Spanish terraced gardens


Many gardens started out as abandoned agricultural terraces. If one is lucky they have intact dry stone walls. If unlucky the walls have colapsed or were only earth in the first place and are now slolpes rather than walls of earth from the erosion of wind and rain. Each can be turned into delightful multi level gardens with character as is ours. Until we show visitors  photographs of the plot of land before we started they hardly believe what we have done. But it did take a few years of dedication!

Possibilities for good condition walls

The top and face of good condition dry stone walls lend themselves to the deveopment of closely planted rockeries with larger plants on top and small plants pocked into the gaps between the stones on the front face. Photographs on page 85 of our book ‘Your Garden in Spain – From planning to planting and maintenance’ illustrate what is possible.

Poosibilities for poor condition walls

If the walls are in poor condition  due  to errosion, damage by animals or collapsed by earthquakes you have the choice of repairing/rebuiding them, reducing the height and sloping the soil above the lower wall, or designing the area with a lower wall with a bed in front fronted by a low wall of the fallen rocks. The land will then slope more gently than originally. Part of our garden was ftrrated this way. Three terraces becoming six.

Possibililities for well preserved earth walls.

There are several possibilities including the following.

1.Plant sizeable plants in a bed infront which will not be affected by crumbling earth falling onto the back of the bed.

2. Plant ground cover plants half a metre to a metre back fom the top edge and train them to trail over and down the face of the bank. If you plant closer to the top of the bank roots could losen the well consolidated bank and cause sections to collapse .

3. Build a raised bed in front.


Poosibikities for eroded earth walls

Again there are several optiions including the following.

1. Build a dry stone or concreted wall in front.

2. Create a stable slope rather than a bank with winding sloping paths from top to bottom.

3. Create a semi circular stepped or sloping ampitheatre effect.


Getting down walls , banks and slopes

Build steps or gentle slopes. Make them wide. Provide railings if elderly persons will need to use them. Make the height and depth of steps comfortable to walk down and up. Remember that you may want to move a wheelbarrow up and down!.

Not only can you create exceptional Spanish and other Mediterranean gardens on terraced sites but you will gain useful exercise in the process if physically fit to do so.

Come to think of it it is a good while since we visited a level garden. All the people we have advised have had sloping challenges.
Stop press.

During July we recieved an email from persons who are creating a large garden between Col de Rata and Callosa    . Unfotunately the email disaapeared when we clicked to reply and we have not been able to retrieve it. If you read this please recontact us asap. Thank you and apologies for the inconvenience.

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