Inspiring gardens with lots of color and design ideas.BaoHa

Not everyone wants to spend their every free moment weeding and watering their garden. If less labor and more enjoyment is your goal, rest assured that a low-maintenance garden with low-water-use plants can feel lush and look stunning. Thoughtful garden design can help conserve water and diminish runoff as well.

The Basile-Witt Garden is the perfect example. After years of nurturing lawns and flower gardens, they wanted a low-maintenance landscape and a mid-century-modern look. They chose drought-tolerant plants such as Cistus (Rockrose), Yucca, Sedum, and ornamental grasses, as well as dark-leaf Japanese Maple and bright Barberry to add color to the garden.

Subtle garden art adds interest while not overwhelming the landscape. The long, sinuous lines of the birds are echoed in the shape of the Miscanthus gracefully arching overhead.

A cement patio surrounded by gravel and a selection of containers makes for a relaxing spot to enjoy the garden. Choosing drought-tolerant plants and keeping containers to a minimum can help cut down on watering. In fact, the Basile-Witt Garden only needs deep watering about once a month now that the plants are well established.

At the Dawson Garden, a dry riverbed curves through the garden, facilitating drainage and creating a visual path. The riverbed is planted with Daylilies, Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass), Mukdenia, hardy Fuchsia, and a small Ginkgo (center).

No matter the size of your garden, it’s the little details that sometimes make the biggest impact: the perfect pot, a pop of color, a creative flourish… Each garden on the tour offered up delightful details that made me stop and take notice.

Decorative glass adds impact to a wooden screen in the Dawson Garden. The Dawsons added lots of fun details to the garden beds, including this vintage pole with twine for beans to climb.

At the Harter Garden, neutral cement pots were elevated to extraordinary by their unique shapes and brightly colored succulents.

The Porters found an original way to hide an unsightly meter, transforming a palette into a piece of succulent wall art.

Whimsical details abounded at the Porter and Laue Gardens, including this Caladium-filled planter nestled amongst ferns in the shade and an adorable hanging planter with mini ferns and sedum.

Mixed groundcovers transform this stairway into a focal point in the Porter Garden. Choose groundcovers that bloom at different times for extended interest or try a mix of colors or leaf shapes.

The Dawsons said they are always on the hunt for unique garden décor. Flea markets and thrift stores are excellent sources, and even items that aren’t officially for the garden can be used in new ways – let your creativity run wild.

The unique details of individual plants are always a source of joy. The striking colors of this ‘Princess Diana’ Clematis and this variegated Sweet Pea stopped me in my tracks. I’ve since planted two Princess Dianas in my own backyard!

Whether the garden was formal, eclectic, or naturalistic, I spotted a trend of using bright colors in innovative ways. Some gardens embraced a mix of colors with open arms, while others were more selective, adding just a pop of color to accentuate a focal point or bring out contrasting tones. Red was especially popular throughout the gardens.

The Laue (rhymes with Maui) Garden sits on the site of an old Edmonds farm. The Laues restored the machine shed, making it into a workshop painted a dramatic red brick that brings out the fresh, spring-green tones of ferns and a Japanese Maple. Along the front of the workshop, the bright yellow flowers of a Black-Eyed Susan Vine contrast brilliantly.

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