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Popular in Gardening

A No-Mow Backyard

You can keep your mower in the shed when you replace your lawn with these fast-growing, durable plants. Our planting plan also ensures color all season long.

This backyard garden is designed with two key features in mind: eliminate the lawn and add year-round beauty. The designer incorporated tough, reliable plants that look good even when the weather turns harsh. For details about each section of the garden, see the pages that follow.

Good Bones

A well-designed landscape has good "bones" -- elements that remain visible and attractive all year. In this case, the bones include a multicolor brick patio, a flagstone path, and an ornamental latticetop fence for background and privacy. A line of evergreen arborvitaes and a Washington hawthorn tree also look good in all four seasons.

Colorful Contrasts

The purple leaves of the barberry and bugleweed offer a nice contrast to surrounding flowers and green foliage. Northern sea oats provide nearly year-round interest.

Plant List: (A) Japanese barberry 'Bailtwo'. (B) Garden phlox 'David'. (C) Bugleweed 'Bronze Beauty'. (D) Northern sea oats. (E) Fountain grass 'Hameln'. (F) Blackberry lily. (G) Daylily 'Happy Returns'.

Plants of Note

Northern sea oats is one of several ornamental grasses included in this design. They provide nearly year-round interest and their height makes an attractive foil for shorter plants.

See also: The Beauty of Ornamental Grasses

Softening Hard Edges

Arborvitae and purple-flowered clematis 'Jackmanii' soften the hard look of the privacy fence. Phlox, hosta, and dwarf fountain grass soften the edge of the flagstone path.

Plant List: (J) Clematis 'Jackmanii'. (I) Summersweet 'Ruby Spice'. (K) Arborvitae 'Techny'. (B) Garden phlox 'David'. (D) Northern sea oats. (L) Rose 'Purple Pavement'. (H) Heart-leaf bergenia 'Winter Glow'. (F) Blackberry lily. (E) Fountain grass 'Hameln'. (G) Daylily 'Happy Returns'.

Plants of Note

'Jackmanii' clematis is a reliable vine that features large, velvety purple flowers and grows about 10 feet tall. 'Ruby Spice' summersweet is a good background plant as well. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and offers fragrant pink flowers in midsummer and yellow foliage in fall.

Vertical Accent

A Washington hawthorn, which will grow about 20-25 feet tall, provides a vertical element for the design. And because it provides only light shade, many plants will do well underneath, including shade-lovers like hosta and sun-lovers like feather reed grass.

Plant List: (Q) Washington hawthorn. (S) Ninebark 'Monlo'. (P) Hosta 'Sum and Substance'. (N) Coralbells 'Cherries Jubilee'. (U) Toad lily 'Miyakaki'. (T) Hosta 'Great Expectations'. (L) Rose 'Purple Pavement'.

Plants of Note

Hostas are good space fillers for shade and semishade. Their large leaves add an interesting texture to the setting, especially when paired with the bladelike foliage of grasses and daylilies.

Foliage Stars

A varied sweep of perennials ensures that there are elements of interest even when not in bloom. Daylilies, hosta, and red-leaved coralbells provide a wonderful contrast of leaf color, shape, and size. Feather reed grass adds plumes that carry well beyond the first frost.

Plant List: (M) Golden carpet sedum. (N) Coralbells 'Jubilee'. (O) Feather reed grass 'Overdam'. (H) Heart-leaf bergenia 'Winter Glow'. (P) Hosta 'Sum and Substance'. (Q) Washington hawthorn. (N) Coralbells 'Cherry Jubilee'. (U) Toad lily 'Miyazaki'. (G) Daylily 'Happy Returns. (O) Feather reed grass "Overdam'. (B) Garden phlox 'David'.

Plants of Note

'Happy Returns' daylily is an offspring of the ever-popular 'Stella d'Oro' and has the same ability to bloom repeatedly. The difference: it has bright canary-yellow flowers instead of gold.


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