How an overlooked study over a century ago helped fuel the Colorado River crisis CU Boulder Today University of Colorado Boulder

Before you design your garden, it’s a good idea to take an assessment of your yard and your location to determine which plants will thrive there. Growing flowers, shrubs and trees, plus perhaps vegetables and fruit, could be almost the entire purpose of a garden or it could be just one of its uses. A guide to growing gorgeous shrubs to provide structure, winter interest, and seasonal color in your garden.

It may not seem like a big deal, but if you have to drag out the garden hose or haul watering cans to your garden during a dry spell, the joy of gardening goes right out the window. Many veggies, such as cucumbers, are thirsty and need regular watering or they’ll suffer and not produce well.

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If you’re a fan of our cottage garden ideas, then a design like this might be just the ticket. Sure, it’s a little wild but the mounds of foliage, billowing florals, and spectrum of soft pastel colors are sure to bring joy to anyone. It’s great for a more informal look, and can be planted up with lots of different alpines, succulents and other drought-resistant varieties for a naturalistic style. It’s an ideal base for a tucked-away seating spot; just add large ornamental grasses for extra shelter and privacy.

Read more about Best Outdoor Furniture here.

Include tropical planting

Just take a look at this show-stopping roof terrace for instance. The sleek wood extends to the raised planters, built-in bench, and even the fire pit for a harmonious vibe.

These can include snowbell (Styrax japonicus), fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), dogwood (Cornus) and crabapple (Malus). Intersperse plants that flower at different times to extend the bloom season. These can include perennials or annuals such as petunia, verbena, or calibrachoa. Plant a row of taller shrub roses to create privacy from the street. A row of shorter groundcover roses can be planted along a foundation, in a curbside strip, or used to define garden areas. The best way to know if your soil will benefit from lime, and how much lime to add to your garden, is to get a soil test that reports the pH level of your soil.

Best Flowering Vines to Add to Your Yard

If your surroundings are more on the urban side, then you can still create gorgeous views, even if it’s just with a few of our garden planter ideas. Then, add a few statement pieces of garden furniture, so you can relax and take in the view. The space will be adored by you – and visiting pollinators – in no time. Red clay bricks are a classic choice for garden wall ideas and work wonderfully in more traditional plots.

Feed the seedlings regularly with an organic, liquid fertilizer, mixed at the rate recommended on the package. Arricca Elin SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman’s Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.


Part of the joy of gardening is the daily discovery of what’s new, beautiful and interesting. We promise you’ll find a peace in nature that nothing else can deliver. These tests evaluate soil pH (acidity) and nutrient levels, and your local university coop extension service (find yours here) can do a soil test for you, typically for $20 or less. It’s only necessary every few years, so it’s not a huge investment. Home test kits also are available, but they’re not as accurate or thorough. Cacti are beautiful and very forgiving even to first time gardeners.

Choose a fragrant climber and train it up a wall for quintessential country garden look. Positioning is key; you want it to reflect light from the sun to brighten the space but you don’t want it shining in your face while you’re trying to enjoy an alfresco lunch. And, be wary of too much light hitting your plants, in case this damages the leaves. These recycled oil drums have been painted and turned into unique outdoor seating. We’ve got lots more tips on how to use salvage for garden upcycling ideas in our feature.

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