6 Fantastic Ferns into Enliven Shady Garden Spots

Living and working in the Pacific Northwest, I’m regularly confronted with dark, moist sites that exist under a dense canopy of trees — ideal conditions for a garden accented with ferns. There are several other plants that are able to flourish in hard soil and light conditions and provide years of interest with minimal upkeep. Visually, they’re incredibly useful plants, using their fronds unfurling in the spring to reveal crisp new foliage that fills the gaps between hardscaping and plantings. In addition, a huge array of fern varieties is available, so that you may invent a palette using rich contrasts in colour and texture.

Listed below are a few of my favourite ferns to add interest to shaded sites.

A J Miller Landscape Architecture PLLC

Japanese Painted Fern
(Athyrium niponicum’Pictum’)

Always a fascinating feature in the color bed, Japanese painted fern provides much-needed colour to the dark corners of the garden. When you pair it with all the glowing foliage of Japanese forest grass (as shown ), the comparison in form and colour draws the eye to the floor and can accentuate paving stone. Its ease of expansion and ability to flourish in a broad array of soil conditions make it a fantastic addition to any backyard.

USDA zones: 4 to 9 (find your zone)
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Demands moist soil to flourish
Light condition: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to 12 to 18 inches

Cary Bernstein Architect

Soft Tree Fern
(Dicksonia antarctica)

a really prehistoric-looking plant, soft tree fern’s eye-catching form and imposing size make it a significant feature in the backyard. It functions well in small, enclosed courtyard areas, where its canopy can filter light to the space beneath. This siting has yet another advantage in colder climates (such as where I live): It makes it a lot easier to protect the plant from winter.

USDA zones: 9 to 11, will grow in zone 8 using protection
Evergreen/herbaceous: Evergreen (can lose fronds in colder weather)
Soil requirement: Demands damp soil to flourish
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: fast growing to 15 feet tall

CYAN Horticulture

Royal Fern
(Osmunda regalis)

This big herbaceous fern is a dramatic improvement. Its distinguishing brown-tipped fertile fronds emerge through the mass of leaves in spring, giving a focal point worthy of its name. In addition, royal fern’s hardiness makes it well suited to harsher climates where ferns can’t survive.

USDA zones: 3 to 10
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Demands moist soil to flourish; prefers acidic
Light requirement: Does best in partial shade; will tolerate Whole sun with ample water
Size: 4 to 6 ft tall

Matt Kilburn

Siebold Wood Fern
(Dryopteris sieboldii)

Siebold wood fern’s leathery, pale green foliage is reminiscent of tropical crops, but those wouldn’t be at home in colder climates. Planted en masse, wood ferns are an exotic alternative for boundaries in woodland gardens, and they contrast well with color grasses and other fine-leaved plants.

USDA zones: 6 to 10
Evergreen/herbaceous: Semievergreen
Soil requirement: Moist soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to 18 to 24 inches

Matt Kilburn

Western Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum aleuticum)

The lacy leaves of the distinctive fern provides a softness unequaled by another shade plant. In the spring dark stalks appear from the floor and glowing green foliage unfurls into widely reaching hand-like fronds, a stunning screen that gets more beautiful over the decades since the plant matures.

USDA zones: 3 to 8
Evergreen/herbaceous: Herbaceous
Soil requirement: Moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow growing to two feet tall

Matt Kilburn

Crispy Hart’s Tongue Fern
(Asplenium scolopendrium‘Crispum’)

Hart’s tongue ferns are a welcome evergreen addition to the shade garden and differ considerably in appearance from most other kinds of fern. Their broad, leathery fronds can be smooth or crinkly (as shown ) and therefore are an excellent comparison to the feathery foliage of other ferns. Hart’s tongue fern works well in modern and traditional plantings alike and is helpful for providing construction among herbaceous perennials.

USDA zones: 5 to 9
Evergreen/herbaceous: Evergreen
Soil requirement: Moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full to partial shade
Size: Slow rising to 18 to 24 inches

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3 Ways Native Plants Make Gardening Much Better

Six years ago my wife and I married (on 7/7/’07, like so many others), and we immediately moved to our first home together. I told her I wanted a backyard, and when she said, “Go for it,” I’m not sure we understood exactly what that would imply. Neither of us had any idea just how madly I’d fall in love with gardening and also exactly what I’d come to learn about myself, our union as well as the environment like I got dirty in the Nebraska dirt.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

I remember the very first two summers of gardening just like I remember my very first kiss — it was a sloppy, goopy affair which only made me more curious. I loaded up carts full of perennials and shrubs at local independent nurseries, spending money like I was a rock star — one time nearly $1,000. On a single excursion. This was just rash, but I wanted a backyard. Badly.

I purchased whatever the nursery had and no matter what the plant label insinuated might do the job. Little did I know then that plant tags can frequently fail us and are targeted more toward marketing than sensible advice. I loaded up with irises to get a moist area but have found that few butterflies see them. My mother — that thankfully forced me to backyard as a child — said I should get as numerous coral bells as I could, but they burnt in my dry summertime clay dirt.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

The plants that thrived were happy injuries: coneflowers, liatris, milkweed, Joe Pye Weed. I knew nothing about these, but once I started doing online research and reading novels, I found that they had been native to Nebraska. Why they appeared to do much better than the eye candy that I flung in my cart as though they were mint cookies in the supermarket shop? After I started gardening more and more with natives my whole life changed, rather than just with issues of less effort. My emotional experiences in the backyard evolved; I was connected to my home ground in ways I never knew were possible.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Here’s how natives can alter your experience also.

1. Less maintenance. My mother loves roses, but once I thought of her and planted a couple of, they expired. I wasn’t willing to baby them in any point. I believe in tough-love gardening — in fact, my mother taught me tough love as a parenting plan (one this mama’s boy sorely needed). If a plant doesn’t look after itself, I don’t have it in my backyard.

As I researched native plants, I found out that if properly sited, they ought to flourish. And when I recognized that when indigenous plants — for me personally prairie plants — went through drought, they may slow down, be bloom less, I might accept not getting a “perfect” backyard. In fact, not knowing precisely what the garden will look like from year to year makes it more exciting.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Liatris, coneflower, rudbeckia, sideoats grama, Indian grass, mountain mint, ironweed, prairie dropseed, aromatic and easy asters, goldenrod, baptisia, prairie smoke, American senna, coreopsis. These perennials will be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my rich backyard palette (you’ll find over 7,000 indigenous plants in North America). They’re adapted to my climate and clay dirt, and properly sited, and that I don’t bother with any of these. I water a couple of times per year — generally in the autumn, to assist them overwinter after a dry August. I cut them down into the ground in mid-March during a lengthy afternoon, using them as loose mulch. That’s it. No fertilizing. No pruning. No spraying. I estimate I invest one-quarter of this time “working” in my backyard than when I had to mow. Few men and women believe me.

The secret to low-maintenance gardening is always choosing native plants that are adapted, planting thickly to extract weeds and using a diversity of forms — these strategies will help produce a self-maintaining ecosystem which will bring in beneficial bugs to eat the poor ones. And if you don’t enjoy the “natural” appearance, that is OK — indigenous plants can be utilised in formal settings, in some other manner you can imagine. As origins mingle and discuss information regarding diseases and pests, the dirt information highway creates a mutually beneficial ecology. Soil fertility raises. Water penetration gets deeper. Weeds get packed out and starved.

Two areas to find out what’s native for you’re the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as well as The Xerces Society.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

2. More wildlife. New plants sleep, creep, and then jump. In other words, the very first year they seem to do nothing, the second year they do a little something and the next year they burst.

After three years my apartment moonscape became my interpretation of a prairie. And you know what brought me the most pleasure, besides the pride of thriving plants and blossoms? Butterflies and bees and spiders and birds and cows all frolicking in my backyard.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

I feel any gardener wants a carefree space full of beauty, but alongside the list is a location attractive to wildlife. Winged animals are the fourth measurement of a backyard, the vertical echo of the attractiveness below.

In the nursery I purchased butterfly bush because of its title. But now, as my native plants have grown, 95% of the insects in my garden zoom right by butterfly bush in favour of indigenous blooms, making sense — indigenous plants and insects have coevolved.

Certain species of native bumblebees can pollinate only particular species of flowers, since each blossom has evolved to create nectar geared toward attracting one bumblebee. Butterflies of sorts — skippers, sulphurs, swallowtails, monarchs — create beelines into liatris and Joe Pye Weed and coneflower.

Often those butterflies also put eggs on indigenous host plants: baptisia for sulphurs, zizia for black swallowtails, milkweed for monarchs. On winter viceroys and mourning cloaks hibernate in leaf litter while birds eat seeds; the backyard is being used, even when there’s not a flower in sight.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

3. Healthful area for household. A native plant garden means you will not likely need to repaint or spray, which means a space welcoming to sensitive insects that, through pollination, are responsible for you in three bites of food that we take.

Without bugs we would exist in much fewer numbers. However, a chemical-free landscape is also safe for kids and pets. A recent USDA study analyzed 1,000 people for 20 common pesticides also found that the test areas had an average of 13 pesticides in their system. These pesticides are derived from the food that we eat and the environments we walk in and, then, bring in the house.

Utilizing native plants can mitigate and frequently negate the need for sprays in the landscape, and you’re helping develop a wildlife refuge out back.

sustainable garden design perth

Since native plants support more wildlife than nonnatives, with them generates a space of exploration and wonder for kids. Exposure to character has been proven to increase creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and confidence, while easing symptoms of ADHD. As soon as I was growing up I had more intense relationships with sticks and horns and dirt than that I could remember. Were you aware dirt includes microscopic organisms which, via contact with our skin, raise levels of serotonin? No wonder I’m glad when I’m digging into the dirt!

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

As soon as I began the backyard in 2007, I’d be outdoors for six hours every day; my wife would wonder exactly what happened to me personally. While the backyard has always been a place for me to work through complex ideas and feelings within my everyday life, it eventually brought my wife and me nearer, even though she doesn’t garden like I do.

I remember one day when, walking the backyard, she insisted on studying some Latin plant names. After some time it was too much to take in, so she sat on the seat while I putzed around neighboring enjoying a spider weaving a web.

I could hear my wife muttering the Latin title for Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium. “You-pa-tor-eeee-ummmmmmm,” she was saying, with fun pulling the final syllables. I’d won her over in the backyard like I had won her over on our first date.

Together we thrive in our native plant garden, in the same way the butterflies, birds and bees glide overhead and property on sunflowers and prairie dock, hungry for a place of belonging, a wildlife refuge in suburbia, a place to call home.

Do you grow plants indigenous to your region? Please discuss your own favorites!

More: Planting for birds and butterflies

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Summer Plants: How to Grow Peppers

You can fill your backyard with peppers and it wouldn’t be boring. With sweet peppers and hot peppers; white, orange, yellow, red, green, brown and purple peppers; big peppers and tiny peppers; and round, ruffled, bell-shaped and peppers that are long, there’s enough variety to satisfy any pepper enthusiast.

Peppers are usually split into two broad classes: sweet peppers and hot peppers. The best-known sweet peppers are bell peppers, however there are plenty of others on the market, a lot of which are amazingly flavorful. Sexy peppers live up to their name. They get their essential hotness in the capsaicin they contain, along with the hotness can vary from slightly above mild to cool. Some hot peppers resemble sweet peppers, so be sure to check exactly what you’re planting.

All peppers need the exact same growing conditions, although hot peppers take a little more time to mature and like it a little warmer.

Note: While peppers love warm weather, nighttime temperatures consistently above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) can result in a bad harvest.

Barbara Pintozzi

When to plant: Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before planting into peat or fresh pots; set out seedlings at least one week following the last freeze date and when soil temperature has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

Days to maturity: 60 to 120 after transplanting

moderate requirement: Full sun

Water necessity: Frequent

Sweet peppers: Ace, Apple, Baby Belle, Bell Boy, California Wonder, Giant Marconi, Golden Bell, Gypsy, Jingle Bells, big sweet cherry, Lilac Belle, mini chocolate bell, mini red bell, mini yellow bell, Pepperoncini, Purple Beauty, Red Heart, Red Ruffled, Sweet Banana, Sweet Chocolate, sweet pimiento, Tequila, Valencia, Yolo Wonder Hot peppers: Anaheim, ancho (poblano), cayenne, habanero, Hungarian Hot Wax varieties, jalapeño, Mariachi, Mirasol, Mulato, NuMex Pinata, NuMex Suave Red, Padron, Pasilla, serrano, Tabasco, Thai Dragon, Thai Hot, Trinidad Perfume

Andrea Meyers

Planting and maintenance: select a website with abundant, well-draining soil in sunlight that is sheltered from end — warmer conditions mean hotter peppers. Wait until both soil temperatures and outdoor temperatures have grown. Sweet peppers like temperatures at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) during the daytime, whereas hot peppers like it even warmer, up to 85 (29) degrees.

Dig approximately 1 to 2 1 1/2 feet deep and add compost or another rich organic matter into the planting site. Place plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart, settling them in only slightly thicker than they had been planted in their developing pots; space rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Taller peppers might require staking or caging; if you think you’ll want support, it is best to put it in place at this moment. If cutworms are an issue in your region, add collars around the young seedlings.

When growing space is limited, plant berries with little fruits in containers. Select a pot that is at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter and feed gently throughout the growing season.

Whether in the garden or in pots, keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy throughout the growing season. Do not despair if elevated temperatures trigger a loss of petroleum production; regular care, such as watering, will help ensure that production will increase when the weather cools down. When the soil is reliably warm, mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds.

Feed plants with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer since they set blossoms, but don’t overfeed. A fertilizer designed for tomatoes is a good option. Many experts suggest spraying the leaves and blossoms with a diluted solution of magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, at this opportunity to increase production.

Though peppers are usually sturdy, armyworms, aphids, some beetles, caterpillars, corn borers, mites and whiteflies may cause occasional issues. If viruses are an issue in your region, start looking for varieties which are resistant and rotate plantings.

Harvest: Cut fruit in the plant with scissors or pruning shears. Harvest sweet peppers once they’ve reached full size or allow them to continue to color; they’re sweeter the more time they ripen. Pimientos are an exception; don’t harvest until they are reddish.

Harvest hot peppers once they reach full size. You can select them while they’re still green or wait until they turn red or yellow for a more complex flavor. As a precaution, wear gloves when harvesting and keep both hands and gloves away from the face, especially your eyes.

Best advice: After picking or utilizing hot peppers, wash your hands thoroughly, then rub them with vegetable oil, then wash them again.

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Texas Gardener's October Garden Checklist

Fall is finally here, so take a big, deep, crisp breath. Your summertime cleanup is finished, and now it’s time to plant, plant plant. Fall is the absolute best time to receive plants in the floor, as it gives them two cooler weeks to set deep roots. Plants put in now and next month will be much larger, will blossom better and will be more drought tolerant next calendar year. What exactly are you waiting for? Get out your trowel and shovel and get digging.

J. Peterson Garden Design


Wildflower seeds. October is the perfect time to plant those seeds if you would like a little all-natural accent in your garden or if you’re intending to create a wildflower meadow or prairie. Try out bluebonnets, coreopsis, poppies, Indian paintbrush and Indian costume.

Pay particular focus on bed and dirt preparations as you sow these seeds select a sunny site, till up all the present grass and weeds, incorporate up to 1 inch of compost, sow seeds according to package directions and water in well.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Annual flowers and ornamental plants. So many cool-season annuals can be planted this month — pansies, violas, snapdragons, alyssum, dusty miller, calendulas, poppies and nasturtiums are all fantastic choices. If your place is having a bit of an Indian summer with higher temperatures, make sure you hold off another week until things cool off a bit.

Use annuals and other ornamental plants, like cabbage and kale, in containers in addition to in the fronts of the beds and borders as slower-growing accents.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Trees, shrubs and perennials. Look around to see if any of your mature shrubs or trees are showing signs of demise after last year’s devastating drought and warmth — it often requires a complete year to observe the harm. If some of your bigger plants are on the downslide, take the chance now to remove them and replant. The same goes for your perennials, as autumn is the perfect time to get them in the floor. Try out salvias, columbine, yarrow and esperanza in addition to ornamental grasses.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Naturalized bulbs. Many bulbs, like tulips, require a cooling period to obtain energy to regenerate following spring. Those types do not work really well in our gardens (zone 7a to 8), as the weather simply does not typically get cold enough. Not so with naturalized bulbs, that can be well suited to our environment. Try out daffodils, bearded irises, muscari, spider lilies, oxblood lilies, crocuses, alliums and anemones. These bulbs usually like bright areas and needs to be planted at a depth of 3 times the width of the bulb.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Vegetables. Cool-season vegetables are so abundant and healthy, so attempt to tuck in a couple of new ones this year. Broccoli, turnips, cauliflower, spinach, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, cabbage, collards and other greens can also be planted now. If you’re expecting a hard freeze, consider adding some row cover to protect your veggies, but otherwise these plants will take the crisper weather in stride and provide you months of produce.

Ground covers. Ground covers are important for erosion control, as a low-growing accent in front of a border or as a way to compensate for grass that will not grow beneath a shade tree. Choose Asian lavender, lamb’s ears, mondo grass, liriope, ajuga or periwinkle. Be sure you know which floor covers like bright websites and which ones prefer shadier conditions, and you’ll be rewarded with lush growth and decent coverage.

The Todd Group


Care for your lawn. Be on the lookout for “brown patch” disease on your lawn, particularly in the event that you have St. Augustine grass. It seems as dead grass in a doughnut shape with fairly green grass in the center. Additionally, take a peek at the base of the grass blades although the blades themselves can look lifeless, the base of them is typically green if you have brown patch. This disease is caused by many things — improper watering and fertilizing, together with warm evenings, are a few of the more common causes.

When you have properly identified your grass issue and are confident you’re dealing with brownish patch, then you’ll need to use a fungicide to kill it. Should you use a fungicide and you do not have brown patch, then the remedy is going to do your grass no good. Consistently follow the package directions for the best result.

Check out more early-fall lawn tips


Divide perennials. Transplant or share your branches of timber ferns, cannas, shasta daisies, bearded irises, violets and daylilies. Over the years these plants create bigger spreading growth, which can crowd out other plants and contribute to diminished blooms.

Carefully dig them up — I like to use a tined garden fork for this — and then gently separate the root ball with your fork, shovel or hand pruners. Immediately replant your branches, or share with your neighbors, for double the amount of plants at no extra cost.

More guides to Texas gardening | Find your U.S. garden checklist

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Mid-Atlantic Gardener's October Checklist

In the ever-changing leaves of oaks and maples into the harvesting of fall edibles, fall is a time of beauty and bounty. October is the month when all the hard work at the garden pays off, the natural world says farewell to some year with a bang of vibrant colour, and the weather is more gorgeous than it is going to be for the remainder of the year. Don’t miss it. Throw open these windows, choose long day walks and delight in the very last bounty of this yummy season!

Amy Renea

It’s the very end of this late-summer crop, so collect the bounty as you can. You may still have potatoes to crop if you planted a second batch in summertime. Mine have bloomed and are only beginning to turn brown. From the end of this month, they’ll be ready to pull out of the ground prior to a legitimate frost strikes.

Amy Renea

Hint: Together with the nights cold and the days hot and sunny, tomatoes and eggplants can endure under a blanket of burlap or other defense.

Produce a tabletop arrangement with the fall harvest

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Seedpods are everywhere you look, and the following effects of blooming can be even more amazing than the blossoms.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Take pleasure in the beauty but make certain that you cut down any plants which may infest your garden with tens of thousands of unwanted plants. An area of Queen Anne’s lace seedpods is amazing to look at, but oh my, the havoc it will wreak on your summer garden next season!

Amy Renea

Still have blooms on pumpkin and gourd vines? Cut off them. At this point in the season, you want the fruit that’s already on the vine to ripen instead of fresh fruit developing. There isn’t time for fresh fruit to grow to adulthood, so give the existing pumpkins a increase by plucking those blossoms until they get started.

Amy Renea

Herbs are plentiful all fall, but they’ll disappear sooner than you can say “Jack” when frost comes knocking. Harvest mint, lemon balm (shown), rosemary and other people to keep them for winter. Dry the herbs, chop and freeze them or use them in soaps to get new herbs.

Amy Renea

Following your herbs possess dried, consider making your own tea mixes for winter. I blend stevia (shown) with numerous herbs for exceptional and cheap teas. So long as I have new herbs, though, I will brew up a batch every single day until my luck runs out.

Amy Renea

While you’re maintaining edibles, consider preserving a few blossoms too. Flat flowers like zinnias press nicely, while large bunches like hydrangeas dry well as big clumps.

D-CRAIN Design and Construction

Grasses are in all their glory in October. They seem best in drifts at which the end can ripple through them like water.

Wagner Hodgson

Trees will also be beginning to put on a display. At the beginning of the month, you’ll start to find the tiniest hint of colour.

Mid-October brings bolder and brighter screens which are as magical as they are spooky at the early-morning fog.

Obviously, the real show is in late October, when the trees wear a symphony of colour and move out in a blaze of glory. There is nothing better.

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11 Seductive Landscapes That Lure With Less

At the tender age of 16 I had been introduced by my mom to the fan dancing — a dated, although a lot of unkind, variant of this striptease. She gave a running narrative as she broke her moves, known as, I suppose, by some maternal instinct to give me critical life skills I’d need as a grownup. The timing of her dancing tutorial was a little suspicious, but the lesson I learned has served me well.

Here is the takeaway piece from Mother’s fan dance instruction: It isn’t necessarily what you show that produces something sexy/alluring/compelling; it’s exactly what you do not show. When you get right down to it, the mere suggestion of something more to come really grabs your attention, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, this principle applies to a broad range of topics far beyond fan dancing.

Try this easy trick the next time that you would like to enthrall and engage your viewers: Don’t reveal the whole image in one glance — stimulate their imagination and draw them with a tantalizing glimpse of a part of this picture. Trust me, they’ll clamor for more.

Read on for examples of how to apply the theory to the business of landscape design.

Cary Bernstein Architect

I don’t know about you, but that framed partial view of the pool and slice of the distant mountains topped with a huge, clear skies makes me want to run out and see what lies beyond the limits of this window frame. I wonder what’s past the far side of the pool. I am compelled to go out and look over the edge.

Andrew Renn

The sumptuous curves of this garden draw you to the composition immediately. The enchanting arbor brings you into deeper and guarantees access to the garden which can be found in the distance. But without passing under that arch, crossing that threshold and rounding that last curve in the yard, you’ll never understand what’s back there.


What lies beyond this garden gate? The glimpse of red foliage draws the attention to the garden, and the yard appears to lead beyond it to the left, inviting the viewer to research.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

This”humble” door is utilized to present the viewer with a photo of the water component within the walled garden. The come-hither path brings the attention to the garden wall, throughout the door and to the garden, leading to we know not where.

Intriguing, right? (Not to belabor my point, but see the way you might think about this trick as the landscape design equivalent of a peep show?)

Shirley Bovshow

This is a joyous and beckoning path. I would like to pass through the arch, then skip down the stepstones, nip under that jacaranda tree and determine what’s back there!

Exteriorscapes llc

Here is another path you simply need to follow.The secret is to create a strong visual pull down the path without showing its own destination.

Don’t have a huge garden? Simply curve the trail beyond view to draw the eye down the path and create the illusion that there’s more garden to be discovered around the bend.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

This proposal of a path invites a leisurely stroll in the woods.

Whether you heed the siren’s cry, only looking out the window and the trail gives a momentary respite from the workaday world.

Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer

Play to all the sensations to enchant your garden guests. Add a couple of aromatic plants, such as the stephanotis wrapped around this particular column. Perfume the atmosphere with a touch of orange blossom or lavender — only enough to make 1 wonder where that heavenly scent is coming out of and seek its origin.

Tip: Subtlety adds to the allure. Avoid overwhelming the senses with overpowering odor.


Add soothing sounds to your own garden — the murmur of trickling water, the cooing of doves, the distant notes of a wind chime — but visually downplay the origin of the sound, incorporating it in to plantings or tucking it just past the field of vision. You’ll find folks are drawn to audio.

Troy Rhone Garden Design

Look closely at this picture. It’s possible the whole composition is an illusion. Is that a glimpse of a secret garden throughout the”gate,” or is that a broken light door glazed with mirror reflecting the greenery along the edge of this path? Wonderful trick, eh?

(I adore the”protector” goats flanking the door/gate. They add a whimsical touch, making what could otherwise be an intimidating facade very approachable.)

Tongue in Cheek Antiques

Ahhh… The breezy curtains supply a peekaboo view of this intimate sitting area. I can envision myself in this setting savoring a summery vintage and good company on a sultry candlelit evening. Count me in!

Garden Design Principles: Emphasis and Focal Points

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