Magnificient Mass PlantingsThe easiest type of garden to design is that which has just one variety of plant. Here, it’s petunia Supertunia Vista Bubblegum—one of the best-performing petunias for home landscapes.
With a spread of more than 3 feet across, this Supertunia Vista Bubblegum is a quick and easy way to add a lot of color to your yard. It’s a cinch to care for, too: No pruning or deadheading is necessary and it even holds up pretty well to dry conditions (though you’ll get more flowers if the soil stays consistently moist).
Learn more about growing petunias.
Team Up TexturesThe first thing we usually look at when mixing and matching plants for gardens is color. And while making sure your colors look good together, you take your garden to the next level by putting together different textures and creating contrasts.
Here, we did that with 'Buddy Pink' globe amaranth and 'Arrow Pink' snapdragon. The former is a mounding plant that shows off perfectly round flowers (that are excellent in bouquets, both fresh and dried). The snapdragon, however, offers tall spires that offer a striking contrast to its floral companion. Both plants have relatively small leaves, so to introduce another bold texture, we added a Big Bronze Leaf Rose begonia. The result is fun, interesting, and unexpected—especially because the begonia offers rich purple-bronze shades that play off the soft pink blooms found on both the snapdragon and the globe amaranth.
Topping off the ensemble is a collection of ground-hugging Dream Kisses Magnolia calibrachoa. It further helps add textural contrast against the tall, upright snapdragon, but also creates a carpet of color that helps suppress weeds. The soft, silvery-purple blooms are a perfect complement to the color of the globe amaranth.
Learn more about growing begonia.
Learn more about growing calibrachoa.
Add Drama Through ContrastHot and cold. Black and white. While opposite, these high-contrast combos naturally make a big impact.
In fact, creating contrasts—playing off differences—is one of the most powerful tools you have when designing a garden.
Here, we’ve done that a couple of ways. The most obvious is color: Purple fountain grass starkly stands out from the soft pink Kaleidoscope Appleblossom pentas. It also offers a wonderful contrast in textures—the grass plays beautifully off the coarser leaves of pentas foliage.
Purple fountain grass: Learn more!
Pentas: Learn more!
Embrace Big and BoldPurple fountain grass (Pennisetum 'Vertigo') is one of the most striking plants around. An annual in the North and perennial in the Deep South, it provides rich, purple-black leaves all season long. This rich color makes the perfect background for pinks of any shade.
We chose to pair it with pansies (Viola 'Delta Pink Shades') for the spring. The pansies have a soft graceful look that helps highlight the bold look of the grass. Once pansies give into the heat, you can replace them with plants that prefer summer weather, such as angelonia, pentas, or lantana.
Purple fountain grass: Learn more.
Pansy: Learn more.
Plant for HummingbirdsAdd depth and dimension to your garden by including plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Here, we did that with three easy-to-care-for varieties: Salvia 'Summer Jewel Pink', Verbena Wicked Hot Pink, and Petchoa Supercal Neon Rose.
The salvia offers height with its spires of soft coral-pink-and-white blooms. This heat- and drought-tolerant variety is irresistible to hummingbirds! And it makes a perfect partner to the two-toned verbena, which shows off hot pink flowers that fade to softer pink as they mature. For a little extra color, we added the petchoa (a hybrid between petunia and calibrachoa); its neon-pink blooms add an attention-grabbing jolt to the garden.
Verbena: Learn more!
Make It EasyWe love easy-growing flowers so we have plenty of time to enjoy them! This little garden includes some of the most heat- and drought-tolerant varieties around: Verbena 'Rococo Pink', Ptilotus 'Joey', and Portulaca Cupcake Grape Jelly.
The verbena offers soft pink flowers that have a surprise: Look closely and there's an extra frilly ring of petals, making them look like mini miniature roses. The low, spreading habit makes a carpet of color throughout the summer. It's a fun companion to the portulaca, which offers magenta-pink flowers that are so bright, they practically glow when the sun hits them. An ultra-tough plant, portulaca thrives in containers and hanging baskets, too -- even if they dry out from time to time. And the third plant in the mix, ptilotus, is an Australian native that offers unique, feather-like blooms that practically beg to be touched. It gives this planting a sense of height and drama, too.
Verbena: Learn more!
Portulaca: Learn more!
Plant in LayersWhen designing your garden -- or containers, for that matter, plant varieties of different heights to keep it interesting. Here, we did that with low-growing sweet potato vine (Ipomoea Floramia Nero), swan river daisy (Brachyscome Surdaisy Pink), and Angelonia Archangel Raspberry.
Each of the three is a fun upgrade over older varieties. The sweet potato vine was bred to have a compact, mounding habit so it won't take over the planting like old-fashioned varieties did. And its bred to bloom, too -- so you can enjoy its show of soft-pink trumpets. The swan river daisy offers rich purple-flushed foliage and a plethora of single daisy-shaped flowers that dance in the breeze over the leaves. And the angelonia has a compact habit and large, raspberry-pink flowers that butterflies just love.
Angelonia: Learn more!
Keep It SimpleLots of folks think that, to be interesting, a garden needs lots of different flowers. But that isn't necessarily the case. Here, we created a bold, eye-catching look with just two varieties: Petunia Supertunia Sangria Charm and Impatiens Bounce Violet.
The petunia is one of the most vigorous around; it can easily spread 2 or 3 feet wide in a season, making it a perfect little annual groundcover. The impatiens is a newer type bred to resist the sun (as long as it gets enough moisture) and disease, so you can enjoy its display of magenta-violet flowers all summer long.
Petunias: Learn more!