Garden Design for a Deck

A garden design featuring easy-to-grow shrubs and perennials enhances this deck and helps it blend into the garden.
Brick edging helps prevent grass from invading the beds.

When it comes to integrating a deck into the landscape, most of us settle for a few low-growing evergreens or a line of small shrubs. This mixed border shows that year-round interest and low-maintenance can come together to truly enhance the beauty of a deck.

The free-form beds include plants in a range of heights and foliage colors that helps maintain interest even when the flowers are not in bloom. Most of the plants are suited to a wide range of growing conditions from USDA growing zones 4 to 8.

Planning the Perfect Deck

How the Garden Was Created

West border.

The edges of the bed were laid out with hoses to ensure smooth curves. Next, potted plants were set out to determine the ideal positioning. Once the planting plan was set, the sod was removed and organic matter tilled into the soil.

Along the west side of the deck, ornamental grasses like blue sedge and blue lyme grass get a starring role.

South border.

After the soil was prepared, the bed was planted. Then came the installation of brick edging, and finally, a 3-inch layer of shredded cedar mulch. Limestone pavers were added at the bottom of the deck stairs to keep this high-traffic area looking fresh.

Plants along the south side of the deck include Russian sage, 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susan, and variegated wintercreeper.

Easy Perennials To Grow

Legend

West border.

(A) Variegated eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus'); 5 ft. Zones 5-8. (B) Blue lyme grass (Elymus glaucus); 2 ft. Zones 4-9. (C) 'Vera Jameson' stonecrop (Sedum 'Vera Jameson'); 9 in. Zones 4-9. (D) Wine and Roses weigela (Weigela florida 'Alexandra'); 6 ft. Zones 5-8. (E) 'Ivory Jade' wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei 'Ivory Jade'); 3 ft. Zones 4-9. (F) 'Monch' aster (Aster x frikartii 'Monch'); 3 ft. Zones 5-8. (G) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicfolia); 4 ft. Zones 4-9. (H) 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susan (Rudbecia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'); 2 ft. Zones 3-9. (I) Fernleaf alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula 'Aspelendifoila'); 10 ft. Zones 3-8. (J) Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis); 3 ft. Zones 5-9. (K) 'Prairie Sun' rudbeckia (Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun'); 3 ft. Annual. (L) Blue sedge (Carex glauca); 1 ft. Zones 5-9. (M) Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula); 15 ft. Zones 3-8. (N) Potted annuals on pedestals. (O) 'Blue Chip' creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Chip'); 1 ft. Zones 3-9.

Legend

South border.

(L) Blue sedge (Carex glauca); 1 ft. Zones 5-9. (Q) Angel's Blush hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Ruby'); 8 ft. Zones 4-8. (P) 'Bumalda' Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Bumalda'); 4 ft. Zones 4-9. (R) 'Eichholz' cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri); 1 ft. Zones 5-8. (S) 'Ivory Halo' redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba 'Ivory Halo'); 5 ft. Zones 2-8. (T) 'Ruby Spice' summersweet (Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'); 8 ft. Zones 4-9. (V) Ravennagrass (Erianthus ravennae); 8 ft. Zones 4-10. (U) 'Purple Dome' New England aster (Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'); 18 in. Zones 3-7. (D) Wine and Roses weigela (Weigela florida 'Alexandra'); 6 ft. Zones 5-8. (H) 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susan (Rudbecia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'); 2 ft. Zones 3-9. (G) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicfolia); 4 ft. Zones 4-9. (W) 'Emerald Fountain' Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Emerald Fountain'); 8 ft. Zones 4-8. (E) 'Ivory Jade' wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei 'Ivory Jade'); 3 ft. Zones 4-9. (A) Variegated eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus'); 5 ft. Zones 5-8.

1 Comment

  1. Gardener's are earth friendly people and want to do things the correct way. There are a few plants I definitely would not plant. Some are Invasive and capable of destroying natural areas. Following the placements in the design, I’d recommend:

    Wintercreeper -Euonymous fortunei is a terrible invasive and will smother trees and wildflowers. It’s a creeper that will wreck any natural woodland nearby in short order. Can substitute something like Lonicera sempervirens “Major Wheeler” which is a ’nativar’. Likes to climb and attracts hummingbirds like crazy. Lonicera is a honeysuckle, but this one is native and good.

    Russian Sage - I’m not a fan. Not when you have things like Little Joe-Pye standing by. If it’s the blue you want, try Willow Bluestar Amsonia tabernaemontana

    I’d dump the Weigela and substitute a Ninebark (Physocarpus) such as “coppertina” or “summer wine”.

    Any buckthorn is to be treated with disdain and avoided. There are natives species, but rarely found available in nurseries, Substitute something like:
    American Hornbeam - Carpinus caroliniana
    Witchhazels - Hamamelis virginiana
    Spicebush - Lindera benzoin
    Witherod - Viburnum cassinoides
    Serviceberry - Amelanchier canadensis

    Plan should include Phlox paniculate. Lots of colors, lots of bloom-time, and lots of benefits to native insects.
    Use more native plants and your garden will increase in biodiversity and you'll be able to use less pesticides and water.



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