Tag Archives: Courtyard

Tiny Courtyard Makeover

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AFTER: the ferns and bugbane are still dormant in this newly renovated border yet it sparkles thanks to planning the design  #foliagefirst

You don’t have to be big to be beautiful – or to have potential.

This pint-sized courtyard had been planted with the ubiquitous builders basics of the Pacific Northwest – rhododendron, azaleas and andromeda (Pieris japonica).

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BEFORE: predictable Builders Blah

While all three are evergreen offering ‘year round interest’, in reality they were seriously BORING, not least of all because their foliage was identical in color and shape. What this needed was a quick foliage makeover.

makeover

 

A dwarf coral bark maple provided a focal point, height and stunning red stems. It is important when selecting a tree for winter bark that you don’t hide it behind shrubs! In this instance I selected perennial ferns and grasses that would be dormant during those months, allowing the tree bark to be the star.

To add more color, Pink Frost hellebores were planted in a cluster. With evergreen foliage and a bounty of pink, burgundy, cream and apple-green flowers that last for many months, this variety remains one of my top picks. The pinkish-red tones echo the color from the maple tree too.

A few rugged boulders completed this updated vignette, contrasting perfectly with the soft, white-variegated Japanese forest grasses and finely textured Western maidenhair ferns. One rock was selected for its water-retaining depression in order to attract birds and butterflies.

Rich color contrast will come from the dark-leaved Hillside Black Beauty bugbane, while its height (typically 4-5′) will add balance to the composition and the vanilla-scented flowers will scent the late summer air.

Note that as with all designs, large and small, the final plant placement was somewhat different from the original plan. Never be afraid to move things around!

Is it time for you to tackle that less-than-stellar entry border? You’ll get lots more ideas for plant combinations that put Foliage First in our two books.

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3 Elements of Style

20140525-CS_IMG_9777This small pocket-garden at the edge of a quaint courtyard has come to life by the use of color, art and of course nature. The narrow palette of foliage colors; silver or white, green and fiery copper are both sophisticated and delicate all at once.

The color scheme for this planting draws on the creme, white and earth toned interior colors of the home to bring the outside in and create harmony throughout the rest of the garden with a similar focus on light, white, and variegated or silver foliage. The flame colored Heuchera plays a role in this triad of style as the showy color tying it all together with a color echo on the new growth on the dwarf Pieris.
The use of the water feature brings in the sounds and movement of water as one vital element in this design. The actual water feature itself lends itself to the homeowners focus on traditional style.
The use of the boulders brings in the natural element of stone, as does the paver-patio and natural stones that create the path.

There you have it! Stone, fire and water, the three elements of style for this tiny gem of a garden. The KEY PLAYERS? I thought you would never ask!

Key Players

Peach Flambe Heuchera‘Peach Flambe’ Heuchera

 

 

'Little Heath' Pieris‘Little Heath’ Pieris

 

 

Brunnera 'Jack Frost'
‘Jack Frost’ Brunnera


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