Who wouldn’t want their very own oasis, especially if they knew it could double as a wildlife refuge? This four-season bed scores on both fronts.
You’re more likely to linger in your garden if you’re comfortable, so start with a small seating area. We stationed a concrete bench under an existing tree to gain some shade, then added durable plants with attractive color, texture, and shape.
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. In the foreground: cheerful yellow pansies joined by perennials (purple salvia and yellow coreopsis) and annuals (pink petunias and red verbenas). For an even earlier spring show, plant tulip and daffodil bulbs in fall.
As temperatures rise, cool-season pansies give way to summer standouts dahlia and zinnia. Grasses mature, while perennials Russian sage and sedum hit their stride. They’re all heat-loving plants that can take some neglect.
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.
With trees, shrubs, and hardscaping elements such as a bench and birdbath, the garden bed has handsome structure in winter. Urns filled with evergreen boughs, pinecones, redtwig dogwood branches, and fruit are the new focal points. Hollies offer red berries, while snow tops off buff-colored sedum flowerheads.
The seating area is part of a larger bed carved from unused space by the side of a driveway. A bed like this can be cut down to size to fit any landscape. Start with the seating area, then expand it as time and energy permit.
- 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