Simply Charming

Pretty Easy Flower Beds Front Yard

Make your entry garden colorful and cozy

Pink Jasmine Front Patio

Written by Ruth Rogers Clausen

This front porch garden makes a charming and welcoming entryway. The owner used only white, silver, pink and blue plants. It's low maintenance because the groundcovers help keep weeds from sprouting in the garden beds and between the pathway stones. This pretty garden stays in bloom most of the year in its sunny Southern California location, but these plants will do well in nearly any area, just replace the jasmine with clematis and the agapanthus with daylilies for colder climates. Here's how to replicate this look in your own front yard.

  • Erect a fence in a style that echoes the architecture of your home and butts up to the corners of the house. A gate in the same style provides continuity.
  • Stick to a simple palette using different plants and textures in the same colors.
  • Soften the edges of the pathway with low, mounding plants.
  • Create interest between pavers with prostrate plants that tolerate both dry conditions and light foot traffic.
  • Select plants that thrive in your climate but require little maintenance.
  • Accent the vertical lines of the house with climbers to provide strong exclamation points.

Selected Plants

1 Confederate jasmine

(Trachelospermum jasminoides)

2 Rose (Rosa Iceberg')

3 Rose (Rosa 'Nearly Wild1)

4 Trailing lobelia (Lobelia erinus 'Riviera Midnight Blue')

5 Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae)

6 Geranium (Pelargonium)

7 Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus a frican us) >f¡

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Problems Solved

The pros answer your questions

Cynthia Van Hazinga

Written by Cynthia Van Hazinga

Q, How can I make a small garden look larger? My yard is flat and has a few large conifers but little else.

MRS. TONY HARRIS, AGAWAM, MA

Small gardens are great for creativity! For a stylish look, select annuals in dark colors such as purple, blue and green tor background—try Wave petunias in purple—and brighter colors like yellow, orange and red (such as Zahara zinnias) in the foreground to make the space appear larger. Limit the number of flower colors and choose those that blend well together, repeating them throughout the landscape, suggests Jessie Atchison, consumer brand manager at Ball Horticultural Company. Plants that are vertical, smaller in size, or fine-textured with open branches and delicate flowers make space seem more open. Serena Angelonia is a great option. By leaving the ccntcr of your garden open, you draw the eye to the edges. Add depth by using layering techniques or plant medium-size shrubs and smaller plants under the large conifers to add a sense of space. If you can, "borrow" space beyond your yard: Leave neighboring views open. A winding path through the length of the yard is a great finishing touch, again creating a feeling of more space.

Q. Can you really grow moss instead of grass? Doesn't it die when stepped on?

ALICE PUCHINELLO, RICHMOND, VA

Lovely, bright-green moss lawns arc a conccpt that's catching on fast. No

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one knows more about them than Christine Cook, a Southwestern Connecticut ecological landscape designer, who calls her business Mossaics. "There's a moss for every situation," she tells us, "so a preliminary site analysis will tell you if you need moss that likes it wet or dry, shady, in full sun, in acid soil or not." Cook grows 38 species and says it's a misunderstanding that all mosses love acidic conditions. As ever, it's the right plant for the right place. What's more, moss is low-care once established, it's evergreen and deer don't like it.

True, mosses don't like heavy foot traffic—so create a path. Paths set in moss are very pretty, as the moss creeps onto the stone or brick and softens the edges. On rock walls, it can give an "instant ancient" look. Never steal moss from thewoods, Cookcautions. "Check out the nurseries in you r area and make sure their moss is nursery-propagated. Contact the agricultural college in your state for recommendations."

Q. f would love to grow an apple tree that bears delicious fruit. How long would it take, and would I have to spray with pesticides?

DEANNA FLiNTSTROM, CHESTERTOWN, MD

In contrast to apple trees of yore, which grew large and took a long time to bear, today's apple trees arc available in a range of sizes, some of which bear as soon as 2 to 3 years after planting. According to Lee Reich, a garden consultant specializing in fruit plants and soil, rootstocks influence size and bear ing age but have little effect on the fruit, so a "Mcintosh" apple will be the same fruit on any of these trees. Generally, varieties grown on dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstocks bear quickest. Apples have serious pest problems over the eastern halt of the country. To reliably harvest edible fruits, plan on spraying regularly, using the right materials at the right times as specified on pesticide labels. Pest control info is available from local Cooperative Extension offices. Organic sprays arc a possibility, although they arc less effective than synthetics and require more frequent application. An excellent resource for growing apples is The Apple Grower by Michael Phillips (Chelsea Green, 2005). Lee Reich (leereich.com) is the author of A Northeast Gardener's Year, The Pruning Book, Weedless Gardening, Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden and Landscaping with Fi nit.

BELOW: Apple trees have come a long way since the days of Johnny Appleseed. Today, dwarf varieties offer apples of every kind and grow in smaller spaces.

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Got 3 question? Send queries to Ask the Experts, c/o Woman's Day SIPs, 1633 Broadway, 42nd floor, New York, NY 10019; send e-mail to [email protected]; or fax us at 212-767-5618, Include your name, address and daytime phone number. We regret that we are unable to reply to every question.

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Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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