Sunny Landscape Ideas

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

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.

Master the art of making lovely plant combinations for a cheery, colorful garden.

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.

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.

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.

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