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.
If you’ve ever grown variegated plectranthus, you know how smelly this plant is. Just brush it gently or splash water onto leaves, and the odor is released. That odor is what helps repel mosquitoes—and a host of other insects. This plant goes by many names, including Madagascar spur flower, Swedish ivy and mintleaf. Botanically, look for Plectranthus madagascariensis ‘Marginatus’—or just ask for variegated plectranthus. You’ll know you have the right one by the felted leaves with the strong odor.
Don’t hesitate to bring home a fall petunia basket from your favorite garden or home center. If it’s planted with Proven Winners Supertunias and Calibrachoa, you’ll be in for weeks of flowery color. This blend of petunia-like blooms features a mix of Really Red Supertunia and Royal Velvet Supertunia (purple), accented with the smaller blossoms of Dreamsicle Orange calibrachoa. These petunias don’t need deadheading to look their best and deliver color through Thanksgiving in all but the coldest regions.
Want a little drama in your yard? Make room for Vertigo purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum ‘Tift 8’). This gorgeous grass adds bold color with its deep purple—almost black—leaves. Stems stand strong, and leaf ends drape gracefully. Use it solo as an accent plant, or arrange it in mass as a dark hedge. Vertigo commands attention in the garden or containers as it grows 4 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 8-11. In areas with cold winters, treat Vertigo as an annual.
A beautiful container composition can bring the cottage-garden look to a deck or patio. Here, foxgloves, petunias, and sweet potato vine combine to create a beautiful vignette. Posted by HGTV fan countrygrl125
Fall’s blazing hues of orange, gold and red blend artfully with pretty pink tones, like those in found in this basket of blushing annuals. The trio features frost-hardy Rose Veined Trailing Supertunia (small pink petunia), Blushing Princess sweet alyssum and Royal Magenta Supertunia (large deep pink petunia). Supertunias withstand light freezes to 30°F, while dainty sweet alyssum bounces back from hard freezes of short duration. In other words, this mix of bloomers can bring on color from early fall to whenever consistent cold arrives in your neck of the woods.
A balcony in New York City’s West Village becomes a lush garden oasis in this design from Urban Green which brings together a lovely mix of perennials, evergreens and colorful annuals such as petunias and topiary bougainvillea.
A closer look at the front of the home reveals a stone path flanked by flowers. As they wait to be greeted, guests can take a seat on the bench or stop to smell the roses -- or the hydrangeas, or the petunias.
A balcony garden complete with a sheltered dining space on New York’s Upper Wast Side is enhanced by the lovely borders of yellow and green Golden Euonymus and additional plantings of pink petunias and sweet potato vines.
A formal garden is a must for a home this magnificent. On pleasant days, the owners can follow a gravel path between blushing hydrangea bushes, where they'll pass through a wood gate and arrive at a stone fountain overflowing with purple and red petunias.
Dichondra 'Silver Falls' accents bright 'Blue A Fuse' petunias and 'Breathless White' Euphorbia in a hanging basket. Dichondra is a great "spiller', or trailing plant, for window boxes and other containers, too. A herbaceous perennial in zones 10 to 12, it can overwinter as a houseplant if you're careful not to overwater.
Rabbits make quick work of plants—and they’re not picky. They’ll chow down on your peas, beans, lettuce, petunias and even potted plants. When they’re the culprits behind vanishing plants, you’ll often find leaves missing with stems intact or stubs where an entire plant used to stand. To keep rabbits at bay, try repellents, chicken wire, netting or a free-running dog (with an underground fence). Clean up yard debris that could give rabbits hiding places, and plugs any holes that lead under sheds, decks or porches.