Aesthetic Inspiration and Design Lessons from the Majorelle Garden In Morocco

As I put together my ‘Spanish Blue Dancer inspired garden moodboard, I came across, again and again,  the Jardin du Majorelle in Marrakesh.  My wanderlust has been calling to me from Morocco (and India, too) for some time, so I was happily obliged to further explore the blue garden. Care to join me for a little armchair garden travel? And along the way, we can learn how-to design from the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh, Morocco, is renowned for its stunning design, characterized by vibrant colors, lush greenery, and tranquil ambiance. It was created (and then later maintained) by some of the most inspiring designers in the world and it is full of inspiration that you can learn from to make your own iconic garden.

A tranquil fountain surrounded by lush greenery and palm trees, viewed from behind a textured curtain.
image by Jorge Saturno
An ornamental Majorelle Garden with vibrant blue accents and a variety of cacti and succulent plants.

White Irises

image by samuel besnard

Cherry Blossom

image by Franck

An ornate window with traditional Moroccan design, framed by vibrant blue walls of Majorelle Garden and flanked by potted plants.

Combine Known Design styles – Even if they don’t seem like they go together

The property was originally created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, the garden reflects his artistic vision and passion for botanicals. Majorelle designed the garden as an artistic masterpiece, blending elements of Moorish and Art Deco styles with his own creative flair.

Design Idea: Why not combine unexpected design styles (I mean who else have you seen combining Moorish with Art Deco?) to create you own unique

A vibrant blue wall with a decorative window framed in yellow, reminiscent of the Majorelle Garden, flanked by two large yellow pots with agave plants.
image by jean-marc
A blue ceramic vase with intricate cut-out patterns against a Majorelle Garden-inspired background.

Stacked Blue Terracotta Sculpture

image by Forbes Johnston

Shadowy Palms

image by laurent

Palm tree shadows cast on the blue textured surface of Majorelle Garden.

Create a Signature Element to Have a Signature look

Majorelle is known around the world as the Blue garden. That vivid blue is so iconic that we all know it just by the color – “Majorelle Blue.”

That color is one of the most distinctive features of the Majorelle Garden. This intense shade of cobalt blue, used extensively throughout the garden, creates a striking contrast against the lush greenery and serves as a unifying element in the design.

Design Tip: Why not have a signature color for your garden? Or a signature plant? What about a Motif? Or something that will make it memorable and significant to you.

A desert garden with a variety of cacti and palm trees under overcast skies.

The Cactus Garden at Majorelle

image by Zaloa Etxaniz

Barrel Cactus Blossoms

image by Zaloa Etxaniz

Barrel cacti with blooming orange flowers.
Vibrant blue building in Majorelle Garden surrounded by tall cactus plants.
The art deco style house is surrounded by a forest of tall cactus. Image by John Taylor
Close-up of a blue agave plant with prominent spiky edges in Majorelle Garden.
image by Louisa Thomson

Build in An Element of Surprise

Majorelle was an avid plant collector, and the garden boasts a diverse array of exotic plants from around the world. Palm trees, cacti, bamboo, bougainvillea, and water lilies are just a few examples of the botanical treasures found within the garden, contributing to its rich tapestry of colors and textures.

The variety and the juxataposition of these plants is unexpected – surprising and therefore interesting.

Design Tip: Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Lean into your interests and be different, the surprising places that will lead will always make your designs better.

A vibrant Majorelle Garden pond with floating water lilies and blue-painted edging flanked by decorative green vases.
image by samuel besnard
A vibrant yellow pot with a plant, surrounded by cacti against a Majorelle Garden blue backdrop.

Yellow Egg pot and cactus

image by mhobl

An Allee of palms and pots/

picture by Zaloa Etxaniz

A pathway lined with palm trees and blue planters leading to a building in a garden.
A frog and a snail on water lily pads in a pond.

Lily pads in the fountain at Majorelle

picture by Zaloa Etxaniz

Delicate ferns against a yellow backdrop.

image by laurent

Delicate green fern leaves set against a vibrant yellow background in the Majorelle Garden.

Build off A Timeless Base Structure

The layout of the Majorelle Garden is influenced by traditional Islamic garden design principles, which prioritize symmetry, geometric patterns, and a sense of serenity. Visitors can explore a series of meandering pathways, tranquil pools, and shaded alcoves, creating an immersive experience that encourages relaxation and contemplation.

Design Tip: If you build a house, or a piece of art, or anything off the proven tenets of classical design you will have a structure that you can build on and it will help you express your own style, while making sure it still works.

A woman sitting on steps reading a brochure beside a bright yellow pot with plants in Majorelle Garden.
image by Georgie Pauwels
A variety of cacti and succulents against a backdrop of vibrant blue and yellow walls in Majorelle Garden.
image by timj.b

Always Add Art

In addition to its botanical beauty, the Majorelle Garden features several artistic installations, including ornate Moorish fountains, intricate tile work, and decorative archways. These architectural elements add to the garden’s visual appeal and provide focal points for visitors to admire.

Design Tip: Find a way to add in Art – It will elevate your garden.

An ornate metal grille with floral patterns, reminiscent of the Majorelle Garden, in front of a window, behind which a person is partially visible.

Window screens at Majorelle Gardens

image by Bernard DURET

Cactus, Palms, Bright Blue Buildings, and Yellow Curtains

image by Bernard DURET

Vibrant blue building with yellow accents in Majorelle Garden behind palm leaves and cacti under a clear sky.
A vibrant blue courtyard with traditional moroccan architecture, featuring tall cacti and visitors exploring the space.
The huge CactII! image by Zaloa Etxaniz

Let your Creations Always continue to Evolve

Following Jacques Majorelle’s death, the garden fell into disrepair until it was purchased and restored by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé in the 1980s. Their meticulous restoration efforts ensured the preservation of Majorelle’s original vision while introducing new elements to enhance the garden’s allure.

Overall, the design inspiration for the Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh reflects a harmonious blend of artistic creativity, botanical splendor, and cultural heritage. But it isn’t static.

Design Tip: Don’t try to hold your design in one place. Plants, features, envirnments, wildlife, and even you will come and go and change. Accept that gardens evolve constantly.

Palm tree surrounded by lush vegetation with a blue circular border in a garden setting.
image by Zaloa Etxaniz
Vibrant red flowers cascading over a bold blue wall.
Red bouganvilla pops off the majorelle blue wall. image by Zaloa Etxaniz
A tranquil garden with lush greenery, a tiled fountain, and exotic buildings, evoking a sense of serene oasis.
image by Zaloa Etxaniz
A vibrant blue building with yellow accents in Majorelle Garden, partially obscured by lush greenery under a cloudy sky.
image by jean-marc

Have you been to this place?

More Information About Majorelle Gardens

Bergé wrote a book about the place that is part of the series ‘Small Books about Great Gardens’ and is called Majorelle: A Moroccan Oasis (Small Books of Great Gardens).

I think it is easy to understand why this garden was created by a painter and subsequently purchased by another designer. The play of light and the inspiration on offer is a dream.

The garden also houses Yves St Laurent’s collection of Islamic Art, is full of exotic and rare plants and at least eleven North African bird species not found anywhere else.

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  1. Ann Marie says:

    I love the blue in these images. Just so happy a color.

  2. Leslie says:

    I have been dreaming about Morocco lately and these images are fabulous!

  3. Nitheen says:

    beautiful color and a lovely place.

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