Tuscan garden style can range from the most rustic of farm courtyard with a few chickens running around to elegant, Renaissance villas with formal gardens and elaborate water features.
For most of us the rustic Tuscan garden style is the style that we aim to create in own properties.
Both of these styles can be addressed within one large garden but careful attention must be paid to detail, as it is detail that suggests any chosen theme in a garden. Often details such as flooring are overlooked, resulting in a confusing style that creates imbalance within the garden.
In order to suggest a rustic, Tuscan feel we can choose several flooring styles that pick up on Tuscan nuances. The first being re-clamed terracotta bricks that can be used for patios and pathways providing a soft bridge between the house and the land and a low maintenance solution for vegetable and flower gardens. With just a quick sweep terracotta paths can be maintained in pristine condition and the very name terracotta (cooked earth) suggests a harmonious natural and rustic solution for our Tuscan style garden. Be sure to choose a brick that has been fired to withstand being placed on the dirt, as otherwise they will simply crack in the cold and damp of winter.
Gravel is another wonderful flooring solution for Italian gardens but choose a colour with natural tones and do not be tempted to use white or grey coloured gravel. Grey gravels can become rather depressing and dull on rainy, winter days and tend to rob light from our Tuscan garden, whereas white gravels can reflect too much bright sunlight and become garish and rather sterile. Italian cemeteries often use white, crushed marble gravel and the use of white gravel will pick up on too many nuances of the cemetery, which is from positive.
Be sure to use a river-washed gravel as opposed to a mechanically crushed form of gravel because firstly it is more aesthetically harmonious and will not stick to your shoes and be carried into the house as a crushed gravel will.
The use of gravel as an alternative to the lawn around the house will firstly eliminate the hours of your year- dedicated to mowing and maintaining a lawn and you will be able to use the area immediately after a rainstorm, without trudging wet mud and grass into the house!
Place a layer of at least 10cm over a builders felt to prevent weed growth.
Aromatic herbs, Iris, Sedums and many other Mediterranean plants grow in gravel in their natural state, so therefore are all perfectly adapted to a gravel garden scenario.