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Take Stock – Where Do You Need Color?

The best time to know where you need more plants in your landscape is when the plants you have are in bloom, or recently bloomed. That time is now. So take photos and make notes so you’ll know exactly where you need more plants and what types of plants you need. Or better yet, try some ideas now.

Spring flowering plants like bulbs and flowering shrubs are through blooming for the season. Now they’re foliage plants. Does the green of these foliage plants satisfy you? Is there balance between areas that are in summer bloom and the foliage plants that have already bloomed? Or is the void of color in part of your landscape a major distraction? This is a personal preference. I’m a woody plant lover so I like mass areas of foliage.

If you want more color, take a trip to the garden center and buy annuals. For just a bit of color to break up the green monochrome, plant annuals around the base of trees or a bed of shrubs. You should have a mulched area between the plants and the grass, walkway or whatever’s adjacent to the foliage plant(s). Foliage plant beds that border on grass can be easily expanded by removing some grass and planting annuals.

You may have a space that looks barren, devoid of either flower or foliage plants. Such a space will give you a blank slate to experiment.  Consider removing the sod and plant a bed of annuals. Experiment with plants of different heights and colors with a view to replacing the annuals with perennials either this fall or next spring. Since this is an experiment, I suggest saving the sod in case you decide that the space looks better in grass than flowers and be sure to take photos.

When you cut the sod, rent a sod cutter. Depending on the size bed you’re making, you’ll cut small, flat rectangles or large rectangles that you can roll up for easy handling. Roll out black plastic on the driveway or a part of your yard where it won’t be an eyesore or kill any other plants. The area you choose should get plenty of sunlight and access to water. The sod likes plenty of both. Finally, roll out the sod on to the plastic. Makes sure it gets plenty of moisture in the form of rain, your hose, a sprinkler or a combination. 

Should you decide that your new bed looks better as lawn, you can just pull the flowers out, then level and rake the ground. Before resodding, you might want to put down some pre-emergent weed killer to keep from having unwanted flowers growing up in your lawn next season. After any waiting period specified on the pre-emergent package, put the pieces of sod together like a jigsaw puzzle. Walk on it to make sure it makes good contact with the soil and water it.

An easy alternative for temporary fill-ins for flowerless areas is to use containers. Containerize annuals and place them in the area you want filled with color. If you like the color they bring to the space, leave them in place for the season and then replace the containers with low maintenance perennials. If the color doesn’t do anything for you, use the containerized plants to give plenty of color to your deck, patio, pool area or front entrance – any area that needs softening with a little color.

A landscape can never have too much color but don’t forget foliage plants. They add structure and bulk to a landscape, and they give it form. Foliage plants can also add color to your landscape without showy blooms. Choose varieties with colorful leaves and form. A weeping lace leaf Japanese red maple is a good example. Plants with variegated leaves are also good choices.If you know that an area of your landscape needs help but can’t come up with satisfying ideas, or if you prefer to enjoy your landscape without having to do the work, I suggest you work with one of our landscape designers to give your property just the look you want. And our landscape installation professionals can bring the design to life

One comment on “Take Stock – Where Do You Need Color?

  1. Ha! I get neighbors to tell me what to do. I am a horticulturist, not a landscape designer.

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