Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture used corten, stone and plantings for this stunning multi-layered outdoor space and garden in San Francisco. Cochran created an entry stairway with corten steel walls, planes of glass and soft plantings.
Located on a golf course and surrounded by picturesque mountain views, this neutral home features a rustic patio area complete with a lodge-style pergola and fire pit. Basalt boulder retaining walls are seen throughout the property, as well as a variety of layered plantings.
The landscape design for this Tudor home's front garden used a layered planting plan of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Plants include purple Salvia, Allium and Geranium 'Rozanne'; white peony, Viburnum, Azalea, Rhododendron 'multimaculatum' and Cornus Kousa; and yellow Chamaecyparis and Alchemilla. Evergreen Ilex glabra and ornamental grasses are attractive in multiple seasons.
Designers wanted to create an oasis in this backyard, so they imported a palm tree from Miami for a tropical, summer feel. Then, the planting beds were layered with tons of texture and color to complement the outdoor space.
Rather than fill the empty space of the planting beds with an array of flowers and shrubs, the designer chose to emphasize the unique boxwood shapes by planting them far apart. A simple, neat layer of mulch ensures the focus remains on the artistic topiary element and deters the growth of weeds.
Lily bulbs lack an outer protective, papery layer. They’re often sold packed in sawdust or peat moss. It’s important to store lily bulbs correctly prior to planting because they have no outer layer that helps protect against moisture loss or temperature fluctuations. Keep lily bulbs cool (below 45 degrees F) but not freezing to help prevent sprouting. If sprouts form prior to planting, handle bulbs carefully. If you break the sprout, the lily won’t flower that year.
The stacked stone facade of this contemporary California home is brought to life with a well-planned array of greenery. Built-in concrete planters hold succulents and other native plants, arranged with taller plantings in the back for a layered look. Patches of grass between concrete pavers soften the sandy colors of the architecture.
Keep the elements in mind when designing for the outdoors. A large awning covers this deck to make the southern-exposed backyard more comfortable during the day, while a tall patinated copper water feature provides a soothing sound to block any outside noises. Plantings are layered to blend into the slope, allowing the property to feel larger.
Save time – and your back – by placing bulbs, tip end up, on top of the planting bed, then covering with a layer of several inches of soil, instead of digging individual holes for bulbs. Don’t worry if the bulbs tip over; they will work themselves upright.
This shrub is worth a second look. Fragrant purple blooms cover the plant from early summer through early fall. Pollinators flock to the flowers, bringing another layer of interest to plantings. This chaste tree grows a neat 3 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 6-9. Botanical name: Vitex agnus-castus
Plant garlic bulbs in fall for a harvest the following midsummer. Aim to get bulbs in the ground 4 to 8 weeks before the soil freezes. Mulch the planting area with a thick layer of straw or chopped leaves. Get your mulch on before the ground freezes. This keeps soil warmer longer so roots can sink into soil.
Finish this type of trench lawn edging by covering the area with some type of mulch. A mulch layer helps keep weeds from sprouting in the uncovered soil and prevents soil erosion from the planting bed itself. If your trench area is shallow, you can run your lawn mower along the bed edge by dropping one wheel into the trench. This eliminates any need for string trimming the lawn edge.
Turn to decorative stone mulch when you want to give plantings a formal ambience. Stone comes in a variety of colors and shapes. River rock usually has smooth, rounded edges, while quartz is more jagged. Stone mulch doesn’t degrade over time and doesn’t usually need replaced if it’s seated on landscape fabric. You might need to refresh the top layer of stones at times if it fades or discolors.
Consider lava rock as a mulch in xeriscape gardens or around shrubs, succulents or other plantings that won’t change much over time. This type of rock is lightweight compared to traditional stone mulch, which makes it easier to haul and handle without professional help. Individual rock edges tend to be sharp. Stone mulch doesn’t ever break down or disappear—it’s a permanent addition to the landscape. Place it on a layer of landscape fabric to prevent rocks from sinking into soil.