Terra Ferma Landscapes Flowering maple (Abutilon x hybridum (zones 9 to 11) Other colorful shade-loving plants to consider: Bergenia (Bergenia spp.) Camelia (Camellia japonica, zones 7 to 9) Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.) Winter daphne (Daphne odora, zones 7 to 9) Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis, zones 3 to 8) Spotted henbit (Lamium maculatum, zones 3 to 10) Columbine meadow-rue (Thalictrum aquilegifolium, zones 5 to 8) Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia, zones 4 to 9) Natal lily (Clivia spp.) Pansy (Viola spp., often grown as an annual)
7. Bronze and cream. For a more understated planting color palette, take a look at this partially shaded entry near Boston. Pale Bridal Veil astilbe flowers nearly float above a mixed planting of cranesbill geraniums, ‘Caramel’ coral bells, ornamental grasses and others. The rich variety of textures — broad leaves, feathery grasses and sprays of flowers — make this bed particularly dynamic.
6. Purple, silver and lime. This partial shade bed in a Bainbridge Island, Washington, garden relies on foliage first, then blooms to provide color and interest. In the foreground, a silver mound of ‘Jack Frost’ large-leaf brunnera and gold-leafed bleeding heart, right, add brightness and create contrast with the deep burgundy masterwort flower. Budding astilbe and hydrangea will fill in the back layers with pale white, pink and lavender blooms. Plant combination: Great masterwort (Astrantia major, zones 4 to 7) ‘Jack Frost’ large-leaf brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, zones 3 to 8) Bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’, syn. Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’, zones 3 to 9) Hydrangea (Hydrangea sp.) Astilbe (Astilbe sp.) Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Partial shade
. Classic duo. Bordered by a neat boxwood hedge, luxurious pink Endless Summer bigleaf hydrangea and amethyst ‘Visions’ astilbe form a stunning vignette. As bigleaf hydrangeas go, the Endless Summer varieties stand out for their ability to flower on both new and old growth stems, resulting in flowers from spring until fall, and good winter hardiness. Astilbe bloom reliably throughout spring and summer. Plant combination: Endless Summer bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmer’, zones 5 to 9) ‘Visions’ astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions’, zones 4 to 9) ‘Glencoe’ boxwood (Buxus ‘Glencoe’, zones 4 to 9) Water requirement: Moderate to regular; keep soil moist. Light requirement: Partial shade
4. Ruby reds. Studding the planting bed like jewels in a sea of green, ruby-colored flowering maple blossoms and wine-red Herbst’s bloodleaf add rich color to this shady border. The flowering maple blooms year-round, attracting hummingbirds with its hanging bell-shaped blooms. Native to Brazil, Herbst’s bloodleaf thrives in warm climates, planted in moist, well-drained soil. In colder regions, grow as an annual or as a houseplant. Plant combination: Red flowering maple (Abutilon x hybridum ‘Nabob’, zones 9 to 11) Herbst’s bloodleaf (Iresine herbstii, zones 10 to 12) Coral bells (Heuchera sp., zones 4 to 8) Water requirement: Moderate; Herbst’s bloodl
River of forget-me-nots. Turn a partially shaded side yard into a spring fairyland with drifts of sky-blue woodland forget-me-nots and floaty white blossoms of dwarf fothergilla. Forget-me-nots naturalize freely by self-seeding and will quickly fill areas with part shade to full sun where soil is rich and moist. In more formal gardens where self-seeding is not desired, treat forget-me-nots as annuals — pull them after the spring bloom, before seed heads form. Plant combination: Woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica, zones 3 to 8) Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii, zones 5 to 8) Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade Caution: Woodland forget-me-not is considered invasive in some regions; please check where you live before planting.
Azalea walk. Bordering a flagstone path curving beneath mature trees in Great Falls, Virginia, a combination of shade-loving hostas, delicate hellebores and frothy pink ‘Aphrodite’ azaleas turns the shaded area into an inviting woodland destination. A classic choice for bringing color to shade gardens, azaleas and other members of the Rhododendron genus thrive in dappled light and bloom from early March to May, depending on cultivar, with some late-season varieties blooming into fall. Plant combination: ‘Aphrodite’ azalea (Rhododendron ‘Aphrodite’, USDA zones 6 to 10; find your zone) Hellebore (Hellebore sp., zones 4 to 9) Hosta (Hosta sp., zones 3 to 9) Water requirement: Regular; keep soil moist for hostas and azaleas. Light requirement: Partial shade; dappled light is optimal.
Accent container. Quickly add color to a shaded area by setting a bright container into an all-green planting bed. For this container garden in Chicago, the designer used white-flowering peace lily, pink impatiens and begonias and feathery Sprenger’s asparagus fern to form a shimmering display. Plant combination: Peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) Impatiens (Impatiens sp.) Begonia (Begonia sp.) Sprenger’s asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’, zones 9 to 11) Water requirement: Moderate to regular; keep soil moist for impatiens and begonias. Light requirement: Partial shade to full shade
8. Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) Confederate jasmine is a commonly grown vine that is especially fragrant, producing a profusion of tiny star-like white flowers that have a strong, heady fragrance. Blooms begin in spring, lasting through summer and intermittently into fall. Plant vines over an arbor, or train on a wall trellis to add sweet perfume to a garden room. Evergreen in mild climates, the vine, with its glossy leaves, forms an attractive green backdrop throughout the year. Caution: Confederate jasmine can be considered invasive in warm, humid climates and is best used in arid gardens. Origin: Native to eastern Asia, including Japan, Korea, southern China and Vietnam Where it will grow: Hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 12.2 degrees Celsius (zones 8 to 11) Water requirement: Moderate; regular in hot climates Light requirement: Full sun to light shade Mature size: 1 foot to 2 feet tall and 6 feet wide when grown as a ground cover; 15 to 20 feet tall when grown as a vine When to plant: Spring or fall
7. Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) Crossvine, with its brilliant red-orange flowers, is a hummingbird magnet in the garden. The clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers open in mid-spring and continue to bloom throughout the season, flowering intermittently through summer. The vine is deciduous in cold-winter climates but will hold onto its leaves throughout the year in mild areas. Without pruning, the vines can quickly outgrow most gardens, reaching up to 50 feet long. Prune just after spring flowering to keep crossvine’s size in check. Origin: Native to eastern U.S. and parts of Canada Where it will grow: Hardy to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 20.1 degrees Celsius (zones 6 to 9) Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Full sun to light shade Mature size: 6 to 9 feet wide and 30 to 50 feet tall When to plant: Spring or fall
6. Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) Carolina jessamine is a woody perennial vine that forms a cascade of dark green leaves and, in spring, bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers with a sweet fragrance. The substantial vines can grow up to 20 feet long and require sturdy support. Try training them over a pergola or up over the roof of a garden shed. For maximum flowers, plant in full sun. Plants can tolerate partial shade but bloom less and have a leggier growth habit. Caution: All parts of vine are poisonous if ingested. Origin: Native to the southeastern U.S. Where it will grow: Hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 17.8 degrees Celsius (zones 7 to 10) Water requirement: Moderate; drought-tolerant once established Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade Mature size: About 20 feet tall When to plant: Fall
5. Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus) Beloved for their pretty flowers and often nostalgic fragrance, sweet peas are a perfect addition to any spring garden. They’re grown as an annual and easy to start from seed. In mild climates, plant sweet peas in the fall so they can slowly grow over a cool winter and begin blooming in early spring. In colder climates, start seeds in a greenhouse in early spring or sow outdoors in spring when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or 12.8 degrees Celsius. Sweet peas grow best when their tops are in the sun and their roots are in cool, damp soil. Choose a spot that receives full sun, but keep soil moist. Sweet peas attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Origin: Native to the Mediterranean Where it will grow: Often grown as an annual; hardy to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 20.1 degrees Celsius (zones 6 to 11) Water requirement: Moderate to regular; keep soil moist Light requirement: Full sun to partial sun in hot inland regions Mature size: 6 feet long and up When to plant: Spring or fall
4. Pink Trumpet Vine (Podranea ricasoliana) Pink trumpet vine — also called Port St. John’s creeper, Queen of Sheba or Zimbabwe creeper — is well-adapted to dry summer climates. Large bunches of fragrant pinkish-purple foxglove-like flowers start blooming in spring and continue throughout the summer. Plant pink trumpet vine in a spot where it will receive full sun and have its roots in quick-draining soil. Despite the delicate appearance of its flowers, the vines can tolerate baking heat exposures. Pink trumpet vines add softness and romance to areas like a hot, south-facing wall or porch. Its flowers attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. Origin: Native to South Africa Where it will grow: Hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 12.2 degrees Celsius (zones 8 to 12) Water requirement: Moderate; low once established Light requirement: Full sun Mature size: Up to 20 feet tall When to plant: Spring or fall
For a classic spring pairing, try planting clematis alongside climbing roses to cover a trellis. Choose varieties of clematis and roses that will bloom at the same time or sequentially. Clematis in the Montana group are good bets for consistent mid- to late-spring flowering and work well with ‘New Dawn’ roses for coordinated bloom time. Caution: All parts of the vine are poisonous if ingested. Where it will grow: Hardiness varies by species; many fall into zones 5 to 9; some varieties are cold-hardy down to zone 3 Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Full sun to partial sun Mature size: Size varies by species; many can reach 20 to 25 feet tall When to plant: Spring or fall
3. Clematis (Clematis spp.) Spring-flowering clematis is a favorite vine for twining up over a pergola or porch, or training along a fence. Smaller hybrids can be used to add height to containers. Large-flowered clematis have the showiest blooms and generally flower in two waves: the largest one in spring on the old growth and again in late summer or fall on new wood.
Top choices for climbing roses include: Pale pink ‘New Dawn’ (pictured), ‘Climbing Cécile Brünner’, ‘Eden’ and ‘Sally Holmes’; white-flowering ‘Climbing Iceberg’ and ‘Claire Austin’; apricot-colored ‘Bathsheba’; yellow-flowering Lady Banks’, ‘Autumn Sunset’ and ‘Golden Showers’; and red-flowering ‘Crimson Sky’, ‘Blaze Improved’ and ‘Lady in Red’. Where it will grow: Hardiness varies by species, but most species fall into the range of zones 4 to 10 Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Full sun to light shade, depending on variety Mature size: Varies by variety; many reach up to 10 feet tall When to plant: Plant bare-root roses in late winter or early spring
2. Climbing Roses (Rosa spp.) Climbing roses are really more sprawling shrubs than vines, but they can be used in the same way to cover an arbor or train up around a window. With a rainbow of colors and blossom forms to choose from, climbing roses can complement your home and other colors in the garden.
As a deciduous vine, wisteria loses its leaves in winter and is reduced to woody trunks. Use this to your advantage by planting wisteria over a trellis where you can appreciate blooms in spring, leafy shade in summer and exposed sunshine on a seating area in winter. Caution: All parts of the vine are poisonous if ingested. Origin: Varies by species Where it will grow: Varies by species Water requirement: Moderate Light requirement: Full sun Mature size: 4 to 8 feet wide and 10 to 25 feet tall When to plant: Spring or fall
Whether planted to drape over an arbor, climb a trellis or frame a doorway, flowering vines increase the charm and romance factor of a garden. If spring is just beginning in your region, now’s a perfect time to plant. If you live in a warmer climate, enjoy the peak of spring blooms now and make note of any flowering vines you’d like to add to your garden, waiting to plant either this fall or early next spring. Among the many spring-lowering vines to choose from, here are eight top performers for beautiful blooms, intoxicating fragrance, benefits for pollinators and overall ability to add romance to a garden. What to do in your garden this month AHBL 1. Wisteria (Wisteria spp.) With a spectacular display of pea-like blossoms in pendulous clusters of white, purple, violet or pinkish blooms in spring, wisteria is a top choice for adding romance to a spring garden. Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) is more commonly grown in gardens than Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda), and it produces a more dramatic show of blooms, as flowers open almost all at once. The flowers of Japanese wisteria open more gradually from the base to the tip of its 1½-foot-long clusters and, hence, have a lo...
When to do this project. A freestanding arbor that doesn’t require any support, such as those you can buy already assembled, can be added any time of year as long as you can set it into or on the ground. If your project is more complex or if you’ll need to add footings to support the structure, you’ll need to choose a time when the ground can be worked.
Project duration. Most arbors should take only a few days to build and install. This generally includes the time required for any concrete to set. A more complex design will take longer, as will an installation that involves concrete or masonry posts. If you want a custom-order metal design, you’ll need to check on the fabrication time.
Other Considerations for Adding an Arbor Permitting and codes. While most arbors, especially those that you purchase directly, probably won’t require a permit, it’s always wise to check first. Building codes can vary widely, even in neighboring towns. Your arbor should be covered under the required permits if it’s part of a larger project. You should also check with any homeowner association regulations regarding heights, setbacks and locations.
Vinyl. Vinyl gets great marks for its durability in the garden. It won’t rot or shrink, can handle diverse weather, including areas that are warm and damp, and will last 30 years or more. It cleans up with periodic hosing and tackling of stubborn grime with a diluted dish soap mixture. A drawback for many has been a limited color choice, but that is also improving. Vinyl is more expensive than wood, although its life span can offset that. It’s difficult to damage, but repairs can be tricky.
For a more casual look, pipes and rebar are inexpensive choices that add an industrial touch. On the other end of the scale, weathering steel, while one of the most expensive options, will give you a rustic-contemporary look.
Aluminum and stainless steel are popular midpriced options.They’re also easy to care for, generally requiring only a rinse with a hose and perhaps scrubbing with a diluted dish soap solution for stubborn spots. Aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant and is good for damp climates. You can also find powder-coated aluminum, which will allow you to choose a color you love. Its light weight does mean it won’t be as sturdy as other options. Stainless steel is heavier and stronger than aluminum but with the same rust resistance. Stainless steel can chip, making it vulnerable to rust, so repair any damage as soon as you can. Wrought-iron arbors are more expensive than aluminum and steel, but they add a sense of permanence and tradition to the garden. Wrought iron is highly durable, but chips will need to be sanded and refinished to prevent rust. Expect wrought iron to last for decades.
Metal. Metal arbors can be deceptively fragile-looking but in reality they’re very tough. You can use almost any metal to form an arbor: aluminum, stainless steel, wrought iron, weathering steel, even pipes or rebar. Metal, except for the last two options, is usually more expensive than wood, but it’s extremely durable — a quality metal arbor lasts 20 years or more. Metal is good for harsh climates and is easy to care for. Metal arbors can be fabricated to almost any size and shape. The metal won’t fade and generally can be cleaned periodically with water to preserve its looks.
Wood composite. This option, which is a blend of different materials, including recycled plastic, has come a long way in both looks and color choices. Wood composite is more expensive than wood, but it’s more durable, can handle harsher weather, is easier to care for and will last longer, usually around 25 years or more. Maintenance usually consists of rinsing the composite with water and scrubbing any stubborn grime with a diluted dish soap solution. You should also check periodically for any damage and make repairs
Wood requires more maintenance than most other outdoor materials. Sealing natural wood will protect it from turning gray. For more protection, stain or paint it. All of these treatments will need to be redone every year or so. You’ll also want to check annually for any damage, such as broken boards or chips, and for rot. Wood can also be damaged by the humidity and moisture of plants growing on it or even by the vines themselves. Choosing a twining vine rather than one that clings or wraps around the wood can lessen the damage.
Wood. A classic wood arbor is a landscape staple. Wood is a top choice for outdoor projects and is often the least expensive option. Wood generally lasts at least 10 years, and even 20 or more if you maintain it. When possible, choose locally grown and naturally rot-resistant woods, such as cedar or redwood. Other options include Southern pine, spruce and fir, although these may need to be treated to use for outdoor structures, and treated wood is not available in some areas. Teak, mahogany and ipe are tropical hardwoods that are known for their resistance to rot and weather, especially in coastal climates. They are usually more expensive than locally grown wood. Whatever your wood choice, look for sustainably harvested lumber. Boards and posts are usually the first choices for arbors, but you can add a more informal or natural feel by using unfinished branches or tree limbs.
Material Options for an Arbor Wood has long been the typical material for arbors, with metal a close second. New options include wood composites and vinyl. You can also mix different materials for a custom look.
Size. The size of your arbor depends on how you plan to use it. Height: Most arbors are 7 to 8 feet tall. Width: The width can vary, from 3 to 4 feet for over a gate, a bit less to show off a garden fountain, and up to 10 feet or more to stretch along a wall or create a focal point in a space. If you’re opting for a longer arbor, consider a row of connected arbors to keep the structure stable, or add supports every few feet. Depth: Most arbors are fairly shallow, perhaps the depth of a lattice panel, but you can adapt to fit your needs. A deeper arbor will allow you to add a seat or seats, provide the feel of a true passageway or cover a garden path or specimen plant.
There’s no rule that your arbor needs to be anchored directly to the ground. Create a more stately look, especially at an entrance, by installing stone, concrete or masonry pillars as the base
A semicircular or full-circle metal arch is a contemporary take on a metal arbor (or version of a moon gate). Either a single- or double-arch design will create a garden focal point. A double arch has the added advantage of providing support for any number of plants.
Many metal arbors are topped with a gentle, continuous arch, which works well for almost any landscape design. Squaring off the top is another popular option. If you’re looking for a more elegant style, a gothic-inspired arch at the top might be for you. To add more interest, look for double arches that incorporate a design between the two edges.
If you want to take your arbor design to the next level, turn the flat roof into a peak or an arch. Extending the arbor on either side or making it deeper will give it more presence in your yard.
Shape. Wood and wood-look arbors can vary from a simple structure of two posts with lattice between them and on top to elaborate structures with individualized design elements. Using beams and rafters overhead is an easy way to add interest to a basic arbor design. Finishing the corners with decorative bracing or changing the supports to rounded pillars are other ways to customize your arbor design.
Hiring a Pro A licensed landscape contractor can usually handle most arbor projects, including the footings or anchors. If you’re looking for a more complex design or are including the arbor as part of a larger project, turn to a landscape designer or landscape architect. Many arbors, especially those purchased from a nursery or the outdoor section of a large retailer, can be assembled and set in place by a homeowner. You can set the arbor on a solid surface or place it on or slightly in the ground. For more stability, though, you’ll need to add footings or anchors to keep it in place.
Support for plants. No matter what other purpose your arbor serves, adapt the time-honored tradition of using it as a way to highlight your prized plants. Vines, roses and climbing perennials and shrubs all appreciate the chance to stretch out toward the sun. Grapes have long been used as a topper on arbors, but consider branching out with other fruits, such as kiwis (as long as your arbor is sturdy). You can also use an arbor as a support for vegetables, such as tomatoes or pole beans. Think about being able to pluck a ripe tomato every time you enter your garden! 8 Romantic Spring-Flowering Vines to Cover a Trellis
Seating area. Rather than adding plants or a garden focal point beneath an arbor, create a seating area. A simple bench or a swing can fill the space. Another option is to make the arbor deep enough to have benches facing each other on both sides, with access through the middle.
Another option is to use an arbor to frame a part of your home. A full or partial arbor over a garage door or along a wall helps soften the look and adds a three-dimensional element.
Frame. Place an arbor around a garden fountain or other landscape feature to show it off. The arbor will immediately draw the eye and give the feature even more prominence in your space.
Shade structure. Arbors also can give you a shady spot to grow plants that prefer a little less sun. Set one against a fence or wall to provide filtered light and some protection for plants such as ferns, hostas and hydrangeas.
Passageway. Expand the depth of an arbor or combine several smaller arbor structures in a row to define a path or walkway. Installing a series of arbors allows you to stretch the look for some distance.
Stand-in for a door. Equally effective is the use of an arbor to indicate transitions between different areas of your landscape, such as to separate a vegetable garden, a children’s play area of your own secret garden.
Entry. Use an arbor to highlight entry points to your yard. Combining an entry gate and an arbor at the front of your home or as the entry point to your backyard is a classic look that works with any style or material.
When you think of an arbor, the first image that comes to mind might be that of a garden entry arch covered in blooms. It’s a classic look, and one that fits the simplest definition of an arbor: two side panels with a connecting top piece that adds a vertical element to the garden. But arbors can be far more than just this traditional look. They can range in size, design and materials to make a distinctive statement in any style and in any part of your landscape. Read on to learn more about the design basics of an arbor, as well as the best materials to use and the ins and outs of adding one to your landscape. Outdoor Lifestyles How to Use an Arbor An arbor can take on many roles in a landscape, such as defining an entry or passageway, adding support for climbing plants, framing a garden feature and creating a shady spot to relax. Arbors often play several of these roles at once.
Garden Residence Farmhouse Landscape, Burlington For this garden residence in Stowe, Ambler Design, helped to conceive the home owner's every desire in the quest for the perfect garden. Once an underused sloped area of the front lawn, step stone pathways now connect the existing entry terraces to the yard and garden. A small terrace with garden gate provides a seating area to rest beneath the timber trellis.
Sitting by Fire Pit in the Evening- Back Yard Contemporary Landscape, Los Angeles Fire pit with seating area in front of retaining wall. ©Daniel Bosler Photography Photo of a small contemporary drought-tolerant backyard concrete paver landscaping in Los Angeles with a fire pit. - Houzz
Aloes, Agaves and Grevillea- Back Yard Contemporary Landscape, Los Angeles Rear deck planting area with Agaves. ©Daniel Bosler Photography This is an example of a small contemporary drought-tolerant backyard concrete paver retaining wall landscape in Los Angeles. - Houzz