06 Dec

How to Use Best Ground Covers in Your Landscape Design

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 prostrata

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

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 elegans
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
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
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.

15 Nov

How to Use Ferns in Your Garden Landscape

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.

Contemporary Landscape with Ferns by New York Architects & Building Designers Princeton Design Collaborative
Tropical Landscape by Sydney Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Secret Gardens
Mediterranean Landscape by Miami Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers orlando comas, landscape architect.
Traditional Pool by Thetford Center Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Shepard Butler Landscape Architecture
Rustic Landscape by Winchester Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC
Contemporary Landscape by Pasadena Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers EPT DESIGN
Traditional Landscape by Greenville Garden & Landscape Supplies Roots - An Urban Gardener's Oasis
Traditional Porch by Mill Valley Architects & Building Designers Sutton Suzuki Architects
Contemporary Landscape by Sausalito Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture
Mediterranean Landscape by The Woodlands Architects & Building Designers JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction
Contemporary Deck by Sydney Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Harrison's Landscaping
Modern Landscape by Winters Photographers Dave Adams Photography


Some of the ferns suitable for garden landscape include:

  • Adiantum pedatum, Maidenhair fern
  • Athyrium vidalii, Japanese lady fern
  • Blechnum spicant, Deer Fern
  • Cyrtomium falcatum, Japanese holly fern
  • Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Hay-scented fern
  • Dryopteris clintoniana, Clinton’s wood fern
  • Dryopteris tokyoensis, Tokyo wood fern
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris, Ostrich fern
  • Cyrtomium Falcatum, Holly fern
  • Nephrolepis exaltala, Boston fern
11 Nov

Beautiful Winter Flowering Shrub: Brunia

Brunia is a small genus of flowering shrubs known for their unusual flowers. These evergreen shrubs can grow upright up to 2 meters and produce dark-green foliage that resembles the foliage of a pine tree. Tiny silvery-white or pink flowers appear in tight and fluffy pompom-like flower heads. Attractive flowers heads of Brunia are produced from autumn to winter in abundance making them stand out in a garden. Tiny flowers start blooming after the first winter rain.
Brunia albiflora

Brunia is usually a slow growing shrub that requires bright sunlight and moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Most species of Brunia are sensitive to frost and require protection from long spell of frost and cold. You can propagate Brunia from cuttings planted in autumn or spring. You can also grow Brunia from seeds planted in autumn. Brunia makes a nice plant for filling empty spaces in landscapes. Flowers are usually used in fresh and dry flower arrangements.

Brunia albiflora

Popular species of Brunia include Brunia nodiflora (known for its pink flower heads), Brunia stokoei (velvety red flowers), Brunia albiflora (white flowers), and B. neglecta (silvery-white flower heads).

09 Nov

Beautiful Foliage Plant: Alternanthera ficoidea

Alternanthera is a large genus of usually low-growing annuals and perennials. Mostly evergreen most species of Alternanthera are grown for their attractive foliage. These lovely plants are ideal for growing along garden borders, as ground covers or in formal bedding.

Most species of Alternanthera do not require special care. A balanced soil, moderate watering and a sunny spot will keep them healthy. Some species of Alternanthera can be invasive and should be trimmed regularly to keep them in shape.

Copperleaf (Alternanthera ficoidea)

Alternanthera ficoidea, commonly known as ‘Red Carpet’, is a better known species from the genus of Alternanthera. Known for its colorful foliage, Alternanthera ficoidea is a low-maintenance plant that makes a good choice for both indoor (ornamental houseplant) and outdoor (ground cover) usage. It is grown from both seeds and cuttings and requires moderate watering in summer and protection from frost and overwatering in winter.

Alternanthera ficoidea is a fast growing plant and can be used to fill garden borders or empty spaces in landscapes and rock gardens. It grows from 6 to 12 inches in height and form mounds of attractive foliage.

07 Nov

15 Ideas for a Beautiful Stone Pathway for Your Garden

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.

Mosaic pathway built with stone:

Mediterranean Landscape by San Diego Landscape Contractors DeMaria Landtech, Inc.
Large rectangular stepping stones in this garden look nice and form a symmetrical design.
Traditional Landscape by Atlanta Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Howard Design Studio
A simple and cost-effective design made with gravel and stone.
Southwestern Landscape by Bryn Mawr Interior Designers & Decorators Fred Albert Design
Another simple and attractive pathway made with small rectangular pieces of stone.
Mediterranean Patio by Newport Beach Architects & Building Designers Homer Oatman, AIA
Nicely trimmed and cemented pathway made of stone.
Traditional Landscape by Upland General Contractors Rob Clark Construction Inc.
A modern pathway design made of gravel and stone slabs.
Contemporary Pool by Sydney Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes
Another simple and cost-effective for smaller gardens.
Tropical Landscape by Key West Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture
Another modern and attractive design.
Contemporary Landscape by Coral Gables Architects & Building Designers OBM International
A simple yet beautiful pathway leading from the front door right into the garden.
 Traditional Landscape by Scottsdale Architects & Building Designers Matthew Thomas Architecture, LLC
Beautiful pathway design with two columns of stepping stones.
Traditional Landscape by Wilmington Building Supplies Chadsworth Columns
Gravel and stone used to form a nice, durable pathway.
Industrial Landscape
Attractive side walks made with tiles of stone.
Traditional Pool by Franklin Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers The Office of Joel Tomlin III, LLC.
Mosaic pathway made of stone.
Traditional Landscape by Seattle Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Studio AB
A beautiful example of pathway made with stone.
Contemporary Patio Pathway by Lake Forest Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Architectural Gardens, Inc
A traditional designed with stone.
Victorian Landscape by Minneapolis Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens
30 Oct

Landscaping with Ornamental Japanese Blood Grass

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. 

Japanese Blood Grass can be planted along pathways where it grows as a low-maintenance ornamental grass.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown in large containers and used as accent plant. When grown in containers, it is easier to control its otherwise aggressive growth.
The contrasting colors of Japanese Blood Grass make it a nice border plant. The colors depend on light conditions. Bright sunny exposure result in sharp and deep red color.
Japanese Blood Grass makes a nice accent plant.
Japanese Blood Grass can be grown as ornamental plant along ponds and pools.
There are so many ways you can use Japanese Blood Grass in your garden and landscape.
17 Oct

9 Examples of Halloween Inspired Garden Designs

Halloween is time of the year when you want to give your garden a little scary and spooky looks with Halloween pumpkins, scary characters and mysterious lights. Browse these excellent examples of Halloween theme garden designs for your inspiration. These Halloween inspired designs prove that you do not have to be a garden designer to create a scary but inviting garden. All you need is a little creativity.

02 Sep

Nice Ornamental Grass: Hystrix patula, Bottlebrush Grass

Hystrix patula, commonly known as Bottlebrush Grass, is a beautiful ornamental grass known for its attractive flowers. Also sold as Elymus hystrix, the Bottlebrush grass is rightly named for its long floral spikes that remind you of a bristled bottlebrush.

Hystrix patula is a tall grass that grows up to 1 meter and produces clumps of light-green leaves making it a nice ornamental grass for borders and flower beds. Green bristly flower heads appear in summer and last until fall. When in full bloom, Hystrix patula is loaded with bottlebrush-like flowers that stand out from its companions because of their attractive colors and unusual shape.

Ornamental Grass, Hystrix patula, Bottlebrush

Hystrix patula can be grown in almost any soil (loamy, chalky or sandy) as long as it is provided with moist but well-drained conditions.  As a low-maintenance ornamental grass, Hystrix patula requires full to partial shade and grows easily from seeds.

Like most ornamental grasses, Hystrix patula is a pest free grass and grows well with accompanying plants in a border or a flower bed. More information on growing and maintaining as an ornamental grass is available here: Hystrix patula, the Bottlebrush Grass

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