Soften your Hardscape: Sweet blooms and greenery for garden walls

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Your garden wall project is finished! Now what? Take your Hardscape from great to “gardened” by adding some greenery in a few simple steps.

How many jobs does your wall have?

A wonderful thing about a garden wall is its many functions. Besides defining your patio area, a garden wall is also used as seating, a privacy screen, and of course a place to set down your drink! These uses are important but what if you want to integrate your Hardscape into the landscape? You don’t have to give up function to add form when it comes to garden walls.

Raised Bed

Soften your garden wall’s look by adding greenery to the wall shelf. A shallow raised bed with plants along the length of the wall could extend your landscaping upward. Installing a shallow raised bed on the top of your garden wall doesn’t mean you must sacrifice the convenience of the surface top for sitting and eating. The trick is to install hardy ground cover plants! Ground cover greenery doesn’t have to be on the ground. It works great in a raised bed and it can take the wear and tear that lawns usually endure.

Containers

All-weather, outdoor plant containers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Check your nearest nursery or home store for options (bring an extra paving stone with you to help you match the color of your Hardscape). Place the containers along your garden path and extend them along the shelf of your wall. If possible, place an odd number of containers along the wall. Odd numbers work best because the eye naturally drifts towards the center of a scene or sequence. If you want to preserve some space for sitting, space out the containers. To get the most softness and greenery from containers, plant vines or other “vertical garden” outdoor plants. Vines drape beautifully out of containers and can be gently pushed aside by any guests who would like to sit on the wall.

This creative installation uses ground cover in varied colors to break up the large patio and wall.

Here are some suggestions on ground cover and vines for planting along your garden wall:

Creeping Phlox (phlox subulata). This plant loves full sun and well drained soil, very low maintenance and it fights off weeds. It’s a popular classic perennial for landscapers on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

Brass buttons (leptinella squalida). This plant looks like a patch of tiny ferns and it blooms copper colored round flowers.

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’). Round, bright green leaves and yellow flowers trail down long stems.

Sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina). This ground cover plant can take partial shade but can thrive in hot and dry environments.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris). An evergreen plant that clings to the ground, thyme will fill your garden with a wonderful aroma.

Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). This perennial has a sweet-smelling flower. Be aware in dry zones: It will need watering if the rains take a break.

One sunny day, pick a vantage point on your patio. Mark the spot. Then, from that same position, take pictures of your Hardscape at 8 am, noon, and 6 pm. These pictures will help you and your plant expert determine your garden wall’s sun exposure. Make sure to consider any umbrella or semi-permanent shade structures too.

Grow your garden up and out to make a great green oasis out of your hardscape. Check out our catalog for some ideas.