25 Ways To Refresh Your Garden This Summer
As planting season gears up, we love to dream about giving our gardens and patios a fresh reboot for the season. Whatever the size of your outdoor space, these lush gardens provide just the inspiration required to turn fantasy into reality, and spark you to get your hands dirty in the garden this weekend.
In film and TV executive Jennifer Stewart’s mid-town Toronto home, a pleached row of trees are trained to grow sideways to create a natural green screen above the fence. Using the same paint color for both the home’s exterior and fencing creates a cocooning effect that visually turns down the thermostat.
Many city gardens don’t have space for large beds. Pump up the plantings by placing containers around a small yard, and bring them inside for a touch of greenery in winter.
This Toronto garden is close to a major thoroughfare in the city, but you would never know it. A burbling fountain muffles street sounds — like blaring horns and thrumming buses — and instantly injects a zen-like calmness.
This lush West Vancouver garden, by landscape architects Considered Design, skips the bright colors and sharply segregated beds in favor of a monochromatic green carpet rippling with Japanese spurge, mondo grass and Western sword ferns. The end result is calming, yet lively.
A firebowl gives this garden a place to gather, especially when it’s rimmed by playful seating. These aren’t your garden variety gnomes: the functional stools come from stellar designer Philippe Starck.
Consider the role of underplanting when it comes to making things pop. Black mondo grass accents the crimson leaves of this ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maple.
Shine a spotlight on the beauty and grandeur of an old tree. Here, a majestic Douglas fir is uplit, so the texture of the bark seems almost sculptural.
Next time you’re at the nursery, think outside the box and explore different colors. Garden guru Thomas Hobbs of Southlands Nursery has a fondness for Floribunda rose ‘Koko Loko,’ a milky chocolate bud which matures to a soft lavender blossom. “It’s an amazing smoky brown/mauve that blooms constantly,” he notes.
If your yard is shrouded in shade, play up the moody romance with cascading tendrils of ivy. These fast-growing plants soften the look of containers and planters, adding instant romance and history.
Brushing by a rose bush or stepping on a fragrant carpet of foliage makes spending time in the garden a sensory experience. Luscious apricot David Austin ‘Carding Mill’ roses bloom all summer and give off a rich myrrh scent.
A potted standard plant adds height to the garden, especially on city patios where there might not be room for trees. Here a ‘Pink Diamond’ hydrangea tree is underplanted with a cloud of cascading Bacopa, which blossom even when the standard doesn’t.
Whether you’re looking for privacy or to camouflage a less-than-lovely fence, a wall of ivy foliage is a beautiful disguise that makes outdoor spaces feel like storybook secret gardens.
A touch of silver in the garden is a tip gardeners employ to make colorful petals pop in comparison. Hardy Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’ blooms are ideal for contrasting bright flowers. The feathery fronds resist fading and keep their distinctive hue, even in the hottest months.
This Palm Beach home — belonging to champion rider Eric Lamaze — is blessed with tropical weather. Those in colder climates can create a similarly Bali-esque effect with palms that are readily available in garden centres and can be overwintered indoors.
Shrubs like ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangea trees reinforce a formal look in a garden, but don’t require a lot of pampering and produce large flowers continuously through the summer.
Introduce aquatic plants to add an extra element of charm to a water feature. These tropical water hyacinths are replaced annually, but hardy submerged plants — like anacharis and sweetflag — can survive winter, as long as they are moved to where the water won’t freeze.
A cluster of plants create major impact. This drift of lavender is a perfect example: it’s accented by purple-flowered Nepeta and catmint to create a pretty color-blocked oasis.
Planting a pathway with fragrant thyme releases the herb’s aroma every time guests wander by.
This pop of purple is courtesy of Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ an easy-to-grow perennial available across Canada. The cup-shaped flowers can bloom for week or months at a time, especially in regions with cool summers, notes garden expert Thomas Hobbs.
No need to drag out a garden trug for herbs to muddle in that mojito. In landscape architect Inese Bite’s country home, mint varieties like chocolate and pineapple are conveniently planted near the door.
A moonlight garden features a selection of white flowering plants such as Abbotswood cinquefoil, white sage and Russian tarragon, which seem to glow at night.
A container of succulents is pretty on a tabletop, but you don’t have to sacrifice surface space. A mod hanging garden takes sculptural succulents to eye-catching new heights.
Instead of mixing different shades, pluck from the same section of the color wheel. Bushes of ‘G. Red’ rugosa roses do a slow fade into neighboring ‘Grootendorst Pink’ rosebushes for a subtle play of hues that works equally as well in the garden as they do in a overflowing bouquet.
Wooden obelisks add height to a country vegetable garden and give climbing plants a place to grow.
Bright red and yellow nasturtium flowers are edible and are a pretty way to perk up salads as well as flower beds.