Bone Structure is Key to a Garden’s Success
Home owners are often taken aback when they realize, after many hours of prep time and intensive labor, their lovely and very expensive collection of plants in the garden are nothing more than too many lovely and expensive plants in a forgettable outdoor space.
The most memorable and eye-catching gardens are those with strong internal hardscape structure. Too many plants not separated and defined by hardscaping, a word landscaper architects and designers use to describe more permanent fixtures that give a garden its shape, depth, and framework for the plants, can be uninspiring and over- whelming.
Great landscapes get their character from lovely bones: stone work, benches, water features, garden accents, sculptures, terraces, garden lighting, containers/planters, patios, arbors/pergolas, custom fences and gates, and the edging around your plant beds. All the elements that aren’t plants!
When you add a bench, a large rock, or a delightful curving stone path to a large grouping of your beautiful plants or a garden bench, suddenly the garden comes to life with its own story to tell. Your garden will capture the attention of your guests, and if you look closely, you’ll see them leaning in as they marvel at your gardens, as if they’re listening to your garden tell its story for the very first time.
Containers Create Curb Appeal
An easy way to create effective curb appeal is to frame an entry to your home. A couple of containers dropped into the right spot will not only add a welcome addition of color, but all eyes will be drawn to your new focal point. It’s a simple way to make a great change the front of your home. The bonus? It’s a project that can be completed in a single afternoon.
Find a container that makes a dramatic statement. And think about what colors will have the greatest impact without taking away from your existing landscape — you want your new containers to blend in. I added two over-sized containers, below, to my front landscape, and I change the flowers and plants as often as the spirit moves me.
This month at my own home I’ve added purple and Lavendar ‘Wave’ Petunias with Ipomea ‘Blackie’; Black Potatoe Vine and Carex d. ‘Kaga-nishiki’; and Gold Fountains Sedge. The purble gently guides the eye to my front door.
An Instant Garden Solution
You’ve planned your landscape, spent months choosing your plantings, and something doesn’t take. What to do?
A bare area in a garden space can be fixed by dropping in a pot of blooms, fruits or vegetables. Pots allow for a more fluid and adaptable gardenspace, making it easy to change to seasonal needs and aesthetic choices. You can place potted plants in places where the soil is unsuitable for a particular variety, and if you have a small terrace or balcony, you can add scale with potted climbers such clematis. The options are endless.
To keep your potted plants healthy, even if they don’t need replanting, remember to replensih the soil each year. Remove 2-4 inches of soil and avoid harming fragile feeder roots. Refill with fresh soil mixed with slow release fertilizer.
Winter is coming and for those of us who plant multi-seasonal gardens, the garden show continues with some of our favorites about to take center stage. If you find yourself in the need of a new blast of color this year, there are some easy ways to do so that won’t break the bank.
Introduce new shrubs that will add colorful stems to your landscape. One of my favorites is the Yellow Twig Dogwood for its display of the most beautiful shade of gold in winter.
Display colorful containers. Add additional winter interest in unique and eye-catching containers in garden areas that may look barren during winter. Also add colorful containers in strategic areas that will enhance your winter landscape views from your home.
Add Garden Accents. While one of my favorite garden accents is a nice colorful shrub, think about adding a plant with colorful berries, such as Nandina. A metal sculpture, such as the penguin we sent to my in-laws in Los Angeles, can introduce some whimsical fun, while adding a new focal point.