Recently I toured two of the most amazing landscapes I’ve ever seen – the kind of place that makes you feel like you just stepped into a magazine.

I walked around oohing and aahing over what must be some kind of out-of-this-world landscaping prowess – spectacular plants, the insane lack of any weeds and perfectly edged and mulched beds. Pictured here ar just a couple of inspiring images from that tour.

How’s the mere mortal gardener supposed to compete with that?

Well, my life gets in the way of replicating anything close to that level, BUT I can take away some elements from the magnificent to bring into my own yard. So I’ll be trying out these ideas:

Multiple Seating Areas

Both yards had expertly laid stone patios on multiple levels. But, although the stonework was impressive, what actually beckoned me in for a margarita were the cozy seating areas. A table for dining, yes, but also just an informal collection of chairs with a fire pit, or a bench with a couple outdoor pillows. Lots of lanterns, outdoor rugs and luminaria rounded out the fab look.

 

 

 

Tropical WOW

Both homes mingled exotic tropical into the perennial elements of the landscape. A big-leaved banana shooting up out of a bed of perennial Plumbago, a giant Macho Fern leading into a bed of Hosta or a giant Selloum Philodendron sunk into a garden bed. Adding tropical to the landscape adds texture, color and extra-special interest that set your yard apart. Want to try and keep them around for next season? Leave plants in pots and sink in the ground and either keep dormant in a garage or bring inside as a house plant depending on the plant.

 

All the Way Around

We usually think to landscape our front yard, maybe our back, but what I noticed about these yards is that they led you around with gardens throughout. They planted their yard…not an “area”. Arbors welcomed from the side yard and paths wrapped around full circle. Mary even landscaped her creek!

 

 

 

 

Containers in the Landscape

Pots aren’t just for the front door! Large containers are a great way to add architecture into the landscape. Just make sure that your arrangement is substantial enough to make an impact. If you have a smaller container you want to use, pair it with a larger one to make a statement. To keep large containers steady in the landscape, level a large paver stone first to set the pot on and then cover the paver with mulch.

 

 

You can find Erin’s article in the October issue of the The Kansas City Gardener.

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