Tips For Creating a Moorish-Inspired Garden

Many of the modern principles of contemporary garden design can be traced back to the Islamic gardens of the Moorish period. Simplicity, minimalism, geometry, water use, structural planting and conservation can all be traced back to the early gardens of North Africa and southern Spain. Here are some tips for creating a Moorish-Inspired Garden in the UK:


Chelsea Flower Show GardenGive Your Garden a Private, Enclosed Feel


For early Moorish gardeners, the garden was a place of peace and quiet, of contemplation and reflection. Courtyard gardens were commonly enclosed within surrounding buildings. Even if you do not have your own courtyard garden, you can create a private, enclosed and relaxing feel with high garden walls or fences, and by careful placement of trees to obscure your garden seating area from view.


Water Moorish GardenIncorporate Water & Irrigation Channels


Water in a Moorish garden is not used extravagantly. It is a central element used reverentially and for practical as well as aesthetic purpose. It is important to view water as a valuable commodity, and the Moors developed sophisticated ways for using it to cool and to irrigate plants. Water often also had a spiritual element and an Islamic garden feel can be achieved by creating a central water feature with four geometric quadrants set out around it. Dry garden planting and strong design makes watering easier and reduces water use – useful even in the UK, especially as global warming continues to bite.


MosaicIncorporate Decorative Paving


Beautiful mosaic tiles and decorative paving are another common feature in Moorish garden design. Lawns were not a feature in the hot climates where these garden ideas originated. Using colourful tiles and decorative mosaic, geometric features around your garden, for paths and a patio area can help to give your garden a Moorish feel.


Outdoors seating shadeCreate A Cool, Covered Seating Area


Moorish gardens were often surrounded by arched arcades and you can incorporate a shaded seating area to mimic these cool, covered areas in your garden. Think about creating a shaded pergola on your patio to enjoy on hot summer days and in the cool of a summer evening. The idea of outdoor living areas originated in Moorish garden design.


Moorish gardenKeep Planting Simple and Structural, Yet Luxurious


Less is Moor when it comes to Moorish-inspired garden design. Clean lines and structure and geometry characterised these formal gardens. When creating your planting scheme, keep things simple and structural, yet remember that Moorish gardens were places for relaxation and enjoyment, so remember to incorporate a sense of luxury and calm in your design. Choose dry garden plants and trees to evoke the exotic spirit of North Africa and the palaces of southern Spain.