When the type of soil has been established in your Italian garden you can begin considering which style your Italian garden should adopt.
In recent years organic gardening has established itself as the intelligent solution for the modern garden across the world, as it provides a healthy green space, in which children can play, plants can flourish and true harmony can be found with nature. Here in Italy, a country where fresh vegetables and herbs are in great demand, the organic garden solution has really taken off.Contemporary garden designers in Italy are now focussing on organic alternatives and ecological Italian garden design principles which, up until recent years, had not been a priority to most Italian garden designers.
As a garden designer, living here in Italy, I strongly advise my clients with a minimum of vision to opt for a harmonious ‘green’ and natural Italian garden design for this age of ecological awareness. The popular trend in recent years in Italian gardening has been to create either an intensely sterile, formal Renaissance feel in their Italian garden; with out of place stark white statues and high maintenance topiary or a completely Nordic style garden with acres of watered lawn. However people are finally coming round and waking up to the idea that the over-use both of these garden styles are now outdated and do not address modern eco attitudes to Italian gardening.
The garden is used as a means by which one can extend the architecture of the house into the surrounding landscape in a harmonious fashion. A formal, Renaissance style Italian garden can only function aesthetically if the architecture of the house suits and underlines the feel of the garden. If the architecture does not qualify for such an elaborate garden style the effect can appear un-harmonious and out of place. The creation of a Nordic style garden in the heart of Italy, with it’s high water consumption and conflicting style has now been rendered un-ecological by the scarcity of water supplies and laborious due to its high maintenance requirements. Expensive and hard to establish English style lawns, once fashionable in the eyes of the average Italian have now been replaced with greener, natural Italian garden solutions that display concern for the environment. Therefore, careful thought needs to be given to the direction that your Italian garden should take.
As a garden designer I believe that it is possible to incorporate all of these styles/ moods into a contemporary Italian garden in perfect harmony. The modern Italian garden can address the Renaissance style in a small courtyard adjacent to the house, by using subtle nuances and without going over the top. Moving further away from the house, one can change style again and present a modern, water-saving gravel garden planted with Mediterranean plants that appreciate these dry conditions. Perfect English lawns can be kept to a minimum, rendering irrigation, maintenance etc much easier and ecological. These lawn areas can then be maintained to absolute perfection owing to their reduced dimensions. Interesting, informal lawn shapes can then be made, instead of the standard rectangle or square, unless the lawn is created within a formal context of course.
Moving further away from the house, your Italian garden can really meet the surrounding landscape by allowing all formality to break down into wild flower meadows. These wild flower meadows can be easily established with professional advice and can allow for the creation of indigenous ecosystems that sustain stunning wildflowers, butterflies and birds. A wildflower garden requires very little water or maintenance and will attract nature, in all it’s most beautiful forms, to enter your garden.
I am clearly referring to a large Italian garden context in this article, however, a combination of styles can also be applied to the smallest of Italian garden spaces. By using intelligent garden design, small spaces can suddenly appear larger or smaller, pathways much longer or shorter and ecological Italian garden style can still be applied- regardless of the garden’s dimensions. In order to avoid making expensive, out-dated and un- ecological mistakes when designing Italian gardens the correct style must be decided from the outset. I will be providing more advice on how to create an Italian style garden in later articles- see you soon!