Dress up spent summer and fall container gardens with boughs of fresh evergreens for a colorful winter display. Greens like spruce, fir, mountain hemlock and Virginia pine retain color and needles to provide a long winter display. Treat cut greenery with an anti-transpirant to help stems retain moisture. Use bunched ornamental grass stems or bundled branches to add a strong vertical element to designs.
A stained cedar fence guarantees privacy in this home's side yard, where a mix of pine and oak trees, ornamental grasses and drought-tolerant perennials comprise the landscape design. The home's eco-friendly, exterior building materials include both smooth and scraped synthetic limestone blocks and fiber-cement siding, a product composed of 50-percent recycled content (fly ash) and wood fiber pulp supplied from sustainably managed forests.
Build a rain garden to collect rain water runoff from any building on your property, including a chicken coop. This garden demonstrates classic rain garden design with a berm surrounding the basin that catches and holds rain water runoff. Plantings include moisture-loving sedge and rush in the wettest parts of the garden, and perennials like daylily and ornamental grass on the drier edges.
Lawns demand a lot of time and attention to look their best. Mowing, weeding, feeding—it’s a year-round effort to keep grass gorgeous. One way to reduce your time investment in lawn care is to limit the amount of lawn you have. Trade turf for pretty planting beds stocked with shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses. This bed happens to be a rain garden, which means its beauty is more than petal deep. It also helps to disperse rainwater runoff.
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.
Plan on enjoying time in your retreat year-round by including a fire pit or other source of warmth for the chilly seasons. Tending a cozy fire brings its own magic for unwinding after busy days. Keep the makings of s’mores on hand if that makes you happy. Tall ornamental grass clumps enclose this retreat with a living privacy fence, and pretty seasonal container gardens offer a just-right splash of color. Before adding a fire feature to your outdoor spaces, be sure to check local codes.
Carex is famous for its love of moist soil, and Toffee Twist is no exception. Coppery leaves give this perennial a striking look that improves any planting—in pots or beds. Toffee Twist carex resembles an ornamental grass and grows best in full to part sun. One important distinction with carex is that it behaves like a cool-season grass, growing actively in the cool seasons—spring and fall. These are the best times of year to divide or transplant this bronze beauty. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
Consider designing a pair of mirrored rain gardens to flank a central walkway. By the second growing season, these beds will sparkle as lush gardens filled with shrubs, ornamental grasses, sedges, corkscrew rush, perennials and evergreens. A stone spillway directs rain water runoff from nearby hard surfaces into the rain garden basin. On the lower side, an overflow spillway and drainage pipe shifts rain water runoff to nearby storm sewer channels when heavy rains fill the rain garden to overflowing. Including an overflow spillway helps ensure water doesn’t backflow to swamp your home’s foundation.
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.
The fire engine red double front doors of this classic home provide a sophisticated contrast to its white and black exterior. Ornamental shrubbery and grasses grow in front of the home in mulched garden beds.
Fall containers, window boxes and hanging baskets complement established plantings at this country-style home. Mums, ornamental kale and grasses, and decorative accents like cornstalks, dried flower wreaths and country-style ornaments complete the inviting harvest display.
A small patch of grass and select ornamentals line the walkway of this modern California home, providing welcome splashes of green in the desert. Gray stone surrounds the dark wood door, creating a focal point at the end of the stone walkway.
In this landscape design by Jamie Durie, this "nest" is enveloped in foliage and tilted to one side to allow views out from the central platform, creating the illusion of sprouting from the forest floor like a plant. Several types of ornamental shrubs and grasses have been arranged in the outdoor bowl-shaped area. Trees grow up through the center of the platform, providing a canopy that protects and embraces the space while allowing dappled light to penetrate.