In garden circles, plectranthus is known as the plant with a funny name that delivers big, strong color. ‘Velvet Elvis’ is no exception. Leaves offer a fuzzy touch with a deep green top and violet-purple underside. Lavender flowers rise on 4-inch spikes that last easily through summer heat. Use ‘Velvet Elvis’ in pots or planting beds—pair it with ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera or ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’). Plants grow 28 inches tall and 31 inches wide.
It’s important to cover soil beneath tomatoes with a mulch of some kind, such as straw, grass clippings, compost or shredded leaves. Many tomato diseases spend part of their time living in soil. When rain hits soil, particles splash up and can land on lower tomato leaves, leading to a disease outbreak. Covering soil is one way to help control tomato diseases. Mulch also helps soil stay moist, which helps ensure a hefty tomato crop. Another reason to mulch is that it suppresses weeds.
Trade lawn for a long and lovely rain garden, complete with a bridge to span the water collection basin. This rain garden creates a focal point in the landscape with its footbridge. It’s part of an environmentally friendly front yard that replaces water guzzling lawn with eye-catching planting beds. The upper edges of the rain garden feature creeping thyme, which forms a green carpet. Plantings in the basin include ornamental fescue grass, sedge and other regionally-hardy perennials. The bridge elevates the rain garden to a landscape showpiece, tying it to the surrounding setting.
When digging a fresh edge on planting beds, excavate all loose soil, stones and bits of grass. Use turf slices to patch bare spots in your lawn. To make edging easier, sharpen the half-moon edger with a file so it has a fresh, sharp edge. Plan your edging following rain, because slicing into soil is easier when it’s wet. When you’re done edging, clean the edging tool, sharpen it, and apply a light coat of oil (a quick spray with an aerosol penetrating oil works well).
For the Daniels Lane Residence, the client expressed a desire for a natural landscape. The vision was to create a place where the home was organically integrated into the landscape. LaGuardia Design Group started by using native plants that followed the color and texture of the home as well as the movement of the ocean, drawing it all together. Cape American Beach Grass and Red Fescue were used, which both move fluidly in the wind bringing water like elements to the dry land.
Native Americans called broadleaf plantain “white man’s foot,” because it seemed to appear everywhere white settlers went. Touted as a healthy backyard weed with various benefits, broadleaf plantain can create a small colony that resembles a ground cover if grass is thin and soil is dry and compacted. Hand pulling this weed is an effective solution, especially with small infestations. Plants have a fibrous root system and come up easily with a Three-Claw Garden Weeder. Or spray plants with an herbicide any time they are actively growing.
Color reigns in this statuesque selection of a native tall prairie grass. Windwalker big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii ‘PWIN01S’) unfurls powdery blue leaves that turn shades of plum and purple in fall. In autumn, burgundy seed heads stand even taller above the tinted leaves. Windwalker has a strong upright form that retains its shape through winter. Cut clumps back to 3 inches in early spring before new growth begins. Plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Oriental lilies are showstoppers in the summer garden, opening richly colored and intensely fragrant blooms. Flowers appear from mid- to late summer and can linger for a few weeks. Oriental lilies grow from bulbs, which are best planted in fall in colder zones. Lily stems grow 24 to 48 inches tall and usually benefit from staking. Plants often spread over time to form a clump from 12 to 36 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9. Good vase companions for Oriental lily: hosta or baptisia leaves, ribbon grass, garden phlox or bee balm.
Twenty six floors above the Las Vegas strip, these homeowners were interested in a space that is relaxing and rejuvenating after a long day, so designers incorporated elements of Zen and relaxation to give the couple a spa feel to their master suite. Color rich textiles and multifaceted textures cover every surface in this master retreat. Heavy weight window coverings help to keep out light and noise. The tēte-á-tēte sofa is covered in high style jade iridescent fabric and is accented with silk and velvet throw pillows. A globally sourced custom mural originating from Thailand was made into a headboard, while metallic grass cloth wallpaper accents the space.
Get the look of an ornamental grass with ‘Bowles Golden’ sedge (Carex elata). This grassy plant pumps out gold leaves that bring a soft glow to part shade bog gardens. Sedge can grow in water 2 to 3 inches deep and does best in acidic soil. Most importantly, it needs constant moisture to thrive. ‘Bowles’ Golden’ carex looks great planted with blue hosta or dark leaf heuchera. Plants grow 24 to 36 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Kelsey and Trip Purks purchased an older home with an outdated appearance, but it is in a great location and within their price range. The original exterior of the house was white-painted wood with red shutters and the landscaping was overgrown. They have asked Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines to transform the look of the home to better suit their style. Chip and Jo have repainted the siding a modern gray/green and the shutters black. They kept the original Dutch door and painted it with a faux finish to look like a dark stained wood grain. They updated the landscaping and added new grass, as well as a new walkway that matches the brick of the chimney.
When leaves bring the color, the show never stops. These gorgeous foliage plants fill shady pots or planting beds with season-long good looks. One way to create an eye-catching display is to plant pots with one type of shade-loving annual. Cluster the pots together to create a striking garden tableau. This shade garden features (clockwise from bottom center): glowing gold millet grass (Milium effusum), Kong Red coleus, a hanging basket of Emerald Falls dichondra, Chocolate Mint coleus and Kong Rose coleus. These plants all grow best in full shade to part sun.
Who says shrubs in pots can’t be stunning? This icy combination features variegated My Monet weigela (top center, Weigela florida ‘Verweig’), a spring blooming shrub with green and white leaves. Plants are deer resistant and grow best in part to full sun. In this container, companion plants include (clockwise from left) Diamond Snow euphorbia, Silver Bullet wormwood, Snow Princess sweet alyssum and fiber optic grass. To keep My Monet thriving in pots year-round in Zones 5 and colder, provide winter protection by planting the shrub into the ground in early fall or storing the pot in a spot where temps stay between 25°F and 50°F through winter. My Monet grows 12 to 18 inches high and 18 to 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-6.
"Bamboo has been around for a long time, but what we are seeing lately is an explosion of colors and styles," says Dean Howell, president of Atlanta-based MODA Floors & Interiors. While technically a fast-growing grass, bamboo is as hard or harder than most hardwoods when dried. Newer products called strand-woven bamboo, a highly engineered product using the inner fibers, are twice as hard as traditional bamboo flooring. Dean says that in addition to the common thin-banded styles shoppers have become accustomed to, bamboo is offered in wide-plank styles that mimic the look of classic hardwoods. As with all wood flooring, it's best to keep bamboo out of moisture-prone rooms like kitchens and baths.
Grubs are the precursor to various types of beetles. One of the most destructive grubs is Japanese beetle, which lives in turf. These critters chew through grass roots, creating dead patches in your lawn. The best time to control grubs is in early fall, when they’re young and feeding voraciously underground near the soil surface. Treat with parasitic nematodes, a microscopic worm that attacks grubs (Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is the best), or strap on a pair of lawn aerating sandals and spike the grubs to death. Concentrate your spiking steps on brown lawn areas and the green areas just outside the brown.
Site rain gardens wherever they fit best in your yard, as long as it’s at least 5 to 10 feet away from your home’s foundation. Ideally, try to locate it in a spot where it will collect rain water runoff from nearby hard surfaces, like the walkways surrounding this corner garden. Rain gardens work in sunny or shady spots, like this one. Shade-loving plants including Japanese blood grass, red-flowered crocosmia, the feathery blooms of red astilbe and green arrowhead plant adapt readily to the fluctuating moisture of a rain garden and ensure season-long interest.
Several varieties of blue fescue (Festuca glauca) are available on the market. ‘Elijah Blue’ is a classic form, offering powdery blue leaves that bring color to the landscape year-round. Wheat-like seedheads appear in early summer. This grass thrives in dry conditions and is an outstanding choice for rock gardens, troughs or containers. Drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, ‘Elijah Blue’ thrives in coastal conditions, too. Plants grow 8 to 10 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Aside from the kitchen, Chris planned to spend the least amount of money on his second bedroom, which would be used as an office. Taking the advice of a designer friend, he had the room painted in a blue-grey tone from Sherwin-Williams called Krypton and had custom draperies in a modern print made from a clearance bin fabric at $11.99 per yard. Since his laptop is pretty much the only thing he needs to work from home, the room was simply furnished with a vintage desk picked up from an antique market for $600 and paired with a black woven grass chair from IKEA that was $59. To soften the area underfoot, he installed FLOR tiles in a striped pattern, alternating each tile for a parquet look.