Sunny Landscape Ideas

Plants with showy blooms and pretty foliage are welcome additions to sunny garden spots.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Soft Shades

    Hard- and softscape elements complement each other in this sunny bed.

    • Stone columns define the edges of a slim garden bed.
    • A wood fence provides the flowerbed with a bright backdrop.
    • Planted at regular intervals, ravennagrass offers wispy foliage.
    • Large patches of Shasta daisy accent the color of hardscape elements (such as the fence).
    • Purple asters lend pops of color to the space.
  • Gorgeous Garden Bed

    Foliage and trees fill a gently sloped site.

    • Many trees do best under the warmth of full sun.
    • Curves in this sunny garden bed soften the squares and angles of the house behind it.
    • Sun-loving beds aren't just for flowers; consider ornamental grasses, which often demand full-time rays to reach their full height.
    • Lavender and black-eyed Susans provide pops of color in the garden bed.
    • Plants conquer the gentle slope of this site, filling what would otherwise be a boring garden vista with graceful foliage and blooms.
  • Video: Create a Colorful Garden

    Watch this quick video for easy tips on boosting the color quotient in your garden.

  • A Tower of Plants

    Tall flowers play up color and foliage.

    • An open spot in a lawn provides a good spot for tall, sun-loving flowers.
    • Most ornamental grasses love full sun. A bonus: They offer good structure during winter months.
    • If plants need more day-to-day maintenance, such as daylilies that require deadheading, put them in front to enable easier access.
    • Many flowerbeds include plants that gradually transition from short to tall, but this flowerbed offers dramatic height all the way throughout.
    • Dahlias and lilies supply bright pops of hot color.
  • Sun Lovers

    A lovely collection of plants adds beauty to a yard.

    • Place plants with contrasting colors -- hot purples and pinks versus pastel oranges -- in separate areas of a garden.
    • Edging can be formal or informal; the former, shown in this sunny bed, provide a neater border for a garden.
    • To draw winged visitors, offer a moving source of water, such as this pretty birdbath.
    • Patches of annuals, such as petunias, fill in empty spots in a mostly perennial bed.
    • Strategically placed stretches of boxwood break up large expanses of flowers.
  • Bend in the Bed

    A rippling flowerbed dresses up a garden.

    • Undulating curves create a gentle edge to both the border and the beds in this garden.
    • In place of a hardscape material, a stretch of lawn serves as walkway.
    • A castor bean adds vertical height to the flowerbed.
    • Repeating plants, including delphinium and phlox, supply visual consistency.
    • Annuals such as snapdragons add welcome bursts of bright color.
  • Pretty in Pastel

    A casual cottage garden distinguishes itself with a loose collection of plants.

    • Places to sit or display are often separated or surrounded by flowers; here, a table nestles naturally within a bevy of plants.
    • Glass cloches are used to shield plants from cool, early-season temperatures, but later in the year, they provide an interesting hardscape element for a garden.
    • Tall flowering shrubs, such as butterfly bush, supply vertical interest and draw wildlife, too.
    • Another good addition to sunny gardens: herbs, which work well either planted in-ground or in containers.
    • Clusters of pastel plants, including zinnias, coneflower, and cosmos, provide color without being too overwhelming.
  • Spectacular Blossoms

    Purples and yellows supply a flowerbed with subdued color.

    • Narrower beds are easier to access from both sides, making them easier to maintain.
    • Repeating plants and colors, shown here in a planting of cranesbill and coralbells, fills a pretty flower border.
    • Mounding plants maintain a view of the rest of the garden.
    • To create a more casual appeal to the garden, flowers and shrubs are left to grow in a natural pattern.
    • The foliage of bearded iris offers vertical visual interest to the garden.
  • Right Angles

    Geometry supplies beauty in this stately garden.

    • A series of squares and rectangles lends calming visual interest.
    • Use sculptures and stately containers, such as the patterned pieces in this space, to reinforce your garden's design.
    • A long metal bench provides a spot to enjoy shrubs and trees.
    • Site tall trees and shrubs to shield house facades from view.
    • Showy flowers dress up most sun-loving gardens; this one relies on elegant compositions of shrubs to define interior spaces.
  • 10 of 12

    Better Blooms

    A show-stopping collection of sun-loving plants supplies front yard brilliance.

    • A parking strip is the perfect place to include add flowers.
    • Give a garden bed presence with an edging material that provides vertical support.
    • Nearly hidden by showy foliage, lower-height stucco walls offer terraces for plants.
    • Many flowers -- iris, verbena, freesia, daisies -- do double duty: Pretty blooms outside can be cut and brought indoors.
    • Pops of color brighten the ivy-covered front facade of this house.
  • 11 of 12

    Bountiful Border

    Blooms brighten a slim space between sidewalk and fence.

    • A sunny spot is a good spot for a trellis planted with a climbing rose.
    • Matching containers planted with bright annuals flank a home's walkway.
    • Chosen for their height, flowering plants don't obscure the fence.
    • Grouping flowers in threes is a common planting rule of thumb, but alternating plants, as this border does, also offers a visually appealing design.
    • Lights cling close to the ground, supplying security and highlighting flowers.
  • Next Slideshow What Should I Plant Together?

    What Should I Plant Together?

    What plants go together? Pairing plants by color, season of bloom, and shape can sometimes be confusing. So, here's a list of some of our favorite combinations with tips on how to put them to good use in your landscape.
    Begin Slideshow »
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