can also be classified on the basis of the geographical region they originated from, such as Chinese gardens, Persian Gardens, Italian Gardens and English gardens. Each of these gardens has their own typical characteristics. While a Chinese garden is not meant to be seen as a whole and presents the visitor with framed glimpses of a scene, English gardens are known for their expansive lush lawns. And Italian gardens are renowned for their use of proportion and symmetry. Today, we will offer you some tips and tricks for growing Italian gardens, which are sure to make your neighbours go green with envy!
Besides pizza and pasta, Italy is also known for its renaissance style gardens. This formal style of gardening is based on classic design principles of symmetry and geometrical arrangements, and is said to have greatly influenced the evolution of garden designing. Italian formal gardens value shrubs that can be pruned to create clipped topiary, more than flowering plants.
Evergreen plants such as cypress, boxwood and junipers are some of the common plants grown in Italian gardens. Flower beds are generally shaped as squares, rectangles and triangles, and placed on both sides of the garden mirroring each other. Curved flower beds are a rarity in Italian gardens. A promenade or central pathway flanked by clipped hedges is another signature element of Italian gardens.
An Italian garden is broken down into different sections, by using hedges and stone walls and by planning the garden on different levels. An alfresco dining section is an essential part of such a garden. This can usually be found close to the rear façade of the house, and is often shaded by a vine draped pergola. Large Italian gardens also often have a fruit orchard designed as an extension of the main garden.
A grotto or artificial cave is another feature that makes Italian gardens stand out from the rest. These spaces are designed as hideaways from the main house and feature sculptures, water elements and simple furnishings. Like most residential gardens, a kitchen garden for herbs and vegetables is also usually a small part of Italian gardens.
No Italian garden is complete without a water feature. The sound of falling water in particular, was an intrinsic part of every Italian garden in earlier times. Each view of an Italian formal garden often contains a water feature of its own. It can be in the form of a bubbling fountain, pool or a simple waterfall.
Ornate stone fountains that sport a classical statue or Florentine motif, can be placed in the centre of the garden and are often used as focal points. Fountains can also be tiered or urn shaped. Formal ponds are commonly encased with marble blocks, and maybe square or rectangular in shape. Floating flowers or fishes are rarely found in Italian garden ponds.
Frescoes or outdoor murals are an interesting way to add life and character to your Italian garden. In ancient Italy, the most common garden fresco designs revolved around farm life and grapevines. However, subjects for contemporary frescoes are more experimental, and range from outdoor sceneries to wine making scenes. By incorporating a fresco in your own garden or patio wall, you can include an authentic Italian scene in your setting. A fresco should ideally be painted on a wall which is not much exposed to direct sunlight, or other weather elements.
Ornamentation can go a long way in giving your garden an authentic Italian flair. Add character to your garden is by installing art pieces that are reminiscent of the historical Italian gardens. Decorative columns can be used to set up your garden’s alfresco section. Even broken pillars can be used to recreate ruins by growing moss and ivy around them.
Stone benches in hidden alcoves make for a cosy intimate setting, and lend a romantic touch to your garden. Classical figurines such as, a woman carrying water or a gladiator carved in stone could be set at pathway intersections to create points of interest. Stone planters, chalices and wall mounted basins are other welcome additions to an Italian garden. To appreciate how a statue can do wonders for a garden, take a look at this garden designed by Eduardo Luppi Paisagismo LTDA. from Brazil.
Gardening designs evolve over time to suit personal tastes and preferences. Even in a formal Italian garden plan, you can find ways to show off your individual personality. Instead of an herb garden laid out at ground level, consider a multiple level container herb garden. Lanterns and wall mounted sconces in copper or brass are effective ways of lighting up an Italian garden. A visit to the local flea market can provide you with a wealth of Italian objects, to decorate the garden further. Experiment with patina finishes and stained glass to enhance the beauty of an Italian Garden. The right kind of furniture is another way to let your personality shine.
The charm of an Italian garden starts at the entrance, so do not forget to pay special attention to this area. Choose wooden gate doors or ornamental wrought iron gates for the entrance of your garden. Within the garden also, you can create small nooks against trellis backdrops. Rose creepers are a favourite among Italian gardeners and when grown on trellises, can create stunning backdrops. Stone is another favoured material in Italian gardens, because it reminds observers of the natural Italian rocky landscape. To incorporate this aspect in your Italian garden, consider using stone slabs to create pathways. Last but not the least; regular pruning of shrubs and mowing of lawns, is essential to maintain the beauty of an Italian garden.
For more exciting ideas, feel free to take a look at this ideabook – Gorgeous garden ideas for modern homes.