Landscaping Ideas from the Dallas Arboretum

Discover tons of garden design secrets at the Dallas Arboretum.

Photos courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum


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Dallas Arboretum
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    The 66-acre Dallas Arboretum is the perfect destination for Southern gardeners. It's a great place to see new plant varieties because the garden runs trials for the All-America Selections program and also does research with Texas A&M University for the Texas Superstar plant program. Don't miss out on the magnolia allee, camellia garden, and bulb display!

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Celebrate Spring-Blooming Shrubs

    The Dallas Arboretum is known for its collection of some 2,800 varieties of azaleas. Spring-blooming varieties put on a big show early in the season and add structure all year.

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Plant Flowering Trees

    Small flowering trees, including dogwoods, redbuds, and crabapples, are a great way to add color and impact to the garden, especially when paired with annuals, perennials, bulbs, or shrubs that bloom at the same time. Think you can't grow them because you don't have full sun? You're in luck: Many small trees naturally grow under the canopy of larger trees so they tolerate shade.

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Mass for Impact

    Virtually any plant -- even common impatiens or geraniums -- become showstoppers when planted in large numbers. Mix colors of the same variety for a dazzling effect or try something more subtle by planting lots of a single selection.

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Plant in Layers

    Add interest by planting in layers to create bands of color. A hedge of red azaleas, for example, makes a perfect backdrop for lavender-blue delphiniums and shorter sunny-yellow tulips. Choosing dramatically different colors catches the eye; selecting similar colors creates a more cohesive look.

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Add Personality

    Look for ways to imbue personal style to your landscape. Creating a flower house like this may be a little over the top, but adding a few topiary bunnies or another form of garden art might be just your thing.

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Use the Power of Perspective

    Want to make your yard look larger? Take a long border, walkway, or strip of lawn and slightly narrow it at the far end. Because we're used to seeing things get smaller with distance, this sleight of hand makes the end of the border seem farther away than it really is.

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Grow Fun Foliage

    Most gardeners think flowers are the only way to create a brilliant, colorful landscape. But plants with attractive leaves offer season-long interest. This display, for instance, features Japanese maples in contrasting colors. They look great together and don't feature a single bloom.

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Pay Attention to Detail

    Crape myrtles are known for their beautiful flowers and great fall foliage. But they also have fun bark, and you can make that a landscape feature, too, as seen in this allee. Other varieties with great bark include amur cherry, many types of birch, paperbark maple, moosewood maple, and sycamore.

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Throw in a Curve

    Soft curves appeal to the eye more than long straight lines. So add a few flowing edges to your beds and borders or redo a walkway to give it a softer, more organic feel.

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Create Drama with Flowering Vines

    Whether it's a climbing hydrangea clambering up a wall, a morning glory filling in a trellis, or a wisteria spilling over a pergola, flowering vines add more color to the landscape. And their vertical nature means they can be superstars without taking up a lot of ground space.

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Add Art

    You'll see a variety of sculptures in garden settings at the Dallas Arboretum -- and get ideas on how to incorporate pieces into your yard. From life-size art to something smaller such as a gazing ball or birdbath, or even an old stump with a great shape, a piece of art is a great way to add character to your yard.

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Include Water

    Many public gardens, including the Dallas Arboretum, display stunning water features. This vanishing-edge pool appears to drop off into the lake beyond and is certainly a stunning water feature.

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Give Yourself a Quiet Spot

    Be sure to leave a quiet corner where you can relax and enjoy all your landscaping work. Anything works -- a bench tucked near a shrub or small tree, as seen in this image, or a small arbor or pergola you can relax beneath.

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Select a Color Scheme

    Make your yard feel put together by choosing a color scheme and sticking to it. Here, pinks and whites blend beautifully. Or go bold and attract attention by using contrasting colors, such as purple and orange or blue and yellow.

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