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Bring the Mediterranean home in landscape design

The allure of the Mediterranean is leaving its imprint on Australian home and garden designs, with influences expected to reign well into 2024, according to landscape design expert Matt Leacy

Whether it’s the curve of a pool or the blend of timber and stone, the design elements synonymous with Mediterranean locales like the Italian coast and Greek Islands are more present than ever in Aussie homes.

 “I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t made it to the Italian coast, Greek Islands or other Mediterranean destinations over the European summer you at the very least know someone who has,” Matt says.

“The destination has been hugely popular for Australians, and this has spilt over to house and garden design.”

While Mediterranean inspiration isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s a trend that has cemented itself over the past year says Matt, who is the director and principal creative at Landart.

“Mediterranean influences in home design are by no means new, however they do continue to grow in popularity and are the most enduring and widely adopted design influence of the last twelve months,” he says.

Matt says the coastal aesthetic of Mediterranean design aligns perfectly with Australia’s climate and the material weather beautifully, but he says it’s critical to ensure the design fits with other elements of a home.

“We undertake a holistic approach to incorporating any influences – and ensure that it marries well with existing architecture,” he notes.

Key elements include natural materials and earthy tones. 

“We love working with neutrals and natural materials – they’ve long been a key component of our design palette,” Matt says.

“The focus is also on layering elements, from oversized planters to mood lighting, adding depth to both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

“It’s all about the layering of these elements.”

Nature also plays a key role in colour selection, Matt says.

“Colour-wise Leacy and the Landart team are leaning towards natural, earthy colours, fresh white palettes and the use of green – including strong colours such as emerald green – and blues,” he says.

Water-wise plant choices are a practical component of the Mediterranean trend, particularly with summer forecasts predicting dry, hot conditions.

“Water restrictions will soon be in place again, so choosing water-wise plants is a must,” Matt advises.

“Olive trees, aloes, rosemary, Bougainvillea, natives and sculptural succulents are excellent choices.”

For busy homeowners, smart irrigation systems controlled via smartphones are recommended, while Matt says rooftop gardens, for water capture and insulation, remain a popular design feature.

“The rise in popularity of plunge pools also makes sense in terms of water use in comparison to a large pool, maintenance for busy families and space,” Matt says.  

“And with the inclusion of swimming jets they can also be incredibly functional. 

“On our house builds we’re also getting more requests for use of skylights, curves in indoor structures such as kitchens and walls and softer colour palettes.  

“In my own house that Landart has designed and is currently constructing on Sydney’s Northern Beaches I’m also adding an indoor/outdoor water feature, built in internal garden beds and green roofs. 

“Biophilia will be very strong in my home.”

Matt says while it’s one thing to follow design and popular trends, it’s also critical to consider it in context with the rest of the home.

“We always encourage our clients not to be led by just one design style or be a slave to fashion – and instead to look at what will suit the overall space, giving cohesiveness from indoors to out,” he advises.

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