Greek garden ideas: 14 layout, planting and styling tips to create a holiday vibe
These Greek garden ideas will help you make a Mediterranean-inspired oasis right in your own backyard
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Considering Greek garden ideas for your plot? We'd say it's a great move. After all, aren't we all craving a holiday in faraway lands, of dappled sunshine through grapevines overhead, iced cold drinks in a rustic stone courtyard, or azure-blue ocean views? Well, imagine if you could bring the sense of the Med right to your very own doorstep – in fact, to your very own garden. Sounds like a fantastic idea to us.
Whether you want to go bold and shake up your landscaping, or just opt for some new garden decor ideas, it doesn't have to be too tricky to recreate a Greek vibe. Perhaps a traditional white-and-blue scheme, drought-tolerant planting picks and characterful accessories will fit the bill. Or, maybe all your plot needs is a cozy dining space fit for sharing meze platters (and perhaps an Ouzo or two). From luxe Santorini-inspired looks to relaxed Crete vibes, you'll find plenty of Greek garden inspo in our round-up of styles.
Greek garden ideas: 14 stunning designs
Once you've perused these glorious Greek garden ideas, you'll be eager to recreate the look at home.
1. Set the table for relaxed alfresco dining
Naturally, a big part of Mediterranean culture is the food. And what better way to enjoy it than sharing dishes with loved ones out in the fresh air, elbow-to-elbow around a large table?
So, of course, a dining set-up is a must for Mediterranean garden ideas – whether you're recreating the ambience of Greece or one of its sun-soaked neighbors. Wooden benches have a pleasing informality about them, and allow space for everyone to budge up when you have extra guests. Rattan chairs at either end will work well with the scene (and offer a comfier option for those who need it).
Dress the table in dusky blue linens, plenty of colorful sharing platters and sprigs of herbs in a mix of small vases or jugs. Add a scattering of tealights for added atmosphere at dusk. Then all you need to do is whip up some Greek-inspired treats, whether that's a hearty moussaka or a selection of pita, olives and dips.
You'll find plenty more outdoor dining ideas in our feature.
2. Stick to stone for a traditional feel
Cool, natural stone is ideal for recreating that Greek walled garden vibe, evoking a sense of rustic charm and authenticity.
Pick a style that's pale-hued, and consider adding in a new wall or replacing lacklustre paving as part of your landscaping ideas. We like this half wall that surrounds a statement olive tree – not only does it bring the tree into focus but it also provides a handy spot to perch.
An archway framing the entrance to a patio or courtyard will add to the old-world feel and the sense of intrigue. You could take a cue from this set-up and introduce agapanthus in large planters or narrow borders, too – their blue and white palette works perfectly for a Greek theme.
3. Add accents of blue against crisp white
When you think of suitable garden color schemes for Greek-inspired backyards, crisp white and cool blue are likely to spring to mind. They are the national colors, after all. Plus, many buildings in Greece are painted white – useful for reflecting the hot sun – with that quintessential blue tone used across roofs, window frames and doors.
With a lick of paint, you can easily bring the look to your plot. Spend a sunny afternoon armed with a tin of the best exterior wood paint and a brush, and revamp your windows or outdoor wooden furniture. A few coats of snow-white exterior masonry paint on your walls will provide a stunning contrast and instantly refresh the space. Some brightly-colored pelargoniums to punctuate the scene won't go amiss, either.
4. Create a cool shaded spot
In Greece, the midday sun is hot – too hot to sit out in it. This is one of the reasons behind the traditional afternoon siesta – an hour or so spent enjoying a quiet snooze – which is commonplace in other Mediterranean countries, too.
Somewhere shaded and cool is, therefore, the perfect addition to Greek garden ideas. The beachy feel of this shelter is particularly bright and welcoming and will allow a summer breeze to comfortably flow through. Pair with a daybed or hammock for a space to retreat for a bit of peace and quiet, or recreate the scene above by incorporating sleek storage for your outdoor kitchen.
Looking for more patio cover ideas? Our feature has lots of stunning styles.
5. Frame a fireplace with olive trees
Nothing says holiday like staying outdoors until late – listening to the crickets, watching the stars, and enjoying a good glass of something cold. Of course, if you're not blessed with a Mediterranean climate, you may need assistance in keeping temperatures comfortable once the sun sets. This is where outdoor fireplace ideas come in.
A simple white design like this definitely has a nod to Greek-island style, especially when flanked with impressive olive trees. As Sutton Manor Nursery (opens in new tab) says, 'Olive trees are a species of evergreen tree in the Olea europaea family, bringing color and life to your garden year-round. The ancient olive tree is one of the oldest symbols of the world, symbolizing peace, wisdom, prosperity and success. Their elegant silhouettes and evergreen leaves make them a beautiful focal point in any garden, especially one with a Mediterranean theme.'
6. Create a rustic-style courtyard
If your heart is warmed by rustic garden ideas then a Greek-inspired plot is your opportunity to embrace them. Recreate the vibes of a traditional taverna with a wooden table, comfy chairs, and natural stone slabs or pebbles underfoot, then add a splash of bold color to make a feature wall. You could stick to soothing blue (as mentioned above), but this warm ochre works beautifully too.
Decorate the space with large terracotta pots and wall ornaments (we love the use of plates in this scene). And, for a real sense of Greece, plant a flowering bougainvillea tree somewhere sunny to be trained as a canopy overhead – the pink blossoms are sure to bring everyone joy.
If you're looking for more ways to pep up small, walled spaces, our courtyard garden ideas have you covered.
7. Opt for patterned tiles underfoot
'Greek-style tiles are a great way to add interest to your garden whilst giving you that all round holiday vibe,' says Colin Lincoln-Evans of Tile Mountain (opens in new tab). These blue and white patterned designs are a case in point – perfect for livening up patio paving ideas.
'There are several ways to create the look, from making a small patterned area within a larger patio to adding tiles to a raised bed,' Colin continues. 'Both of these ideas can be extremely effective without being overpowering.
'When choosing your tiles, check with the supplier that they are suitable for outdoor use,' he continues. 'In general, most porcelain tiles can be used and won't require sealing. You will, however, need to ensure that you use the correct type of grout and adhesive when setting them – your tile supplier should be able to advise you about this and what type of substrates are suitable.'
8. Make a canopy of greenery
A shaded and leafy spot for relaxing is ideal for Greek garden ideas. To recreate the look, you'll need to introduce pergola ideas or some other type of overhead structure to support your pick of the best climbing plants.
Grape vines are a failsafe option for the theme if you have a sunny and sheltered spot. You'll be rewarded with architectural foliage and bunches of fruit (remember to pick a dessert variety if you want to enjoy your crop without turning it into wine, first). Passion flower is another lovely choice for its eye-catching blooms.
9. Recreate a Santorini vibe with lots of white
Popular amongst honeymooners, Santorini is known for its dazzling beaches, whitewashed buildings, and picture-perfect ocean views.
Plenty of white and gently curved walls will help to recreate the serene ambience of this luxurious destination. Dot a potted palm here and there to up the holiday feel. Or why not add small rock garden ideas with architectural, drought-tolerant planting for a pocket of contrasting visual interest? It'll make a chic, sophisticated, and super low maintenance addition to the space.
10. Line steps with Mediterranean planting
Give stone garden steps ideas a new lease of life for your Greek garden ideas by lining them with drought-tolerant planting. This pink-flowered plant above is Tulbaghia violacea, otherwise known as society garlic, and looks similar to agapanthus in form (albeit smaller).
Pair with silvery-foliaged favorites such as Stachys byzantine or santolina. If you're after a shot of soothing fragrance, lavender is always a safe bet.
11. Go for a bold rug
The best outdoor rugs are an easy way to uplift a space and create a cozy, outdoor-living-room ambience. Go for a bold blue and white pattern for instant vacation vibes, paired with plenty of container plants and rustic lanterns.
If your natural style is more pared-down, you could always opt for textured neutrals instead – the look will be just as effective.
12. Embrace indoor-outdoor living with an enclosed patio
On the topic of setting an indoor-outdoor tone, you may want to consider enclosed patio ideas for your space. Sure, they're a little more ambitious than dotting a few potted plants around or opting for an outdoor rug, but they'll provide a real extension to your home which can be used all year round.
A simple design with a tiled top and arched windows is a good approach for Greek garden ideas – go for wooden beams too for an authentic look. Fill the space with a dining set-up, perhaps a reclaimed ladder, and red brick tiles underfoot. Statement pendants like these will bring a touch of contemporary to the scene and illuminate your dinner parties when night falls.
13. Make a statement with oversized urns
A giant terracotta urn is a brilliant feature for Greek garden ideas and will give your outdoor space a focal point throughout the seasons. Try to find one second hand if you can – the weathering of time only adds character.
Position it against a stone wall or to mark the end of a path and surround with sculptural blooms to make an impressive impact.
14. Cool off with a pool
Of course, for ultimate vacation vibes, you can't go far wrong with backyard pool ideas. So, if you've got the space and the budget, consider bringing a cool stretch of water into your plot to capture a real sense of Greek island charm.
Go for simple, curved shapes surrounded by pale or whitewashed stone. A terracotta pot nearby filled with jolly blooms will add the perfect finishing flourish.
What are the best plants for Greek-inspired gardens?
If you're looking for more of the best plants for Greek-inspired gardens, try these top picks:
- Citrus trees: 'No Mediterranean garden is complete without a citrus tree,' say the experts at Sutton Manor Nursery. 'They are a lovely way to add luscious greenery, a pop of color and delicious scents to your garden, wherever that may be. There are a wide variety of beautiful citrus trees to choose from including lime trees, mandarin, kumquat, limequat and lemon trees, so there is something for everyone.'
- Pelargoniums: Pelargoniums in their vivid hues of coral, pink and red instantly conjure up the vibe of the Med. Pop them in blue-glazed pots or stick to traditional terracotta as part of your patio gardening ideas.
- Succulents: Drought-tolerant succulents are a good pick for hot climates, so are ideal for recreating the theme. Plus, they need very little upkeep, so are ideal if you're looking for low maintenance garden ideas.
- Mediterranean herbs: Lavender, rosemary, sage, and of course Greek oregano are all great picks for this style of plot, and will fill your space with a gorgeous fragrance, too. Our guides on how to grow lavender and how to create a herb garden will help you get started.
More top tips for creating a Greek-style garden
Looking for more top tips to bring a slice of Greece to your backyard? Sutton Manor Nursery shares some extra suggestions:
- Try a water feature as part of your Greek garden ideas. 'When we think about the Mediterranean, we picture those colorful gardens and beautiful trees,' they say. However, there's also the sounds of the ocean in the near distance. 'Therefore, to really bring the essence of your favorite holiday spot to your back garden, why not think about adding a relaxing water feature?' they continue. There is an abundance of water features to choose from including a range of fountains, pools, ponds, rills, artificial waterfalls, and streams. 'However, remember to avoid dark corners when it comes to placing your water features as this will make it fade into the background. You want your water feature to be a focal point in your garden so it's best to place it in the sunniest area, preferably at the intersection of two paths.' Our water feature ideas gallery has lots of stunning looks.
- Get creative with your planters. 'The most recognizable part of any Mediterranean garden is the bright colors and bold patterns,' says the team. 'The easiest way to incorporate this into your garden is through your plant pots and containers. The benefit of doing it this way, rather than going straight in with the paint on your walls, is that you can chop and change your pots around to suit your theme.' They suggest to stick to warm tones as these are most commonly used in Mediterranean gardens, or perhaps opt for muted red and rich yellow hues, including brick red, terracotta, peach and ochre.
- If you are looking for a low-cost solution for your garden path ideas, why not create a pebble or gravel walkway? 'Still just as beautiful, a stone pathway is another fantastic way to add a key feature to your Mediterranean garden,' says the team. 'There are many benefits to choosing this option, including the fact that you don't need a lot of knowledge of landscaping to create it, and drainage is not necessary.'
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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