What is a Tuscan Style Garden?
Located in the breathtaking Italian countryside, the rolling hills of Tuscany are truly a sight to behold. Remarkable, antiquated architecture perfectly contrasts with luscious natural elements to impart this corner of the world with its magical reputation. Even more than a place, Tuscany is a state of mind. The word itself conjures up images of long, luxurious lunches, decadent drinks, and an unmatched sense of romanticism.
A Tuscan-style garden, inspired by the rustic charm of the Italian countryside, is a harmonious blend of nature and artistry. Characterized by its timeless beauty and Mediterranean flair, this garden style is a tribute to Tuscany's rich heritage.
Central to a Tuscan garden is the use of natural materials like stone, terracotta, and gravel, creating a warm and earthy color palette. Olive trees, cypress, and lavender are signature plants, imparting an aromatic and visually striking landscape. Wrought-iron gates, antique urns, and terracotta pots add a touch of elegance.
Tuscan gardens are designed for outdoor living, with cozy seating areas, pergolas covered in vines, and water features like fountains or reflecting pools. They invite relaxation, encourage leisurely strolls, and provide a sanctuary of serenity and beauty. A Tuscan-style garden is not just a place; it's a timeless journey through the Italian countryside's poetic landscapes.
How to Create Your Own Tuscan-Inspired Garden?
If you want to visit the Italian countryside without ever leaving home, creating a curated Tuscan garden in your own backyard is an excellent idea. This allows you sip espresso under the sun without even having to find your passport. Here are some exceptional elements that combine to create a garden inspired by the incredible sights, smells, and experiences of Tuscany.
Water fountains are indispensable elements when crafting a Tuscany-inspired garden, as they capture the essence of Italy's rustic charm and natural beauty. These fountains serve as both ornamental features and functional sources of soothing sounds and cooling moisture.
In a Tuscany-inspired garden, the choice of fountain material is crucial. Weathered stone or terracotta, often aged to perfection, are ideal selections, mirroring the region's historic architecture and character. Tiered fountains, resembling ancient Roman designs, are iconic in Tuscan gardens, providing elegance and drama as water gracefully trickles from one level to the next.
The gentle babbling of water flowing from a central feature or wall-mounted spouts replicates the serene ambiance of Tuscan landscapes. These fountains create microclimates, cooling the air and attracting birds and other wildlife. Moreover, they serve as focal points, drawing attention to the garden's design and inviting contemplation.
Adding a water fountain to your Tuscan-inspired garden not only enhances its aesthetics but also engages the senses, providing a tranquil oasis reminiscent of the Italian countryside. It's a timeless touch that transforms any outdoor space into a sanctuary of beauty and serenity.
When it comes to creating your Mediterranean escape, be sure to choose your plant life thoughtfully. Choosing flora or vegetation that feature colors and textures authentic to the Italian countryside is imperative to executing this theme correctly. While it may be tempting to randomly choose flowers or plants you have had success with in the past, veering too far from traditional elements can make your garden look ordinary rather than the extraordinary Italian experience you have been dreaming of.
To create an inspired Italian garden, certain plants are a must. Rows of hedges accented by tall Italian Cyprus trees instantly impart a romantic and European flair. To add in additional shapes and textures, Mediterranean Fan Palm and Pearl Bluebush have a unique and elegant look that will make your garden look simply exquisite. To add in a bit of color to your greenery, Jerusalem Sage and Bee's Bliss Sage contain subtle flowers that add another dimension to the foundation of your garden. Planting greenery in raised beds also imparts an authentic Italian look.
One exceptional feature of authentic Tuscan gardens is their emphasis on edible plants. Historically, people in Italy relied on gardens to provide them with spices and other ingredients to create the region’s decadent delicacies. Plants like Bay Laurel, Rosemary, and Thyme are beautiful, native to the Mediterranean, and provide you with fresh, aromatic ingredients you can use in your own kitchen.
If the weather in your part of the world allows, there are many other beautiful Tuscan plants that produce delicious results. Olive trees or topiaries are an excellent addition to your garden even if you are not ambitious enough to create your own olive oil. Additionally, Mediterranean fig trees, lemon trees, and grapevines provide you with exceptional colors, textures, and an easy way to fetch fresh ingredients from your garden.
Of course, no garden is complete without flowers. While there is no rule when it comes to choosing which flowers to grow, choosing warm, vibrant colors will give your space an authentic Tuscan look. Fragrant and beautiful, Lavender is a staple in Italian gardens. Combine these pretty purple flowers with Spanish Broom, Rock Roses, and Bougainvillea for a sensory experience that will instantly transport you to Tuscany.
One you have decided on the type and layout of plants in your Tuscan garden, adding furniture is a natural next step. The Italian lifestyle is all about relaxing, enjoying, and generally taking life at a slower pace. Giving yourself and your guests several cozy seating areas ensures that anyone who visits your garden will be hesitant to leave.
Placing benches along paved pathways is a surprisingly practical way to add charm and visual appeal to your garden. Wooden benches with wrought iron accents are an excellent way to achieve a vintage, European look. Similarly, thoughtfully placed iron bistro tables can provide a secluded and romantic place to enjoy a glass of wine on balmy summer evenings.
If you plan on incorporating a main seating area in your backyard for guests to enjoy, ensure that it matches the look and feel of the Mediterranean. Once again, iron, slate, or stone elements give your seating area a more authentic look. Be sure the upholstery of the cushions also matches the rich, earth tones frequently found in Tuscany. A palette of burnt orange, burgundy, sage, and gold is a good guide when choosing fabrics or accent pieces for your garden’s lounge area.
For items with an even more exceptional touch, reach out to local craftsmen in your area and consider having furniture custom made. In the Italian countryside, handmade goods are still the norm. Purchasing handcrafted items not only supports your community, it also gives your garden the same rustic charm found throughout the region of Tuscany.
Exceptional Accent Pieces
To add extra impact to your beautiful garden, statement-making accent pieces provide the perfect finishing touch. While it is easy to skip over these elements, these exceptional additions are what will truly give your Tuscan garden the wow-factor it needs to make you feel like you have truly been transported to another world.
A beautiful trellis (or two) is a staple of Italian gardens. These lovely structures add height, create shadows, and give your backyard a look that is nothing short of magical. Allowing vines or other climbing plants to cover these fixtures adds charm and decadence to your garden’s atmosphere. Just like trellises add dimension, so too do pergolas. Pergolas have long been providing Italians with shady areas to sip vino and enjoy a much needed respite from the Tuscan sun. Adding an impressive pergola to your seating areas makes them even more welcoming and relaxing.
One way to turn your garden’s seating area into an outdoor living space by adding a beautiful stone or terracotta fireplace. This captivating feature will not only thoroughly impress your guests, it also gives you an easy way to add warmth to your lounge space on cool evenings. If you are planning to build your outdoor fireplace, take this idea to the next level by including a woodfire oven in your blueprints. An oven acts as an awe-inspiring focal point, and nothing says “Tuscany” quite like making your own authentic woodfire pizza.
Finally, no Tuscan garden is truly complete without a fantastic fountain. The presence of flowing water is exceptionally calming and takes your sensory experience to a whole new level. While a traditional tiered fountain works, a wall fountain is authentically Italian in nature. Look for one that features weathered, vintage-inspired design elements to make your garden even more transformative than it already is.
Decadent Design Elements
As with all things, the beauty of a garden truly lies in the details. Italian gardens rely on warm, earthy tones to create their signature look. Using a warm and thoughtful color palette when it comes to your garden’s design elements will impart the dreamy atmosphere you are searching for. Certain design elements are instantly reminiscent of Tuscany, and they promise to provide the perfect finishing touch for your garden’s overall look.
Terracotta is a signature element that is present throughout Italy. With a rich, burnt orange color, it will contrast beautifully with the lush greenery of the surrounding plant life. Paving your walkways with terracotta stones is an exceptional way to introduce this element into your garden – so too are traditional terracotta planters, which look stunning when placed all in a row.
Because the region is traditionally dry, grass is not often used in Mediterranean gardens. Instead, gravel or loose stones are typically placed on walkways or in between potted plants. This low maintenance material is a great addition to your garden, especially if you aren’t keen on the unforgiving upkeep of grass. Utilizing gravel or flagstone throughout your garden minimizes water usage and also adds an air of authenticity.
Italy is also known for its beautiful and artistic mosaics. In this design element, pieces of colored glass or pretty pebbles are arranged in a pleasing and intricate patterns or designs. Mosaic stepping stones or pathways embrace this signature style. While it is easy to find prefabricated elements to decorate your garden, making your own mosaics is a fun way to add your own personality to your lovely landscape.
Italian tiles are another easy way to add colors and patterns into your Tuscan garden. These vibrant square tiles often feature exquisite floral patterns or designs. Whether used to pave your walkways, add color to your fixtures, or cover a tabletop, this design element easily adds elegance, sophistication, and uniformity. Like any accent, Italian tiles should be used sparingly and with intention. They are meant to highlight the beauty of your plants and should never become the main focus.
Crafting Your Tuscan Oasis
Travelling to Tuscany is a dream many people have but few get to fulfill. Creating a Tuscan garden in your backyard, however, allows the Italian country side to come to you. By adding these beautiful plants and design elements, you can easily create your very own Mediterranean getaway and experience la dolce vita whenever your heart desires.
In creating a Tuscan-inspired garden, you embark on a journey to capture the timeless allure of Italy's rustic countryside. From the earthy color palette to the use of natural materials like stone and terracotta, each element is carefully chosen to evoke the spirit of Tuscany. The signature plants, aromatic herbs, and the soothing melody of water fountains all come together to transport you to a place of tranquility and Mediterranean charm.
Whether you have a sprawling estate or a modest backyard, the principles of a Tuscan garden can be adapted to any space, offering a sanctuary of beauty and serenity for you to savor and share with others. Embrace the warmth, elegance, and timelessness of Tuscany in your own outdoor oasis, where every corner whispers the magic of Italy's captivating landscapes.