How to build a Moroccan garden

May 17, 2012

We made a false start at landscaping last spring, our first spring after we bought this house in Fall 2010. Maybe we didn’t have a clear vision or maybe we picked the wrong guy to work with, because we abandoned the job before it began.

But when we were in Morocco in March, our vision was clear: we wanted our courtyard that evoked the gardens we saw.

The courtyard was a fairly blank canvas, so there was a lot to do. The before photos:

View from street into courtyard, before
From courtyard to street

We’d talked to a landscaper I liked last year, so I emailed her from Morocco. I didn’t want to waste a moment. A few days after our return, Rebecca came over to talk and measure. Color–we’re crazy about it and wanted a lot in the landscaping. We loved the plans she presented the following week. We set an installation date for the weekend after we returned from Rochester.

First, a pile of mulch arrived.

Then, we met Rebecca at the nursery to select plants. Remember THIS?

 Blue and purple were prevalent in Moroccan gardens. We’d bought a few new pots and spray painted some glazed ones we already had. 

On the appointed day, the crew arrived and prep work began. We decided that the large expanse of front lawn also needed attention and we liked Rebecca’s plan for it.

These guys worked their butts off.

It was a little nerve-wracking to see such a drastic change on the lawn. Plus they had to modify our automatic sprinkler system. And then, the plants that wouldn’t get water from the lawn sprinklers had to go on a drip system. Most of them, anyway.

Rebecca placed the plants and flowers in the locations where they’d get the right amount of sunshine, something I’m terrible at.

When I heard pink palms were part of the plan, I got excited.

We got a few of these beauties. Love-love-love them.

Here’s one planted.

Finally, the courtyard was ready to unveil. We’re adding a few more plants soon, and there’s a little more work to be done to the sprinkler system, but this is basically how it turned out. The photos don’t do it justice.

The approach to the front door.

I like how she grouped the pots on the sidewalk. It looks like we need a few more potted plants beside the door and I’ve bought a few. Sometimes I’ve just got to see it before I know what’s needed to fill out the space. I think scale is an issue to work on, too. And of course, it takes time to grow all this stuff so the ground fills in..

Close-up of the pot arrangement

That taller pot holds a dwarf mandarin orange tree. Every plant in this group is on a drip system.

Kitchen window

Love the hanging baskets above our bougainvillea, which was original. Plus we added more bougies in other parts of the courtyard.

View of kitchen window from a few steps back
Another basket elsewhere in courtyard, near where the fountain will go.
M’s office window

M is color blind and can only see reds, oranges and yellows, so we made sure to put something he can enjoy outside his window.

When these plants and flowers grow up, it’ll be lovely.

You can’t tell, but there’s a little, new bougie against the wall adjacent to the arch, above. We’ll train it to go over the arch. and meet its companion on the other side. There’s also a white bird of paradise. It hasn’t bloomed yet.

Outside of the archway, another bougie on the right, see it? Again, it’ll go over the arch.  Eventually, we’ll also add an iron gate. Maybe even a bench.

Near the front door

Our mail person will have a nice view on her approach, too.

We widened the planting area on the left and added some new greenery on the right.

Better view of the right side shown in prior photo.
Against the front of the house, on the left facing courtyard. Another pink palm!

The curb looks entirely different. Pink palm again. Do you see a trend?

Growing and filling it all in takes time. Rebecca says it’ll take about two years.

You’re probably wondering where our Moroccan fountain will go. Right there, where the placeholder is, above, against the blank wall.

The fountain ships from Morocco to Orlando in early June. Once Ali in Orlando checks it out and puts the pump in, he’ll ship it to us.  M. is installing a little slab against the wall and when the fountain arrives, it’ll roll into place. We don’t expect it until August.

Oh, you want to see the fountain? Here it is:

Our Moroccan garden is a work in progress, but we’ve finally made a start. What do you think?

5 comments on “How to build a Moroccan garden
  1. Lisa Brock says:


  2. Thanks, Lisa! I’m impatient for it to all grow in –want to snap my fingers and see it in all its glory. But I love what we’ve done and can’t wait til the fountain arrives. Every day will be a reminder of our trip! xoxo

  3. Cindy says:

    It looks fantastic. All I could think of while reading the post is that all the color will make this a happy yard and courtyard!

  4. Aww Cin, thanks! We love it and can’t wait til we get the fountain…and until it all grows in. ;-)))

  5. Cheri says:


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