As with all the revival themes, this garden style is best suited for homes that have authentic architectural features. However, a two-story home with a low-pitched tile roof and a prominent tower, columns, a recessed porch, or weathered stone accents, are enough elements to invoke the design of a Italian Revival Garden. Porches are a standard feature of the Italian style. Having columns, and typically the width of the entry, they are known as porticos.
Beginning with formal layout for hardscape areas, the back yard gardens feature a formal patio soldiered with balustrades, rectangular stone surfaces, and curved archways with detailed wood gates. Gates are an important feature in the Italian garden. The entertainment patio area features classic furniture with a stone veneer fireplace and statuary. Wall fountains adorn the patio walls. Ivory and brown tones dominate the hardscape. Predominant greens and grays work well with annual color and flowering shrubs.
Italian Revival Elements: “Formal but weathered” is the theme for the Italian hardscape. Patios, driveways, and walkways should be tumbled pavers, European-style stone, exposed aggregate or textured concrete. The symmetrical pool and spa is set in a natural stone deck. Classic concrete balustrades line the front and backyard porches and patios. Detailed wood gates with archways lead to a symmetrical garden with potted plants. A pergola is always an excellent choice for the Italian garden. A wood and iron bench hugs the walkway while classic garden ornaments complete the garden.
Italian Revival Plants: The plant layout should be formal with informal accents, a naturalized look with dramatic leaves, colorful foliage, clipped hedges, and groups of potted shrubs. Tree selections include Dwarf Columnar Cypress or Junipers, specimen Date Palms, Pines, Fern Pines, Olive Trees, and Strawberry Trees with multiple trunks. The formal hedges, typically adjacent to the patio area, must be kept low and consist of shrubs with small leaves such as Boxwood or Eugenia or Dwarf Holly. Informal shrub areas feature Lavenders, Gardenias, Mock Orange, Daylilies, Fortnight Lilies, Iceberg Roses, Lily of the Nile, Society Garlic, and Floral Carpet Roses. If a formal rose garden is incorporated into the design, the area must be planned carefully. Flowering vines soften the walls while citrus espaliers, Dwarf Oranges, Dwarf Lemons, and Dwarf Limes adorn large, non-windowed wall areas.