Fall Landscaping Lessons

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This Canadian Japanese-style garden turns spectacular in the fall.

Create a Dramatic Entrance

It's important to make a good first impression -- and that goes for your landscape, too. Here, evergreens play against a trio of colorful maples -- purple-red 'Garnet' Japanese maple in the front, orange-red 'Osakazuki' Japanese maples to the right, and golden big-leaf maple in background.

Use Foliage Color & Texture

In most gardens, foliage plays a key role in the fall design. Here, a scarlet-red Japanese maple creates a playful contrast against ferns that have turned gold.

Texture is important, too -- mix different leaf sizes and shapes to create impact. Here, for example, note the way the grasses, Japanese maple, and evergreens look together.

Accent a Water Feature

The design of this Canadian garden was based on Japanese strolling gardens. Its heart is a pair of ponds just outside the home's back door. A shallow lily pond blends into a deeper koi pond -- and both are accented by a fiery-orange Japanese maple. Add more impact to maples and other trees with great fall foliage by planting them next to a water feature so you can see their leaves reflected below.

Choose the Right Materials

Gardens aren't only about plants. While the orange Japanese maple is definitely the showstopper here, the well-weathered wooden bridge, fence, and gate are perfect accents -- and act as focal points during the rest of the growing season.

Blur the Edges

It's easy to think of a garden as having distinct areas -- but blending the edges helps the garden feel more put together. Here, the arching form of blue oatgrass (Helictotrichon) mimics the bridge and blends it with the banks. The blue oatgrass is also a great foil against bright Japanese maple and the big leaves of gunnera across the path.

Create Destinations

What good is a great fall garden if you don't have places to rest and enjoy it? Here a teahouse is a great spot for taking an afternoon break. It's nestled in against a red Japanese maple and linked to the landscape with a stone path.

Create Intrigue

Add excitement to your landscape by blocking views so you can't see everything at once. Here, a fence and gate help hide what comes next, so as you approach, you get only a hint of the golden maple and other foliage that lies on the other side.

Add Personal Elements

Above all, your garden needs to reflect your personality. Here, the gardeners incorporated a wood sculpture that graces the garden all year long, but looks especially good in fall as a backdrop to bright foliage.

Add Fall Accents

Include fall containers or decor, such as pumpkins, to create colorful focal points and lead the eye through the landscape.

Meet the Gardeners

Ceramic artists Robin Hopper and Judi Dyelle share this 6-acre property on Vancouver Island. Robin's love of Asian art helped inspire much of the 2-1/2-acre garden's design, which has evolved over the past 20+ years.

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