It’s easy to say “mountain house”. What mountain are we talking about? Italy is a predominantly mountainous peninsula stretching from the European continent into the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Its mountains range from the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, to the forests of the central Apennines, to the wild and magnificent mountains of the South: Sila, Pollino, the Sicilian Apennines… not to mention the volcanoes, with their slopes full of pathos and wildlife.
This great geographical, geological and natural variety means that in order to identify practical advice for a mountain garden, we must first ask ourselves: which mountain? Which latitude? Which altitude?
Fragrant flowers and herbs
Spring and summer in the mountains arrive late, which is why every flowering plant must be loved and cared for with dedication and regularity. During the two summer months, mountain gardens overflow with colourful and cheerful flowers. Water and irrigation are usually not the problem, as the clouds happily gather along the mountain borders and provide the right amount of rain. Rather, it is the sun that needs to be watched, just as we would do for a garden by the sea (but for the opposite reason): the right exposure to the sun’s rays is essential for the growth of our favourite plants. Which can be huge bushes of hydrangeas in pastel colours if your garden is in the Apennines, balconies full of geraniums and surfinias if your house is in the Alps, broom and astragalus if your mountain home is in Sicily. A corner for aromatic herbs is a must in our mountain garden: a special place that will be full of scents and fragrances in the gardens in the southern mountains, and frugal but equally intense in those in the high mountains.
As with plants, the correct exposure of the garden in the mountains is also very important for “humans”: you need to find a place, facing south, where you can enjoy the sun’s rays even in winter or on cool summer evenings and above all where you can be protected from the wind. For this reason, it is useful to think about windbreaks, which can be hedges of plants and bushes with dense branches, such as mountain pine or cypress, or bushes of myoporum or oleander, depending on the latitude. In the high mountains, windbreaks made of rustic wood and glass are also very beautiful (and functional), so that you can enjoy every corner of the mountain landscape protected from the cold.
Mountain outdoor furniture
Mountain gardens are often enclosed by lovely wooden fences, simple and perfect for creating intimacy. If we have thought of a place protected from the wind, it is there that we will lay a wooden floor, where we will place the FRATINO table for lunches and snacks or our CHAISE LONGUE to stretch out and sunbathe in summer. In winter a nice chaise longue sheltered from the wind with a soft cushion and a warm woolen plaid (it’s very “Cortina style”, it’s true) can really be the best relaxing moment of the whole winter holiday!
Outdoor furniture in the mountains must withstand the elements, such as cold, rain, snow and frost, because at certain altitudes temperatures can reach 15-20 degrees below zero. It is therefore advisable to rely on outdoor professionals, such as KINDOF for example, who know how to combine style with resistance, thanks to the choice of materials, intelligent design and snow- and frost-proof finishes.
Sauna, why not?
The Finns know a lot about cold winter climates and have invented the perfect place to dream of tropical heat and recover from the cold: the sauna.
It may sound strange to you, but the idea of a sauna in a corner of your garden in the mountains could be a wonderful discovery! Especially for those who find themselves in a snow-covered garden in the middle of winter, the Finnish sauna can become a real pleasure… an immersion in the torrid heat with a dip in the snow and a run in the icy air, according to the dictates of the true Nordic sauna!