Recently I was reading an article about 2023 gardening style trends. It referenced a current resurgence of passion for the Greek Garden. That sent me down a rabbit hole of beautiful fascinating looks at Greek-inspired gardens. However, so many of them are so pricy. So, I am curious about what we can do to enjoy this trend at a cheaper cost.
What Is Greek Gardening?
The initial article that I read about gardening trends describes Greek gardens using some of the following images:
- The use of stone all throughout the garden, but particularly stone walls
- Accented, of course, with marble, particularly marble columns
- Mediterranean fruit trees, of course – Cyprus and pomegranate
- As well as herbs and flowers that are great at handling drought, for wetter winters and drier summers – lavender, cysts, thyme
- And olives, of course, grow olives
- Create seating areas that are surrounded by arches that have climbing plants and tall trees around them
- Create different levels for the effect of Greece’s hills – raised beds, elevated patios, etc.
All of this makes a lot of sense to me. I haven’t been to Greece, but I’ve been to Mediterranean locations nearby, and this all resonates with what I’ve seen. Moreover, it makes sense for California gardens to adopt some Greek gardening ideas, since our climates have a lot of similarities.
Other Greek Gardening Details
Exploring a variety of other blogs and articles about Greek Gardens, here are some additional features I find listed:
- More fruit trees – lemons, limes, tangerines
- More herbs – rosemary, sage, oregano
- Succulents, add succulents
- Add just a splash of colorful red or pink with flowers like pelargoniums or bougainvillea
- Decorating with white and blue, those classic color that conjure up a Greek island
- Incorporate Greek tiles in the walkway, again think white and blue
- Add some terracotta pots
- Use stones to create intriguing lines and curves that give a geometric design to the landscape
- Put a table in the garden for outdoor dining
10 Tips for a Frugal Approach to a Greek Garden
In thinking about creating this type of garden, here’s what comes to mind about doing so frugally:
1. Start With Small Changes
The biggest mistake that you can make in terms of frugal gardening is to change everything all at once. Believe me, I get it – the urge to create the garden of your dreams in one fell swoop. However, you already have your garden, and even if it’s nothing like the Greek Garden that you want to create, it’s valuable exactly as it is. Therefore, don’t ruin what you’ve already got. Start small. Incorporate a little bit of stone here and there. Add some olive trees. Paint an exterior wall white with blue trim.
2. Get Creative with Stone
Stone is such a big features of Greek Gardens. And yet, stonework can be very pricy. While we would all love to enjoy fancy marble and exquisite stone arches, that’s not a frugal approach to enhancing our garden. So, instead, consider ways to more frugally incorporate the essence of this. Add a gravel walkway, for example. Look for some of the cheapest rocks – pea gravel, crushed granite, and river rocks are all good choices. They may not be exactly the Greek Gods of garden stone, but they help add that flavor and create beauty in your space.
3. Wait For Discounts For The Better Stuff
If you really want a stunning pergola or a marble arch, find ways to reduce the cost of adding such a feature to your garden. Check Craigslist and Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace and all of those types of spots for reduced cost items like this that people are eager to give away. Put the word out among your network that this is what you’re seeking and see if it finds its way to you.
4. Barter For What You Want, Especially Trees
Ready to add some of those great citrus trees to your garden? Instead of investing in them at full price, see if you can locate someone who already has some in their garden that they want to trade. What do you have in your garden that you can trade for the plants that you want? You can slowly add the Greek-inspired trees and herbs while slowly reducing the other plants in your garden just by making savvy trades.
5. Think Rustic
There are many different approaches to Greek gardens. Of course, you’re going to see a lot of Instagram-worthy perfection. However, rustic is absolutely another way to go that is authentically Greek. If you want to add an al fresco dining table to your Greek Garden, for example, think rustic in design. And think cheap. Yard sales and flea markets and online “free” messages are a great place to find the table as well as the seating and settings for it.
6. Don’t Shy Away From Terracotta Pots
Of course, very authentic high quality terracotta is going to cost you some money. But all of us can pretty easily get our hands on the cheaper alternatives. And they’re going to give you that same effect of a Greek Garden look. So, embrace them. When it’s time to do some repotting in your garden, think terracotta.
7. Incorporate Symmetry Into Your Redesign
Gardenista recommends using symmetry in your garden to help get the Greek effect. As you begin to make changes, adding and removing features, remember this. Mirror-image beds are one example. Look around your garden for key features spots and then ask yourself how you might create symmetry there.
8. Add a Statue or Two
While not all Greek Gardens incorporate these, many do. Moreover, you can easily give nod to the culture with statues and urns. Obviously, look for these at places like flea markets where you can get them at a bargain.
9. Emphasize Low Cost Herbs That Don’t Require Extensive Watering
This is such a key features of Greek Gardens. Moreover, it’s a really great way to grow the size and design of your garden without spending a lot of money. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender … these are all great options to build out your garden. Plus, you can use them in your kitchen, saving you money that way as well.
10. Use Recycled or Upcycled Materials for Creating Garden Levels
If you want to incorporate the idea of raised beds and slight terraces, then you can look for recycled materials to help you do so. Get your hands on some bricks or palettes that someone is giving away for free or cheap and put in the labor to make them look beautiful.
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Kathryn Vercillo is a long time writer, crafter and author of several books. A resident of San Francisco, she is committed to helping others explore, articulate and share their own individuals stories. When she’s not evaluating investing opportunities Kathryn is an avid knitter, researcher, and blogger.