Create Architectural Garden Accents

These Pacific Northwestern gardeners have created a lush oasis with a decidedly architectural feel.

Create Flow

The Andersons did a great job of creating flow in their Washington landscape. Here, a meandering lawn draws the eye to a colorful patio right off the house.

Test Garden Tip: Lush plantings help soften the patio and create a transition from it to the lawn. Use taller plants to help conceal part of your patio and add a sense of mystery to your yard. This is not only visually interesting, but it will also help your yard feel larger.

Add Living Space

Make sure you leave a spot where you can enjoy your yard -- even if it's in the front yard. The Andersons put in this formal patio as an interesting accent to the front of their 100-year-old house. Creating a grand entry can work for every landscape -- no matter how old or new your house is.

Test Garden Tip: The white arbor is the focal point of this patio. It not only looks great from every angle, but frames the front door of the house perfectly.

Keep It Clean

Raised brick edges mark the planting areas and help keep the patio clean: Water and debris won't spill out onto the paving. Plus, it helps create a more formal feel which suits the Andersons' patio.

Test Garden Tip: For a put-together look, use the same material as your patio paving or what your house is made from to create your edging. For a funky, artistic look, go with a completely different material or color. For example, painting the bricks bright blue would create a very different effect.

Add Accents

The Andersons tucked a bird feeder in among a drift of pink 'Angela' roses. The upright bird feeder helps draw the eye up and adds an extra level of interest to the planting.

Test Garden Tip: One of the disadvantages of having a bird feeder in the garden is that the spilled seeds often sprout and become weedy. Put an extra-deep layer of mulch over the soil around your feeders to help decrease the number of unwanted seedlings.

Use Space Wisely

Though tiny, this patio does double duty for the Andersons. It provides a place to sit and enjoy a morning cup of coffee as well as adding an interesting vertical element to the garden. The pergola features rose 'Constance Spry' and pink clematis.

Test Garden Tip: The simple pergola helps the patio feel at home in the landscape, especially among the other vertical elements the Andersons favor. Look for similar themes to apply to your landscape.

Soften Your Structures

A pink clematis helps soften the post of the Andersons' pergola. This is an easy way to help pergolas or other structures feel more finished -- and add extra flower power to your yard without taking up much space.

Test Garden Tip: Choose your vines carefully. Clematis are favorites because most don't get too big. Wisteria, climbing hydrangea, and trumpet vine look cute when they're young, but can eventually climb to 30 feet or more. If your vine is too big and heavy, it could collapse its support.

Take Advantage of Texture

The Andersons created a lively scene with two upright pillars salvaged from an old greenhouse. The upright purple-leaf barberries echo the vertical form and mounding Japanese forestgrass (Hakonechloa) as a striking color and textural contrast.

Test Garden Tip: You can utilize texture on different levels for different effects. Here, for example, the grasses' mounding habit contrasts with the tall pillars. But the leaf texture plays as important a role contrasting against the smaller-leaf barberry and the boulders.

Enjoy Beautiful Foliage

The Andersons created an all-gold garden tucked away in their landscape. This secret garden glows in the morning and evening light -- and looks good all year because the Andersons don't have to worry about plants going in and out of bloom.

Test Garden Tip: Gold and chartreuse have become increasingly popular so plant breeders have been hard at work producing gold-leaf varieties. You can find a gold-leaf selection now of just about every plant.

Plant with Abundance

Opposite the gold garden, the Andersons have a rich perennial border filled with character-rich plants. For example, the mounding pink Helianthemum, purple-leaf Hebe, and red Phygelius create a dense planting. The bold foliage of a tree peony helps raise the eye, creating additional vertical interest.

Test Garden Tip: Planting tightly together creates a rich, lush look and also decreases garden maintenance. Closely growing plants do a much better job of shading out weeds.

Go Bold with Color

Gold isn't the only color the Andersons have put to work in their garden. Here, a cluster of red Astilbe and Phygelius are a bold contrast to a green curtain of foliage a silvery accent from licorice plant.

Test Garden Tip: You can use color to make bold statements in the garden by selecting colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, pair red with green, purple with orange, and blue with yellow. And silver is a great accent to virtually every color combination.

Enjoy Your Yard

The Andersons have created a refuge full of rich color and texture. Many of their ideas help create the illusion of a more spacious yard.

Test Garden Tip: Give yourself more time to enjoy your yard and less time tending to it by employing low-maintenance strategies such as picking plants suited to your climate, spreading mulch over the soil to inhibit weeds (and reduce your watering time), and planting densely.

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