No-Grass Front Yards: Hurray!


Bright blue is rare in the flower world, so a broad sweep of it is head-turning.

This postage stamp garden stopped me in my tracks when I went by: a stunning swath of blue grape hyacinths. (Muscari) They  are growing in a bed of mixed foliage, including, shudder, goutweed.*

This front-yard planting showcases a key design principle: use masses of one type of plant to make a strong impact. It always works, whether the garden is huge or microscopic. Another practical design tip for very small spaces is to pick one season when your garden will knock its socks off, rather than a bit of this and a bit of that throughout the season. This garden is doing a stellar job of forceful sock removal.

To get an effect like this, plant grape hyacinths in the fall, or buy pots in bloom and plant now. A bonus with grape hyacinths: squirrels don’t find them as tasty as tulips and crocuses, and they do multiply.

Planting the front yard is a growing alternative to conventional lawns, in fact Lawn Reform is an organized group. How many people are ousting grass in your neighbourhood in favour of using their front yards as mixed gardens, possibly even including edibles?

* In a garden like this, flanked by concrete, the goutweed is probably contained fairly well. That said, it still wouldn’t be first choice as a ground cover because of its super invasiveness.

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