Waterfalls make excellent design elements in a landscape design. Not only do waterfalls add music to the garden but also give a sense of freshness and openness. Modern landscape designs emphasize on maximum utilization of space and simplicity of design in order to keep cost and use of real estate as low as possible. With introduction of many new materials, it is easier to design modern waterfall designs that are both space and cost-effective.
Following are a few examples of modern waterfall designs that you can try in your landscape design. Notice how the use of space and modern materials can do magic when it comes to designing contemporary waterfalls.
Ground covers are excellent landscape design elements. When used effectively, ground covers not only protect the ground from drought and erosion but also supplement your design scheme by supplementing additional colors, forms and texture.
Besides the type of soil and climate, selecting the best ground covers for your landscape design depends on a number of factors:
Growing Conditions: You can find ground covers for almost any purpose and for all spots in your landscapes. Some ground covers grow in shady spots where very few plants can survive. Some are drought-tolerant and they make best ground covers when you want to design low-maintenance landscapes.
Formation: Ground covers have different growing habits. Some ground covers produce lateral branches, some form small mounds, some miniature ground covers stick to the ground whereas some develop upright branches.
Color and Texture: Besides their formation and growing conditions, ground covers offer interesting colors and textures. Some ground covers are evergreen and provide excellent ground coverage, some are used for their interesting colors. Depending on your landscape design, you can pick best ground covers in many different texture: soft and evergreen foliage, woody and deciduous, and so on.
Best Ground Covers for Your Landscape Design
The following is a selection of the best ground covers that you can use in your landscape design.
Kennedia prostrate is a low-growing plant from tropical and summer rainfall regions. It is hardy to heat and spells of drought and makes the best ground cover for low-maintenance landscapes. (Zone 9a – 10b)
Sedum album or Coral Carpet spreads horizontally and effectively covers empty areas with its succulent growth and tiny, star-shaped flowers of white or pinkish color. Flowers usually appear in midsummer. Sedum album can be propagated from cuttings. It requires bright sunlight and moist but well-drained soil. (Zone 3a – 9b)
Callisia or Inch Plant is a genus of low growing plants with delicate and lovely foliage. Native to dry climate of Mexico,these sprawling plants server as best ground covers for dry as well as moderate climates where they are protected from long spells of freeze and frost. (Zone 8a – 10b)
Soleirolia soleirolii or Baby’s Tears is an evergreen and low growing ground cover known for its round cascading leaves. It is the best ground cover for rock gardens and landscapes where it can easily take up empty spaces and form thick mounds of attractive foliage. It can also be used as alternate of grass because it would survive cold and shady spots easily and serve as nice ground cover throughout the year. (Zone 9a – 11)
Convolvulus cneorum which is commonly known as Silver Bush grows as low growing plant and usually forms a think carpet of evergreen foliage. Because of its capacity to withstand drought and grow in poor soil, Convolvulus cneorum is a best ground cover for sandy or poor landscapes. (Zone 6a – 9b)
Using Ground Covers in Your Landscape
Browse these beautiful examples of best ground covers used in landscape designs.
Ferns make excellent landscape plants because of their attractive fronds and their ability to thrive where many plants fail. You can plant them under shady trees, use them as border plants, grow them as ground covers or line garden pathways, and fill empty landscapes with low-maintenance ferns.
Most ferns are easy to maintain. They grow under fully or partially shaded parts of gardens where they benefit from moist but well-drained and loamy soil and moderate watering at regular intervals. When provided with these conditions ferns will produce abundance of lush fronds.
Ferns come in large and small sizes. Some are dwarf and some grow taller. Some form small clusters and some sprawl to cover the landscape. Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can use ferns in your landscapes for many purposes. They can be used as companion plants with other flowering plants. You can use ferns to provide a lush-green background to your flower beds. You can also incorporate them in your landscapes as specimen plants grown in containers or hanging baskets.
Ferns in Garden Landscape
Here are a few examples of ferns beautifully used in garden landscapes.
Pathways provide a nice solution when you want to control the flow of traffic in your garden. They are also useful when you want to replace uneven and muddy paths with a neat, even and functional pathway.
There are a number of natural and manufactured materials available for laying out garden pathways. My favorite material is stone. It is cost-effective, durable and easy available. Stone is also available in many colors and sizes. Depending on the size and layout of your garden, you can carve out neat and attractive garden pathways using stone. Be creative with you designs but make sure that your design in practical. Do not add unnecessary curves because mowing around curved path is a bit difficult. Also make sure that the surface is even and provides smooth flow of rainwater.
Ideas for a Beautiful Garden Pathway
The following is a collection of 15 impressive ideas for beautiful pathways built with stone.
Ornamental grasses add a nice texture, unique formation and stunning colors to landscapes. Take the example of Japanese Blood Grass. Known for its fiery red color, this beautiful grass offers great ornamental value especially in the fall.
Imprata cylindrica’Rubra’ or Japanese Blood Grass grows up to 2 feet and forms tight clumps of green and red leaves this making a good choice for filling landscapes.
I recently paved my backyard with interlocking bricks. Yes, I do not have my not-so-lush lawn now but the backyard looks neat and still gives me plenty of room to plant my favorites in the bordering raised beds. As I have observed and experienced, interlocking brick designs dramatically improve the landscape. They are durable and easily withstand long spells of freeze and thaw.
As opposed to concrete or brick and mortar floors, interlocking bricks can be installed in various patterns and offer a variety of material (clay, concrete, stone etc.) texture and color.
If you are considering interlocking bricks in your patio or backyard, this is a useful article on cost, material, pros and cons of installing interlocking bricks. If you want to do it yourself, follow this link for step-by-step DIY instructions on installing an interlocking brick pattern in your backyard or patio.
Examples of Interlocking Brick Design
Browse these beautiful examples of interlocking brick designs for your inspiration.
Why the big boys have all the fun. These practical and kids friendly backyards show a lot of potential for turning your backyard into a fun house for the little ones. No, you do not have to compromise on your favorite plants, landscape design or barbecue spot. There are plenty of opportunities for integrating a small swing, a little fun house, a sandbox and a dedicated area for kids to play.
Browse these simple and practical examples of kids friendly backyards for your inspiration.
Fences serve many purposes. They can be used to: define borders of your property, keep invading animals away, and serve as privacy screen, architectural element or an extension of your landscape design.
Today we are exploring some interesting experiments with fencing wall designs. These experimental designs reflect potential of using various materials, styles and sizes to turn otherwise ordinary fences into beautiful design elements.
1. Beautiful use of steel blades to form a nicely patterned, secure and durable fencing wall.
Gardening in a small backyard or patio can be challenging – what plants should you select for all-seasons interest, how should you arrange your plants for best display, and how should you integrate your favorite plants with your day-to-day family activities – this article answers all of these questions. You can also look at these contemporary Ideas for Small Gardens and discover a wide range of interesting designs that will help shape your garden and turn into a more practical, usable space
What plants should you grow in your small backyard / patio?
Plants come in many sizes, colors, and textures. And they all have their specific requirements. Because you cannot make major changes to your backyard or patio, you should select plants that can easily integrate in your existing settings – soil type, space, sunlight, and effects of changing seasons.
Small and enclosed spaces tend develop their own microclimate with higher level of moisture and retained heat. Therefore it is important to select plants that are hardy and require less maintenance.
Plants in enclosed backyard or patios are more likely to transfer insects and diseases to other plants. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep a vigilant eye on insects and immediately isolate infected plants.
When buying a plant for your small backyard or patio, carefully consider its growing habits and the room that it would require in coming years. Some plants have columnar growth and do not spread much, some remain solitary but produce heavy foliage, some plants develop clumps and require more space than others, some plants do not attain much height, some shed their leaves in fall, and some are evergreen. Make sure that you plant them in the right place in your backyard or patio. Plants with columnar growth can be used to form a background for plants that attain medium to low height.
Usually low-growing shrubs and bushes make nice plants for small backyards. There are a plenty of flowering shrubs that do not need regular pruning and produce attractive foliage and flowers. Small empty spaces can be cultivated with ground covers.
Mix and match plants for all-season interest. Combine annuals, perennials, small trees, and flowering shrubs. Visit your local garden center and you will find many species with foliage that change colors throughout the year. You can also find interesting accent plants that add architectural interest to your garden.
Top Plants for Growing in a Small Backyard or Patio
Gardening by the side of an outdoor pool not only adds life and serenity to the environment but also gives you many option to introduce privacy, shade, and seasonal interest to the landscape. Today’s posts gives some handy tips on gardening by the poolside.
Select low-maintenance, evergreen plants. They do not shed a lot of leaves. Deciduous plants shed a lot of leaves that clog filters.
When space is not an issue, grow plants at least 4 to 5 feet from the pool to keep debris and soil from contaminating the pool.
Pools create a micro environment – moist and humid. Carefully consider plants that can easily adjust to this type of climate.
Mix and match small trees, shrubs, ground covers, and seasonal bloomers to design a balanced landscape by the poolside.
Small trees are best for creating some shady spots where as shrubs and bushes can be planted for introducing interesting foliage and texture.
Use bushes or small trees to create privacy screens.
Creepers and ground covers are helpful in filling empty spaces and keeping debris and soil from washing away with rainwater.
Some succulents make nice accent plants and can be easily incorporated in your landscape design. Most of them are low on maintenance and last long.
Pelargonium trifidum – low-growing shrub with sprawling branches and brittle stems. The leaves are succulent and aromatic. When provided with proper support of a tree or fence, the plant can grow up to 1 meter.
Alluaudia procera – a really striking succulent shrub grown for its ornamental value.
Breynia disticha – makes an excellent plant for borders where it grows as a small shrub (up to 4 feet) and produces beautiful foliage of green, white and pink colors.
Small trees to grow by the poolside
Schotia brachypetala – low-maintenance small tree with attractive evergreen foliage and large clusters of spring flowers.
Amherstia nobilis – though hard to find, this low-maintenance tree produces very attractive and unusual flowers.
Brownea coccinea – evergreen plant that grows into a small spreading tree and produces nice foliage and flowers.
Nymania capensis – Evergreen shrubby tree known for its beautiful, rose-pink and papery seed pods that look like Chinese paper lantern.