By Jodi Torpey
If your Mountain region landscape didn’t live up to your early-season expectations, now’s the time for action. Take an objective look around to see what worked and what didn’t work with your landscaping this year. Then imagine some new possibilities.
Check those shady places. The most neglected area always seems to be in the shade. Instead of leaving that space empty, you can easily add some vibrant color.
Foliage plants, such as coleus, can create an entirely new look in a forgotten space. You can get a stunning effect by mixing different sizes of foliage plants in similar colors. Combining the same varieties in different colors makes for equally striking mixture.
Plant in layers. Select a colorful palette of flowers and perennial plants that differ in heights and textures. The combination of colors and forms pumps up the energy in an otherwise dull landscape.
To make the landscape look even fuller, you can squeeze in an extra layer or two by placing container plantings at the bottom of the garden. The combination of a planted landscape with colorful containers is unexpected and adds depth.
Pay attention to hardscaping. Even a simple flagstone path adds color and draws the eye into the landscape. When imagining a new view, think about arranging outdoor “rooms” by using arbors, trellises, walls, fences, and patios. Add table and chairs for a simple seating area, and the landscape suddenly invites more use.
Use surprising plant combinations. Most gardeners in our region wouldn’t think about planting tropical plants with ordinary cacti, but the combination works visually. The sculptural elements of the tall, green canna leaves with the spiky prickly pear cactus pads are an exciting mix. One caveat: because the plants require different amounts of moisture, you might want to raise the cactus in a pot with a rapid-draining soil mix, then hide it behind the canna foliage.
If you select plants with delicate pink flowers and plant a few chartreuse sweet potato vines, you get a brilliant, unexpected arrangement.
What kinds of landscaping ideas can you imagine for updating your Mountain region landscape?
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