the fact that the HBO series Rome and the movie Under A
Tuscan Sun are now a few years in the past the settings and
landscapes from these films are just now beginning to creep into
North American neighborhoods. The rustic, “Old World”
ambiance, vegetation and colors are soothing against the quickening
pace of everyday life. As well, the taste of Renaissance Italy,
although exotic, can be realized using many of the landscaping
materials and fauna found locally.
What is A Tuscan Landscape?
Until the last hundred or so years
Mediterranean life for the common person was outdoors. Even the
wealthy had their homes open to the mild elements only closing the
shutters and doors at night and in storms. So it only stands to
reason that their living space included their gardens and patios.
homes are perennial and it is not uncommon to find ones that are over
500 years old. Some of their gardens have pathways of stone that are
even older, having been dug from the old Roman roads and ruins. This
makes for a maintenance-free design.
Weathered stone and/or brick
Several types of gravel gravels
Tumbled travertine patio tile.
Terra cotta planters, pots and
urns as patio features
Outdoor brick (terra cotta again)
fireplace built into the patio
Wrought iron fence pieces and
Trees and Shrubs
The contrasting of vivid green and
bright colors against the earthy hardscape is a truly striking
feature of the Tuscan setting.
Italian Cypress Trees: These
stately evergreens form the backdrop for the Tuscan setting. Besides
their grand appearance they give privacy to the backyard sanctuary.
In cold areas these may not be able to survive but a similar style
of cedar or yew can be used instead.
Olive Trees: This is
another backdrop for the Italian garden.
Vines: Another truly-Tuscan
feature are the grape and other creeping vines hanging over the
Citrus Trees: Like the
cypress these may not grow in colder areas but similar trees like
pears could be substituted.
These make wonderful hedges and look terrific along the
walkways in your garden. You can use boxwoods, bay trees, the yew
tree, and other plants which resemble the Tuscan variety.
Italian vegetables and herbs complete
the setting because the Mediterranean garden was never just for
viewing. Everything has its purpose and aroma. So even the mundane
cabbage comes alive in this setting. Herbs can be grown in a
variety of earthy containers and they make attractive arrangements
with very little effort. In addition tarragon, rosemary, sage,
basil and thyme are very aromatic. Lavender and other plants top this
blend with a mild perfume.
completes the Italian garden like a cornucopia of vegetables:
tomatoes, eggplant, bean and pea vines, peppers, cabbages (ornamental
as well). These gardens take maintenance but for many fanciers it is
a labor of love with a bonus of fresh produce.
A professional landscape service can
offer you many options when planning for your Tuscan backyard. And
like a traditional setting they can help you choose the right shrubs,
plants and trees to have continuous flowers in your garden paradise.