If you can’t get enough of beautiful terraces then here are some more small urban garden design ideas for you. I’ve gathered as much good pictures as I could find and hope to hear your thoughts about them. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Do you wish your garden looked like one of these gardens?
Even the simplest landscape and gardening projects can quickly become overwhelming. To make it easier, I have created this How-To on getting started with your own landscape plan which includes everything you need with landscape tips and ideas to information on helping you with long term maintenance for your home and landscape.
There is, also, a detailed questionnaire to assist you in working out your needs and wants in your plan. Whether your home is new construction, new to you, or you’re just renewing your landscape, this will ease the frustration of getting started. C
Selecting plants for bordering or edging a garden or path can be just as frustrating as accessorizing a room or an outfit. You want the overall picture to look pulled together with your choices. I like to divide plants for this purpose into two divisions: compact and spreaders. These plants grow in the 3 foot and under height range. Compact plants are just that. They will grow within a defined space only getting slightly larger over the following years. If the area needs a strong barrier, consider a low growing shrub or grass such as Hameln Grass, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Hypericum Blue Velvet or the dwarf Nandina Firepower as they will work hard year round to keep the garden defined.
Spreaders and drapers will creep into the garden mixing with the other plants or spill over the edge of the garden bed. They will work well in any garden, but can really show their talents when planted along the edge of a multi level garden. Along the edge or border of a garden is a key spot to introduce additional colors and textures. If the primary color of the garden or landscape is green, for example, edge the bed with contrasting color plants such as Heuchera Plum Pudding or Black Mondo Grass. If the garden is alive with lots of color, then going low key would be more effective with something like an ornamental grass, liriope, thyme, lavender plants or dwarf boxwoods.
Here’s a listing of plants that I have complied for these 2 divisions:
Grass Hameln, Chives, Heucheras, Aster, Hostas, Ferns-such as Autumn Brilliance, Spiraea Magic Carpet, Lavenders, City Line Hydrangeas, Liriope, Armeria Dusseldorf Pride, Veronica Royal Candles, Cotoneaster Coral Beauty, Barberry Crimson Pygmy, Hypericum Blue Velvet, Nandina Dwarf Firepower, Daylilies, Sedums, Grass Black Mondo, Grass Acorus Minimus, Grass Acorus Gramineus Ogon, Potentilla Gold Drop,
Wooly Thyme, Red Creeping Thyme, Creeping Phlox, Creeping Rosemary, Elfin Thyme, Hypericum Calycinum, Drift Roses
This listing of plants should give you many ideas of what size, colors, and type of plants you can use for edging your garden or bordering your landscape. Don’t feel limited to these varieties.
Be creative with plants. They offer so much color and texture. That’s part of the fun and the learning experience of gardening.
When designing a new landscape or re-evaluating an older landscape, don’t forget to work in spaces especially for children such as: a sandbox, jungle gym, and/or open grassy areas for football or net games like volleyball and badminton (not just for children). A sandbox or jungle gym can be tucked into a corner or other small area. For jungle gym or other physical activities a thick layer of shredded bark mulch on the ground will help to reduce the impact of falls.
Introduce children to gardening and yard maintenance early on so that as they develop, they gain an appreciation and respect for plants and the landscape. These learning sessions are the perfect opportunity for teaching them about plants and how they grow. This reduces the chances of children ingesting any poisonous parts of plants.
For those with pets, work into your garden or landscape an area for them to run and play. Gravel can be irritating to their paws and hot in summer, so use shredded bark mulch for this area which also works great for their potty areas as well. Place dog houses in protected areas such as nearer the house/garage or tucked into corners (great where there is a fence for additional protection). Sun and wind protection are other points to keep in mind.
Be flexible. Some dogs just like to dig and no matter what, you can’t keep some plants. I’ve experienced this with my dogs. I replaced a couple of small trees damaged by a freeze a few years ago with dynamite crape myrtles. The next day, I came home to the plants dug up and dried out. I had to replace with 2 more new plants. The following day, I came home to them dug up and dried out, again. The dogs were scolded, of course, but we didn’t want to waste, yet, 2 more plants. So, I planted the newest crape myrtles in large containers with a few annuals. It isn’t what I really wanted for the landscape, but, this is a spot on the outside of my garden gate, so the container thing works fine. Planting in containers and raised beds can be a good solution for keeping plants off the ground so that they aren’t dug up, time and time again.
Both young and small plants are at risk of having dogs urinate on them, which if allowed to continue, will eventually kill the plants. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the area and around the base of the plants.
Neighborhood cats can be a big problem. Two successful ways of keeping them out of landscapes and gardens is to lay pine cones around the area or lay sections of chicken wire, secure to ground and cover ever so lightly with mulch. The pine cones, chicken wire or anything prickly will help to keep them at bay.
Here is a short listing of plants that are generally safe to use around pets and children:
- Ornamental grasses
- Crape Myrtles
- Cat Mint
- Herbs (many other varieties including annual varieties)
- Tulip poplar
This is just a short list of plants that can be planted safely in the garden. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a great site with information on a listing of the 17 top toxic plants to pets, great articles on pet care (dogs, cats and horses), and animal poison control hotlines.
Pawprints and Purrs, Inc is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating pet owners, preventing animal cruelty and pet abuse. Check out their website and you will find articles on everything from pet ownership to traveling with your pet to alternative medicines for pets.
If you have a question about whether or not a specific plant is toxic or safe, always ask your pet’s veterinarian.
The following link is to a short article on backyard safety for kids. It offers some good advice to keeping children safe and happy at play.
Bringing the four elements to the garden can open up many avenues into
oneself. Just as Feng shui corrects the positive and negative influences of
interior placement, incorporating the elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth
can bring balance and peace to the garden.
The first element of Fire, representing the South, opens the flow of chi to
the head, neck, shoulder and arms. Its color is commonly red and can be
found in the fire from a fire pit or candles, Knockout Double Red Roses,
Japanese Red Maple, Weigela Wine and Roses, Echinacea Tomato Soup,
Gaillardia Burgundy, Monarda Fire Ball, Pineapple Sage, Arctic Fire Dogwood,
Nishiki Willow and the Cotoneaster Coral Beauty. Presence of Fire in the
garden can increase Productivity.
The second element of Water, representing the West, opens the flow of chi to
the abdomen and human emotion. Its color is commonly blue which can be
applied to a water fountain, bird bath, blue reflection ball, Russian Sage,
Nikko Blue Hydrangea, English Country Aster, Veronica Royal Candles,
Hibiscus Blue Satin and Hibiscus Blue Chiffon. The presence of Water brings
The third element of Air, representing the East, opens the flow of chi to
the chest and lungs. Although yellow is the color commonly used, air can
also be found through the use of whirligigs, wind chimes, windsocks and
fragrant plants such as Lavender, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary Arp, and Mock
Orange. Yellow can be found in the plants Lilium Painted Pixie, Yarrow
Moonshine, Forsythia, Sungold Cypress, Knockout Sunny Roses, Angelina Sedum,
Echinacea Mac-n-Cheese, and Black-Eyed Susans. The presence of Air in the
garden brings Happiness.
The fourth element of Earth, representing the North, opens the flow of chi
to the feet, legs and lower abdomen. Earth is green; the color of nature,
but can also be found in objects taken from Earth such as rocks/stone for a
path or wood from a fallen tree might be used to build a bench. Green can be
found in plants such as Heuchera Lime Ricky, Ornamental Grasses, Hostas,
Ferns, Spartan Juniper, Emerald Green Arborvitae and Boxwood Wintergreen.
Build Confidence with Earth in the garden.
The fifth element, and most forgotten, is Akasha. This element will open the
flow of chi to the human aura and the brain. Akasha, the center of the
universe, is the only element that we can’t see, feel, smell or touch. It is
energy or inner spirit. The colors of white and/or purple are the associated
colors for Akasha. Center your garden with Mock Orange, Hibiscus Violet
Satin, Hydrangea Incrediball, Anemone, Shasta Daisy, Echinacea White Swan,
Black Knight Buddleia, Old Fashion Lilac, Persian Lilac, Hibiscus Diana,
Hibiscus Morning Star, White Profusion Buddleia, Viburnum Japanese Snowball
and Lavender. Akasha in the garden creates harmony with the mind, body and
Yes, I do have Russian sage in the Western area of my garden, Moonshine
Yarrow in the East, ornamental grasses in the North, Japanese Red Maple in
the South along with Mock Orange for Akasha and those are just the
beginning. Maybe that is why Steve and I feel so centered when we retreat to
Whether you get your compass out and place the elements to their
corresponding colors and directions or just include these colors within your
garden or landscape, you can still reap the benefits of their presence. To
keep the positive/negative balance, place at least one corresponding plant
in each of the corresponding elements direction. This will allow the
elements to work together in unity.
Other ways to make your garden magical is to bring in plants that provide
fragrance and plants whose leaves or blooms will reflect the moonlight.
Fragrant plants will include: Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Oregano,
Spice Bush, Roses, Mock Orange, Old Fashion Lilac, Persian Lilac and
Sweetbay Magnolia. Plants whose leaves or blooms will reflect moonlight will
include: Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Burgundy Lace Fern, Limelight Hydrangea,
Incrediball Hydrangea, Russian Sage, Pink Muhly Ornamental Grass, Pee Gee
Hydrangea, Heuchera Mystic Angel, Fire & Ice Hosta, Patriot Hosta, and the
Check out our full line of trees, shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs and groundcovers: Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.
Visit us on YouTube. You will learn the basics of planting
container grown plants and tips for planting lavender and other herbs.
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