This inviting garden retreat was carved out of unused space by the side of a driveway. Instead of a blah lawn, the homeowners now have a wildlife refuge in their front yard. Best of all, it dazzles throughout the year.
Read on to see what plants peak in what seasons. Then be sure to check out the planting plan. You can duplicate the whole thing, or start with just a small portion.
SPRING: Vibrant greens and burgundies dominate as new foliage appears on shrubs and grasses.
Viburnum offers white flowers in the background while Knock Out roses provide a flush of red closer to the front. Cheerful yellow pansies have returned from fall. They’re joined in bloom by perennials (purple salvia and yellow coreopsis) and annuals (pink petunias and red verbenas). For an even earlier start, consider planting spring bulbs such as tulip and daffodil in fall.
SUMMER: As the heat increases, pansies give way to summer favorites such as dahlia and zinnia. Grasses mature, while Russian sage and sedum hit their stride. Elsewhere in the bed, white cleome towers above yellow lantana and yellow marigolds -- all heat-loving plants that can take some neglect.
FALL: Although only recently planted, the bed looks mature, thanks to an assortment of golds and reds.
Ornamental grasses shine with buff seedheads and sedum with pink flower clusters. Orange mums dazzle even from a distance. It all makes for a beckoning retreat.
WINTER: Thanks to trees and shrubs, and hardscaping elements such as a bench and birdbath, the garden bed’s structure shines even in winter. Urns filled with evergreen boughs, pinecones, redtwig dogwood branches, and fruit are the new focal points.
Hollies offer up their own berries, while snow tops off sedum flowerheads (now buff colored).
URNS: Three urns offer the perfect spot to seasonally update the garden bed. Adorn them with orange mums in fall; evergreen boughs and pinecones in winter; and ‘Red Star’ cordyline, red verbena, white bacopa, and lime and burgundy sweet potato vines from late spring through summer.
A) Dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), Zones 4–9
B) Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana), Zones 8–11 or annual
C) Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’, Zones 3–9
D) Dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’), Zones 4–7
E) Barberry (Berberis thunbergii), Zones 5–8
F) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), Zones 5–9
G) Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria), Zones 5–9
H) False cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera), Zones 4–8
I) Mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium), Zones 5–7
J) Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis), Zones 5–9
K) Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster ‘Hessei’), Zones 5–7
L) Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum), Zones 5–8
M) Bird’s nest spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’), Zones 3–8
N) Dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alata), Zones 4–9
O) Wine and Roses weigela (Weigela florida), Zones 5–8
P) Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), Zones 5–9
Q) Burgundy Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), Zones 5–8
R) Golden privet (Ligustrum spp.), Zones 4–8
S) Purpleleaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena), Zones 3–8
T) Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum), Zones 3–8
U) Redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba), Zones 2–8
V) Holly (Ilex x meserveae), Zones 5–9
W) Knock Out rose (Rosa spp.), Zones 4–9
X) Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), Zones 5–8
Y) Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora), Zones 4–9
Z) Salvia (Salvia nemerosa), Zones 5–9