The cool, contemporary features of this garden are complemented by adding textures and color with other contrasting materials. Native plants in the background soften the concrete planters, and the comfortable wood outdoor couch is made even more inviting with the addition of colorful, overstuffed pillows and a cozy throw blanket. Who wouldn't want to curl up next to that fire pit on a crisp California evening?
Meet a Japanese holly that sparkles in part shade or full sun. The gold-tone leaves won’t burn on this evergreen plant grows 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. Use it in containers, to edge paths or beds or as a colorful addition to rock gardens. Hardy in Zones 5-8. Botanical name: Ilex crenata
The colorful foliage of coral bells (Heuchera) adds texture and interest to the spring, summer and fall garden — and winter in warm climates. Here, 'Marmalade' is a blend of deep gold and hot pink. Give heucheras moist, well-drained soil, part to full shade in the South. USDA Zones 4 to 9.
This little tent can go anywhere! We built this small-scale tent frame with simple garden trellis cut to the desired size. Connect the two pieces at the top with a couple of hinges to create an A-frame. Drape a colorful flat sheet or table cloth over the frame, then when it’s time to pack up camp, just fold it up for easy storage.
Take time to select tomatoes that suit your growing conditions. Typically if a tomato is for sale in your area, you’ll get good results. If local garden clubs, master gardeners or public gardens have plant sales, that’s a terrific spot to find tomatoes adapted to your region. Also select tomatoes that work for how you intend to use them. You can find ‘maters for slicing, sauce making or salads. This orange roma tomato (above) is ‘Sunrise Sauce.’ It’s the only non-heirloom orange paste tomato on the market and whips up a bright sauce that’s as delicious as it is colorful. Lastly, choose varieties that deliver the flavor you crave. For instance, tomatoes exist that offer low acid, higher lycopene content, smoky overtones or intense sweetness.
Landscape glass is a type of recycled glass that’s bright and colorful. It’s a permanent mulch that doesn’t break down. Install glass mulch over high quality (commercial grade) landscape fabric so it doesn’t sink into soil. The glass is tumbled to remove sharp edges, but it does pose a threat to soft-bodied critters like slugs. Glass mulch is popular in xeriscape garden designs.
For colorful leaves that thrive in shade, it’s tough to beat caladium. This variety, Artful Fire and Ice, unfurls leaves that look like a painter crafted them with splashes of green, pink, rose and white. Give caladiums a spot in full to part shade, although in northern gardens, plants can withstand more sun. Keep soil consistently moist for best growth and color. You’ll know you’re failing if leaves turn yellow and drop. Fire and Ice caladium grows 18 to 30 inches tall and12 to 18 inches wide. The other annuals in this container thrive in part shade: Diamond Frost euphorbia and Black Cherry Supertunia.
Pamper yourself by transforming an outdoor space into a custom retreat. Japanese forest bathing research shows that time spent in the Great Outdoors brings significant health benefits—lower blood pressure, less stress, greater empathy. Green spaces soothe both body and brain, and you can reap the results with a spot in your own yard. Start your project by choosing an area with easy access. A small deck, porch, patio or corner of a garden provides a terrific foundation for a home-sweet-home getaway. Approach your project with an eye to design by including touches that speak to your style (retro? chic? urban?). You don’t have to spend big bucks to make it work. This welcoming retreat features a crate coffee table that blends beautifully with wooden chairs. Pots of colorful annuals bring nature near. Annuals include purple Angelonia with Raven (dark) sweet potato vine, Yellow Chiffon superbells, Royal Velvet supertunia, and ‘Banana Cream’ Shasta daisy with Vertigo purple fountain grass.