The soothing water feature spans the width of the yard. The alcove behind the lower spout conceals the pump, and the pipework goes to the top spout, which is set into a slate surface. The pool is made of concrete covered in a couple of coats of pond sealant paint. Limestone gravel at the bottom lightens it up, and nontoxic chemicals keep the water clear.
Work in good-looking natives. Not all native plants are created equal, in terms of either supporting wildlife or looking good in average-sized gardens. Choose plants that offer beautiful blooms, attractive seeds, foliage or plant form. Your best bet would be to visit a native plant nursery in your area for garden-friendly varieties. To get started, here are a few to choose from: Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii) Flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) Texas ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) Wild lilac (Ceanothus spp.) Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) Bluebell bellflower (Campanula rotundifolia)
Use railroad ties horizontally. Railroad ties have been popular for building steps and raised beds for a while, but you also can use them around the perimeter of your yard to create an edge for your borders. Here, two straight runs sit opposite each other, with smaller, more interesting beds at the end. Home improvement stores stock railroad ties. Whether you go for new or reclaimed ties, make sure you buy untreated ones since the chemicals can damage your plants.
Lay bricks flush with the surface. Bricks make a neat edge for your flower beds. For a streamlined look, lay them flush with the ground. This is particularly effective when the border is next to a lawn since the mower blades can easily move over it. These bricks separate the borders from the path and allow the flowers to hang over the walkway without blocking it. Bricks can be an inexpensive edging material. There are online tutorials that show you how to lay a row of bricks between the border and the lawn, but for a really attractive finish, it’s best to get help from an expert.
Bold foliage. A variety of foliage textures and colors shine in these tropical-themed window box and entryway planters designed by Todd Holloway of Pot Incorporated. Sprays of papyrus add drama and vertical interest above trailing ‘Snowstorm’ bacopa and gray-green variegated ground ivy, which produces pale purple flowers in spring. Tufts of lime green Japanese forest grass anchor each end. Plant list: Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus, zones 9 to 11) ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, zones 4 to 9) Bacopa Snowstorm (Sutera cordata, zones 9 to 11) Variegated ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea ‘Variegata’, zones 4 to 9)
Pink and white. Transitioning boxes from spring to summer offers an opportunity to swap out violas — which will quickly look spent as temperatures rise — for summer annuals like petunia, bacopa, lobelia and long-blooming perennials like geraniums. This colorful combination in New York by Astra Gardens features two types of pink geraniums, fragrant lavender for height and cloud-like billows of white lobelia.
When selecting plants and materials to surround a patio, Welsch advises that you keep it simple and repeat them. Clients love intimate spaces that feel private and calm, he says. “Keep plant and materials selections simple for a clean, elegant and calming oasis.” Here, he used a tight planting palette of white hydrangeas, Japanese forest grass and climbing roses, plus a few potted flowers for seasonal color.