Landscaping Ideas from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Get tricks and tips for creating the garden of your dream from the staff at the BBG.

The 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden, founded in 1910, features more than 10,000 plant varieties and is noted for its collection of flowering cherry trees. It's also beloved for its numerous display gardens, which are a perfect place for home gardeners to get ideas for their landscapes.

Add Color with Paint

The red gate in the background of this photo may be a traditional element of Japanese gardens, but it's also a great example of how you can use garden structures to give your garden impact and uniqueness. Consider painting a pergola, arbor, or fence to give it a year-round pop.

Mass Plants for Impact

Like most plants, spring-blooming bulbs look best in large numbers. Here, waves of thousands of English bluebells put on an amazing show for a few weeks in spring. You may not have room to put on a display like this but you can get the look by naturalizing lots of blue Siberian squill in your lawn.

Add Romance with Roses

Few plants catch our attention and evoke the emotional response that roses do. Happily, there are roses that thrive with little care in virtually every garden. See a wonderful selection at the BBG's rose collection.

Select Plants with Multiseason Interest

Many common garden plants put on their prime show for just a couple of weeks. So get more from your landscape by choosing plants with several seasons of interest. For example, flowering cherry trees have beautiful blossoms, but look for selections that also display great fall color and have attractive bark.

Garden Inside, Too

Walk through the BBG's conservatory and you'll see a variety of tropical plants -- many of which will thrive in a bright kitchen, living room, or bedroom. The colorful croton with red, orange, yellow, and green leaves (shown in this photo) is just one example that you can grow at home.

Enjoy a Tropical Escape

Conservatories are a perfect place to battle cabin fever because they surround you with lush tropical growth, fragrant flowers, and warm, moist air.

Include Evergreens

Tuck in an evergreen or two for year-round interest. Evergreens are especially useful for gardens in snowy climates, such as New England, the Midwest, and Mountain West. Do a little research or walk through a public display garden and you may be amazed at the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of evergreens. There are even flowering varieties such as rhododendrons.

Plant for Fall Color

Extend the beauty of a garden through fall by planting trees, shrubs, and even perennials that have foliage that turns beautiful colors in autumn.

Just Add Water

Water has a magical effect in the landscape; it makes any garden more memorable. Find a way to include a water feature, however small (even a birdbath or tabletop fountain), in your yard.

Frame Views

Give your yard a professionally designed look by framing views. It can be as simple as situating a dramatic plant or piece of landscape art so it's seen through an arbor or pergola. Or take a lesson from this photo and line a walkway with shrubs or small trees.

Provide Good Paths

Keep your garden safe for you and guests by providing good pathways. Materials such as brick, slate, and pavers offer solid footing and come in a wide range of colors, styles, and prices. Or consider gravel, wood mulch, and other less common choices to fit your landscape's look.

Add Exotic Plants

Exotic plants, such as lotus, give your garden a special touch. They appear out of the ordinary, but many are no more difficult to grow than the plants already in your yard.

Grow Flowers for Cutting

Be sure to add a few extra plants of your favorite flowers so you can cut the blossoms and bring them indoors to decorate your home or office -- or to share with friends and family.

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