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Northwest Garden Tips for 2013

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Looking for some tips to garden smarter and not work harder? Here are five from Lowe's Northwest region garden contributor Marianne Binetti.

Blue forget-me-not-covers ground below star magnolia.

1. No Naked Soil
Nature abhors a vacuum, so if you leave space between your plants, weeds will grow. Instead of pulling weeds, add more groundcovers, perennials or mulch. In my garden I let blue forget-me-nots take over in the spring as a type of weed-blocking living mulch. Once the flowers fade, the plants are easy to pull up, or they can be left to reseed on their own. It also helps to call any blooming weed a wildflower.

2. Add Objects of Focus
Use an empty vessel any place you want to draw the eye or as a no-maintenance garden accent. An empty pot provides a contrast in texture that offsets plant material and can add height, color and drama to a bed. I like to use pots that narrow at the top so they look like they are supposed to be left empty.

3. Be Open to New Ideas
I was inspired by this garden furniture we saw in Holland. I keep new ideas like this in a file to inspire me during the winter months. Just wait until you see what new spring project this “lawn furniture” inspired me to create in my garden!

4. Consider the Leaf
Foliage that is variegated or golden really lights up the shaded areas of a garden. A collection of golden-leaf hosta, spirea and grasses provides color and visual contrast without the added labor of deadheading blooming plants.

5. Group a “Family” of Colorful Containers Together
I gather a papa-, mama-, and baby-size family of bright-blue pots on my porch for instant impact. You might set three red pots into a bed of evergreen shrubbery, or arrange a trio of black pots to sit in the corner of a patio. When you collect colorful pottery, you can fill pieces with low-care sedums or foliage plants and let the containers be the stars of the display.