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For many of us, the garden is a relaxing place where we can go to get a little peace and quiet. However… there is such thing as a garden being too quiet.


The truth is that a generic garden design, while it may provide classic comforts, can also make the appeal of a yard wear off really quickly. On the other hand, a yard that excites and invites has the power to lure you outdoors to actually enjoy the space more often.


That’s why I believe that a yard is a place to play with color and design, to create a bold and irresistible space. Here are 5 easy ideas that will amp up your garden design:


High-contrast mulch


The difference between a polished landscape and a slapdash affair is often the mulch. With mulch, you can create an amazing contrasting color on the ground, which sets off your foliage to great advantage. Some of the most popular mulches are a mild brown so that they don’t change the look of the yard much. However, choosing a dark brown/black or a vivid reddish color can give your yard more sense of dimension and provide the perfect frame to offset a statement plant that you’ve thoughtfully incorporated into your yard.


As an added bonus, using mulch in your yard has numerous significant benefits, offering more nutrition and protection for delicate design


A statement wall


Statement walls are one of the most recent trends in garden design. While there are many ways to decorate your statement wall, the easiest way to make it a showpiece is to cover it with a strong, eye-catching color. After that, you can place potted plants in front of it, hang plants in sconces on it, or add some traditional decorative elements like ironwork or mirrors.


Statement walls make a great anchor for your outdoor living space. Simply putting a bench or some outdoor chairs in front of it will make it the main stage of your yard.


If an entire wall full of a bold color feels like too much for you, consider using bright colors on yard accessories instead. A bench, some pots, a fountain, or even pavers can have surprise pops of color that will draw the eye. You might even choose to use a section of your fencing as something of a “statement wall” and hang plants on it or install elements below it to make it more decorative. See this article for more design




I love so many things about arbors. For one thing, they give a really classic twist to a yard, hearkening back to days of Italian villas and the gentry taking a turn in the garden. They also offer natural shade. However, the best thing about them design-wise is that they allow you to bring color up above the ground level. Many of our flowers populate the ground, but arbors allow us to put entrancing splashes of red, purple, and yellow up to eye level. Try planting roses or wisteria at the base of your arbor and give the flowers time to climb. If you want less aggressive vines, you might also try out sweet pea or morning design


Empty space


One of the most important elements of design is white space. This means that not every corner has to be full of something. Instead, judicial use of blank spaces makes the words or pictures that you do have more impactful. The same principle can apply for your yard. Not every single space has to be occupied. However, consider the fact that your “blank space” in a yard isn’t going to be blank: it will instead have neutral elements, like mulch, grass, or paving. Use these spaces to best effect by subduing them in response to other features nearby, or including subtle elements that give more texture and contrast to the overall impression.


Unique showpiece plants


There are some plants that might be considered the divas of the plantae kingdom. They bring their own drama; all you have to do is give them a chance to shine. Here are some ideas:


  • Allium: These tall purple globe flowers look like something straight out of Dr. Seuss.
  • Sunflowers: Certain species of sunflowers grow at a ridiculous rate, and dominate a space with their generous yellow blossoms.
  • Firework pennisetum: This decorative grass looks very much like other decorative grasses… except that it’s red! It looks just like its namesake, bursting to life in otherwise dull corners of your yard.
  • Spider mums: These expansive flowers will put the average petunia to shame, bringing interesting shapes and colors to any flower bed where you decide to include them.
  • Bird of Paradise: These plants do best in warm climes, but if you can manage to grow one in your zone, you’ll soon learn where the name comes from.
  • Guest post by: Christine H.


2 comments on “Add Some Drama to Your Yard

laura on July 11, 2017 8:26 pm

Hi Nancy
Stopped by when I saw the arbor. It’s on my list of wants! laura

Nancy Wolff on July 12, 2017 12:18 pm

Thanks for stopping by Laura!

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