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   A Tuscan Backyard
 
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Despite 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?

Hardscape

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.

Tuscan 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.

  1. Weathered stone and/or brick

  2. Several types of gravel gravels

  3. Tumbled travertine patio tile.

  4. Terra cotta planters, pots and urns as patio features

  5. Outdoor brick (terra cotta again) fireplace built into the patio

  6. Wrought iron fence pieces and utensils

Trees and Shrubs

The contrasting of vivid green and bright colors against the earthy hardscape is a truly striking feature of the Tuscan setting.

  1. 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.

  2. Olive Trees: This is another backdrop for the Italian garden.

  3. Vines: Another truly-Tuscan feature are the grape and other creeping vines hanging over the patio walls.

  4. Citrus Trees: Like the cypress these may not grow in colder areas but similar trees like pears could be substituted.

  5. Tuscan-Style Shrubs: 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.

Herbs

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.

Vegetables

Nothing 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.

Designs

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.